Travel insights from The Travel Institute

Using Emotional Intelligence to Build Better Relationships

Emotions can play a big role in helping or hindering our attempts at forging strong bonds among family and coworkers.

Emotions can have a powerful effect on the job. Think about your typical workday. Do you walk in with a plan of what needs to be done for the day? Are there times when, after the first 10 minutes, that plan is out the window? How do you handle that? How do you deal with the stress? How do you manage an ever-increasing workload? If you take the time to understand the feelings and emotions of others and of yourself, you can reduce stress, lessen conflict, improve relationships with others and be more productive. That’s what emotional intelligence is all about.

What is emotional intelligence?

In general, intelligence is the capacity for reasoning, understanding new information, learning things, and being mentally active. But emotional intelligence is a specific type of intelligence and is composed of four competencies:

  • self-awareness — accurately sensing and identifying your feelings
  • self-regulation — managing your responses to emotions by understanding them and using that understanding to direct your behavior
  • self-motivation — directing the power of your emotions toward a purpose that will motivate and inspire you
  • empathy — understanding and sharing another person’s experiences and emotions and responding with sensitivity and compassion.

Mastering these four competencies will pave the way to the fifth component:

  • effective relationships.

Building relationships

What is a relationship? It is a connection among people in which they do things together in a productive fashion. A strong relationship occurs when the group outperforms what the individuals themselves can do.

In daily interactions with people, most people would tell you to follow a simple rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Normally, that’s good advice. But, what’s the danger? When you treat others how YOU want to be treated, you’re projecting your feelings onto them. That’s good for you, but it may not be what they need or want.

So, use your emotional intelligence and make an effort to treat others the way THEY want to be treated. That’s crucial because then you are looking through their eyes. Incorporating that very different perspective will go a long way toward helping you build a strong connection.

Getting started

To get some insight into interactions with your coworkers, you can begin by analyzing relationships. Think about the people you work with and rate how good or weak that relationship is. Use a 1 to 5 scale with 1 being terrible and 5 being excellent. Rate each relationship in two areas: productivity (how well things get done) and harmony (how well you get along). Then ask yourself a key question: Why isn’t the number higher? If it’s a 3, what will it take to get it to a 4? How can you raise the harmony or productivity level?

Once you have identified weak or unsatisfactory relationships, you can concentrate your efforts at improving them. And you may find the means to do that by tapping into your emotional intelligence and using that knowledge and awareness to connect with your colleagues.

To learn more about using emotional intelligence to your advantage, we recommend that you enroll in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) or Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) programs.

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