You, an Emotionally Intelligent Woman

The notion of emotional intelligence was made famous by psychologist and author Daniel Goleman in the 1980s, but how does this apply to women and why is it important to us?

Defined as the ‘ability to manage your emotions and the emotions of others,’ emotional intelligence is our ability to feel and deal with our emotions well and, by doing so, we can function well socially and have good relationships around us at all levels.

It isn’t stress that makes us fall–it’s how we respond to stressful events.

Wayde Goodall

Working in many different sectors and industries across nations, we see similar issues that women face in the workplace and in their relationships at home. Not using their emotions smartly is a common theme in many cases.

For example, you are in a team meeting and somebody says something that annoys or offends you.  You can either deal with it there and then, calmly; get angry and say something inappropriate or say nothing, but silently fume.

The best way to deal with it may be to ask the person to clarify their point or choose to say ‘I am unsure if that is helpful in this meeting, so let’s take it outside and discuss it later.’

Emotional intelligence is being in touch with how you feel about something and then choosing the right and most appropriate response to match the situation.

Many women are too passive or aggressive in conflict with neither style resulting in win-win outcomes.  Then there is the person who is passive-aggressive which is probably the most dangerous style because you often don’t see what is going on for them, but the attack arrives often unexpectedly.

Emotional Intelligence – easier said than done?

Goleman explains there are five competencies we need to grow and develop to be emotionally intelligent.

  1. Self-Awareness – as women we need to know what we do well, to identify our triggers when we get frustrated, when we are content. In short, we need to have insight about ourselves.
  2. Self-regulation – we manage our emotions well, regulating them when we are angry or upset so we keep our responses to others in check and behave appropriately.
  3. Self-motivation – the greatest things in life are achieved through passion. Do you leave your emotions to motivate you in your work and personal life?  Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
  4. Empathy – in times of conflict, for example, do you put yourself in the other person’s shoes before you consider your own? Would others see you as a compassionate and caring woman?
  5. Good relationships – if you can master the first four competencies, then you generally will have great relationships around you at home and work. But relationships take work and effort. Do you, as a woman, take the time to nurture them?

Why is emotional intelligence so important for women?

Women have so much to deal with every day. In full-time careers, managing children, running families, working, looking after neighbours and aging parents, cooking, cleaning and making sure they meet their responsibilities – and it’s tiring.

It’s easy to get exhausted and at times, snappy.  Irritable.  Feeling as if it’s all too much, and often it is.

To cope, we need good relationships around us and with ourselves. None of us feel happy inside if we constantly battle with our partners, have ongoing conflict with work colleagues or relationship issues with our partner.  It doesn’t bode well for a happy life.

Being emotionally intelligent enables us to lead better, to create highly performing individuals and teams around us who are good at their jobs and get the work done. It gives us confidence in ourselves that we can handle anything that comes our way, well.

No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.

Jack Welch

Activity for you:  Gaining EI skills as a Woman

Firstly, we need to know what they are before we can get better at them.  Looking at the five competencies of emotional intelligence above, do you think you are emotionally intelligent?

  • Read through the 5 competencies above.
  • Score yourself out of ten (highest) for each of these (be honest with your scores).
  • For each, write down one activity you can do to increase your scores. For example, if you are unsure if you are self-aware or not, ask two people close to you what they think your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.  Focus on the weaknesses and design an action plan to improve them
  • Read as much as you can about emotional intelligence on the internet or purchase Goleman’s book on emotional intelligence.

Emotionally intelligent women

  • Know themselves well and can assess what is going on for themselves
  • Have good communication skills
  • Listen well and are assertive
  • Manage their emotions well – if they are frustrated or angry, they don’t lash out and say inappropriate things or hurl insults at others. They are measured in their responses and take time to think things through before responding.

The topic of emotional intelligence is a big one.  But in my experience of working internationally and in all sectors, I firmly believe that all humans need a big dose of emotional intelligence – to learn how to navigate life successfully whilst considering others, to form great relationships with others and to stand tall in our own beliefs and convictions, calmly.

For women, I would like to see them really have more time to gain self-insight and realise that they are the most important people in their life.  The two key skills I believe woman world-wide need are emotional intelligence, the ability to communicate and assertively and to stand their ground, no matter what.

The Be Unstoppable Program has been written for all women, no matter where you are, to help you take control of your life, feel more confident about you and give you ways to become resilient, manage stress well and communicate more assertively.

If not for you then your daughter, sister, friends, mother and aunt.

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