Do you know someone who can keep calm in a crisis and treats people with empathy? This person likely has high emotional intelligence.

Why is high emotional intelligence important? The best managers inspire confidence, trust and long-term growth for their teams. In order to do that managers need to build strong relationships, manage difficult situations effectively and show resilience in the face of adversity. They understand what to say to make people feel better and they know how to inspire them to act.

All these traits require high emotional intelligence. You can improve your emotional intelligence by focusing on the four key factors below:

1. Self-Awareness – the ability to be aware of your emotions as you are having them.

Ways to Improve Self-Awareness:
• Learn mindfulness – keep track of your emotions by writing in a journal daily.
• Slow down – When you experience anger or other strong emotions, slow down to examine why.

2. Self-Management – the ability to stay in control of your behaviors and emotions.

Ways to Improve Self-Management:
• Know your triggers – What causes you to become stressed?
• Pause and reflect before reacting.
• Practice deep-breathing exercises to calm yourself.

3. Social Awareness – the ability to communicate and interact empathetically with other people.

Ways to Improve Social Awareness:
• Start by thinking about other people’s viewpoints. Imagine how they may be feeling.
• Use active listening skills when people express their emotions to you.
• Try not to interrupt or talk about your own feelings during the conversation.
• Watch other people’s body language.

4. Relationship-Management – the ability to use social skills that help us to influence, inspire, coach and build effective teams.

Ways to Improve Relationship-Management:
• Improve communication skills
• Practice active listening
• Learn conflict resolution skills
• Improve emotional balance
• Create new habits

Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how you react to it. High emotional intelligence can be learned and developed over time. When you focus on improving these four key factors you will begin to develop trust and rapport with people and increase your emotional intelligence. This will increase your leadership potential and improve the quality of your relationships.