4 Actions to improve EQ

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
The ability to manage the way one feels is said to be one of the most important assets that contribute to our well being as well as elevating business. Becoming emotionally intelligent does not happen overnight. Rather, it’s a muscle to be built and a habit to be created.

Are you a high-performer under constant pressure and stress needing to meet your own expectations? Is this complicated by the challenge of leading your team effectively to elevate business? This can be a recipe for burnout.

Emotional intelligence can make challenges like these easier to manage. When you have a high EQ, you’ll recognize and understand emotions better, and are able to manage them and express feelings adequately. You’ll be able to relate better to other people’s feelings and behaviors, develop empathy and meet them where they are, which is essential to great leadership.

When you are able to see things for what they are and take a step back when necessary, you are less likely to get caught up in your emotions. Decisions are being made from a place of calm and clarity, and you’ll respond intentionally to situations as opposed to reacting out of default or habit. This is an advantage in life as well as in business.

Emotionally intelligent people are simply better at relating to themselves and others, which helps them grow their personal and professional relationships.

The following four actions will help improve emotional intelligence.


Being aware of how you react out of habit is essential to changing that habit. Observe your emotions as they appear, in the situations and conversations when they are triggered, and then label them. Bring them from your unconscious to your conscious by stating what feelings you’re experiencing.

Most people are not aware if they are feeling angry, sad, disappointed or threatened. Uncovering and labeling your feelings sets the foundation to working with them or as we may say “name it to tame it.”


In order to change the way you feel about a situation, you must first change the way you think about it. After getting clear on which exact emotion shows up, find out why it appears, where it comes from and which beliefs might cause your default reaction. Become curious about the reason behind it.

Often, anger and frustration are not rational, and when we think things through, they don’t even make sense. Maybe you’re holding a grudge that is being triggered, or your ego might feel threatened and want to defend itself. The more honest you can be with yourself, the faster you’ll get to the root of your emotions, understand them and gain perspective.


Manage your emotions by consciously choosing how you want to respond in order to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties included. When in a difficult conversation, let the other person know that you’ll continue talking after a short break. Step out of the situation, leave the room, breathe, and let your emotions settle. Consider multiple ways of how you could respond, and assess the costs and benefits of each action. Be aware that you’re in control if you want to be right or create opportunity.

Are you choosing to listen to your ego or let the other person feel understood and find a solution together? Even if you still feel upset, ask yourself if you want to respond based on emotion or logic. Whichever choice you make, know that you’re responsible for the outcome.


Learn to express your feelings appropriately without repressing them. Additionally, to consciously respond to a situation, communicate which emotions you’re experiencing. Be honest with yourself and others to increase trust and connection. Give them permission to share their beliefs and feelings without being judged, and move forward together.

Not only can you practice these 4 actions during difficult times but also by observing everyday situations, where it’s easier to gain perspective. These are key to building relationships, understanding yourself and others better and increasing opportunities.

Managing your emotions and expressing them adequately rather than being controlled by them makes all the difference in business, leadership and communication as well as in creating resilience and well-being.