My last blog was entitled “EI in Practice: Simple Tips to Grow Your Self-Awareness” where I shared several ways to practice and grow your self-awareness and self-management. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is as much about others as it is about self. EI helps us engage with others in ways that make our relationships as productive as possible. I share here a few ways to practice and increase your social-awareness and relationship management, the other two critical aspects of Emotional Intelligence.

Here are some simple tips:

Tip #1: Become a People-Watcher. Identify a successful coworker and spend the next month observing this person. How does she or he handle different moods? Watch a movie to with the intent of looking for how they express their emotions. What do you see that shows you what people are feeling? Listen to how they express their emotions – tone, speed, other speech patterns. Identify the moods you are picking up on.

Tip #2: Check on People. This could be especially important with so many teams and leaders working from home. Call or FaceTime or Zoom with a team member or coworker and ask how things are going. Repeat back what you heard to check for your understanding, acknowledge and validate their feelings. Share what you are feeling to build the relationship mutually. Show them that you care.

Tip #3: Embrace Feedback as a Gift. And gifts are meant to be given and received! When you’re the Giver, be clear, sincere and specific in your message. If the feedback is constructive, make it a dialogue to hear the other person’s thoughts and engage them in resolving the issue. When you’re the Receiver, listen. Ask for specifics to understand the situation. Think before you respond. And say “Thank you.”

Tip #4: Build Trust. The Four C’s of Trust are Care, Commitment, Clarity and Consistency. When we Care, we feel concern or interest for the other person and provide for the needs of the other person in order to deepen the relationship. Commitment is all about the connection between what you say and what you do. With Clarity, you can eliminate any ambiguity which can cause miscommunication (which leads to broken commitments, which leads to eroded trust). And by demonstrating Consistency, others feel confident that they can count on you.

As I’ve said before, in the present moment, I truly believe our most successful leaders will engage their teams, organizations and communities from a center of Emotional Intelligence. Ignoring, denying or rationalizing our emotions may make us feel better in the near term, but it prevents us from using that valuable information to re-frame our thoughts and choose a new and useful response. I challenge you to commit to increase your social-awareness in the coming days! Good luck!