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« 6. Develop emotional intelligence: Ask how they feel. »

Written by Rachel Green, Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, accredited user of the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and internationally recognised Emotional Intelligence Coach.

There are many different emotional intelligence activities adults can engage in to further develop their emotional intelligence and EQ at work.

Most of us have not had the opportunity to develop our emotional intelligence to its fullest and therefore can benefit from using a series of emotional intelligence activities designed for adults to improve it.

If you are designing an EQ program for yourself or your team at work, activities which focus on understanding other's emotions can be very helpful.

Various articles will cover a small selection of the hundreds of emotional intelligence activities for adults available. This one will help you develop emotional intelligence competency three on the Genos emotional intelligence model: Emotional awareness of others.

Struggling to manage your emotions or read others? Sign up for our five-star emotional intelligence coaching package and have your emotional intelligence assessed on the MSCEIT as part of that. Emotions will become easier. Click here to find out more.

How good are you at understanding others' emotions?

People with high levels of emotional intelligence on this competency can notice subtle emotional cues in others, across a variety of situations, across a variety of people, from those they know well to complete strangers, and can read these cues accurately and convey understanding of them.

There are many activities that you can use to increase your skills in this area. Here is a simple one.


Emotional intelligence activity: Ask the person

My suggestion here may sound so simple that you may think I'm not treating this seriously. I am.

What I suggest you do is to ask a person how he or she feels, as a way of understanding another person's emotions.

You do not have to be psychic. If you have a hunch about how someone is feeling you can check it out. You may not be right. It is easy to misread others' emotions and then to presume you are correct.

Being emotionally intelligent means that you are accurate in reading another person, not that you assume you know.

I have been wrong before about other people's emotions and I'm sure you and everyone else has too. If you ask you can gain more information than by merely guessing.

Emotional intelligence activities: Ask these questions

Here are a few possible questions you might ask to help you understand another person's emotions:

  • How are you feeling?
  • How are you feeling about ... ?
  • What are you reactions to ... ?
  • I notice you've been quiet and wonder what's going on for you?
  • What's going on for you?
  • What are you making of all this? 
  • How do you feel about it all?

Being emotionally intelligent includes being able to understand the emotions of other people and to read them accurately.

What is your level of emotional intelligence?

Develop your own or your leader's emotional intelligence

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