10 exercises that build emotional intelligence

You can build emotional intelligence just like any other skill, Steve Jagler writes for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

To find out how to develop emotional intelligence, Jagler sought advice from Bill Marklein, the founder and CEO of Employ Humanity, a workplace consulting company.

Marklein suggests 10 habits that help you practice and build your emotional intelligence.

1: Pay attention to your thoughts. Recognize when irrational thoughts start to take over. Let go of them and focus on staying in the moment.

2: Go offline for a while. Get away from technology and engage with your physical surroundings.

3: Accept your emotions. Embrace all of your feelings, including negative ones, because they provide us with perspective.

4: Be empathetic. Try to see things from the perspective of others.

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5: Be open to change. There's no single best way to interact with people at work. Every person and every situation will be unique, so you should be prepared to adapt your approach.

6: Inspire your team. Help employees perceive the workplace as a complement of their personal life, rather than its opposite—and know that they can thrive in both.

7: Set an example. Organizational change is hard, but modeling the behavior you want instilled in your colleagues will influence them more than just talking about it.

8: Be grateful. Expressions of gratitude on a personal and professional basis can help you gain a growth mindset and get you to a mindful state.

9: Create a positive mental image. If you're ever feeling defeated, take a look at an old photograph of yourself smiling with your colleagues or family.

10: Focus on growing. Emotional intelligence isn't fixed. If you slip up, remember that you can build the skill and do better next time (Jagler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/26).

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