Improve Your Emotional Intelligence – Grow Your Self-Awareness

September 6, 2017

This is a fantastic article, I printed it and posted it in our treatment area for my staff to read. I look forward to watching the webinar. Thank you for sharing!

Practice Manager, Westminster, CO

Intelligence and personality may be established at a young age. However, your Emotional Intelligence (EI) is in your hands. Emotional Intelligence (also referred to as self-awareness) can be molded, morphed, measured and designed in order to improve and mature over time.

Read on to identify behaviors to embrace, old traits to let go and discover how an increase in EI will enhance your career. Then share this with your team in order to begin a conversation around enhancing EI.

What is Emotional Intelligence?
First and foremost, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions. Then, once you get a handle on that, it is the ability to identify the emotions in others and choose how to react in social engagements.

As an example, a veterinarian (or team member) may have a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and perform extremely well on tests, but have a lousy “bedside manner.”

However, a person with a higher EI may interpret another person’s signals (emotions) and respond appropriately to the circumstance, choosing to react in a way that supports both people.

Behaviors to Embrace
When you imagine the individual with a “great bedside manner,” what do you see?

Often these Individuals understand their strengths and weaknesses, admit to mistakes, take accountability for their actions and find humor in the strangest of places. These folks can label what they are feeling (good, bad or indifferent) with conviction.

As you step consciously into improving your EI, consider embracing the following:

  1. Identify how you feel. Stop for a moment and BE PRESENT in your state of mind and identify your feelings. This is a MAJOR step in self-awareness.
  2. Embrace the vision of the future. When you understand that there is a “bigger picture,” you’ll realize that success is a process. While it is still good to take care of short-term goals, people who are unable to grasp the “big picture” are often hurt by their unchecked emotions.
  3. Practice active listening. Communication is often described as talking. But great communicators are also great LISTENERS! When you really focus on what the other person is saying, you will better understand issues, tasks or emotional dynamics. Try it. When you ask someone a question, shut up and truly listen to the reply. Perhaps you’ll discover that your EI is elevated.
  4. Understand strengths and weaknesses. When you consider your personal strengths and weaknesses, often it seems easier to generate a list of weaknesses. While it’s healthy to recognize areas requiring improvement, try focusing on your strengths!
  5. Seek Feedback. While it may be difficult to receive feedback from others, it is vital for increasing EI. Feedback is simply information. It is helpful if you can seek others who can empathize with your situation.


Let go of bad traits
As you increase in your self-awareness, you may have to mentally be aware of, and fight to overcome, certain behaviors that have become routine for you.

These may include:

  1. Not allowing yourself to identify your true feelings
  2. Being short-sighted
  3. Being a “Chatty Cathy” and not allowing others to offer their insights
  4. Inability to admit mistakes
  5. Not allowing critiquing by others

You have complete control over identifying and managing your emotions. Because of this, you can take steps to increase your knowledge and improve your Emotional Intelligence! Once this is achieved, you can begin to look at others and how their passions affect you and your reactions to them.

Benefits of Self-Awareness
By improving self-awareness, you may begin to see benefits in your career through better engagement with others.

This can be achieved by:

  1. An increased awareness of your thoughts and feelings and not being on “auto-pilot” will lead to better interactions by reacting to the situation and not the emotion.
  2. Being mindful of your actions and reactions so that others recognize consistency in your engagements.
  3. Listening to others in order to improve relationships.
  4. Seeing the big picture and achieving goals leading to greater success in the future.
  5. Being truthful about your strengths and weaknesses which builds trustworthiness.

There are many reference materials, both written and in video format, to assist you with this journey.
Start out by taking an inventory of your current awareness (as objectively as you can) and then take action to improve it. Begin slowly and go easy on yourself. When you see places for improvement, just do it without ridiculing yourself. With patience and practice, you will see a marked improvement in your EI. You’ve GOT THIS!

View WVLDI’s  recorded Emotional Intelligence; Grow your Self-Awareness video.

Yours in veterinary team development,
Rebecca Rose, CVT


Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, Karol Truman, 1991 (ALL TIME CLASSIC!)
Video: Leadership: The Importance of Being Self-Aware from Get Your Mind On by Lori Stohs, Human Capital Consultant