Emotional Intelligence, what is it and how do I improve it?

April Sabral

/ Leadership, Mindset

Emotional Intelligence is a key leadership skill.

Over this past week while traveling I had the pleasure of having the most amazing conversations and spent time with people I truley enjoy where we shared life experiences, lessons learned and more. However over the course of the week there was one concept that kept coming up over and over again for some reason.

This concept is not new in fact I read a book about it over 10 years ago.

But this week I was reminded how important this is.

The one thing I love to do with people is talk with them. This is how I learn new ideas, different ways of thinking and challenge my own perspectives and views on things. Even though there are many different people from different industries I meet on my travels we all share some of the same challenges. Wether you work in retail, banking medical or education building a team of emotionally intelligent people will be the most challenging task you will ever do but it could also be the most rewarding one.

About twelve years ago I read a book digested it practiced it and then forgot about it. This week I was reminded how important this book and teachings are.

During a lunch conversation a friend brought up the topic of Emotional Intelligence and the five behaviours or concepts that make up this term because he had just sat through a presentation that morning and was inspired to bring it back to his team. We chatted about what that could look like and how he could inspire his team to challenge themselves with this so important concept.

It was great timing as I was reading about this topic that very morning. Someone I know had sent me a visual on Emotional intelligence and asked me how to integrate this concept into her leadership team so I was doing some homework and reading a few articles about it. We left lunch moved on with the day and I didn’t think much more about it.

The next evening while having dinner with my family. My step sister asked me if I had ever heard of the term Emotional Intelligence.

She shared with me that she had just read an article on this recently and when reflecting on it realized how important this could be to helping her kids achieve success in life. After never being taught this from her own parents and wondering how this could have shaped her thinking if she knew this earlier on in life.

It got me thinking more about this as the conversations I had been having over the past couple of days kept bringing this concept to my attention for some reason.

While traveling back through Colorado airport I walked into the book store and featured on the best sellers book shelf of 2017 books was the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0!

Coincidence? I don’t know but what I do know is usually when I keep getting hit over the head with a message its because there is something in it for me to learn or share.

Prior to this I was chatting with my Dad about the theory of everything happening for a reason and I was sharing about a conversation that happened earlier on in my week where someone I was speaking with had told me they didn’t believe that everything happens for a reason. Her theory on this was if a random terrible act were to happen how can that be for a reason?

My Dad said to me… he agreed sometimes things happen for no reason, but their can always be a lesson learned in it. Now if you put this in the context of Emotional Intelligence and the conversations I have been having all week about this topic, maybe there was no reason as to why three different people would bring this up in a matter of a few days but there certainly is a lesson here.

And that lesson is don’t undervalue the obvious. What I mean by this is sometimes what is obvious to ourselves may not be to others and if our goal as leaders is to add value to others then this is a very important lesson.

As a leader my goal has always been to add value to others. Provide insight and knowledge that can help other leaders develop themselves create an engaged work place and improve result.

Spending the last twenty-four hours with my Dad was really interesting because he actually demonstrated some of the five elements of emotional intelligence. The one he shared he was working on is improving his self regulation.

Chatting with him I could see where some of my natural abilities to listen, empathize and understand others actually stems from. Some of these five elements are within us naturally and others need to be fostered. To enhance our natural or not so natural abilities of Emotional Intelligence its important that we become aware of the five and then assess what we could improve on but more importantly understand the impact of these on a team when leaders are not using them practically.

Most people under value or ignore what comes easy for them. Why? Because if it so simple and obvious everyone should know it this is not true.

If you started today to value your natural talents (think about the things that are easy for you) and share that with others which could just be in the form of a dinner conversation you may spark an awareness and inspire someone to learn grow and challenge them selves. I know the people in my life this week have done that for me.

One of the things my friend learned during the presentation on Emotional Intelligence was how to focus on others emotions, the speaker challenged everyone to make five people smile today. It puts the focus on others and not on yourself which is one of the five core concepts of E.I.

Simple right, But is it? Have you made five people smile today?

I am waiting for my flight to Toronto and smiled at three people and they smiled back…two to go. And this is because someone put this in my awareness through a thought shared and now learned.


What if we started valuing the obvious and practicing it more? We may be able to transform relationships shape our work environments and create more moments where we make others smile.

I cant wait to read my book about emotional intelligence that is sitting on my book shelf at home. I am going to take my time with it as just because I find it obvious does not mean that everyone on my team does, and while I read this book again twelve years later I am going to look for the lessons that I can share and add value to my team because thats what GREAT leaders do. This is how you demonstarte emotional intelligence.

This week I challenge each of you reading this to add value to someone with something that you do that seems so easy and obvious to you.

Oh and make five people smile if you remember….It might change your day and someone elses. This is Emotional Intelligence in Action

Want to learn more? Watch our top tips to improve your EQ here in this free retailu course.

Suggested reads – These are great books to learn more about this specific topic and how to apply it in your life. Enjoy.


Emotional-intelligence-2.0/ This includes an assesment that you can take! try it out.

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Coleman


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