In the nearly 30 years that I’ve been teaching EQ in the business world, one thing many clients notice is the carryover power of emotional intelligence in family relationships. That’s because you can not compartmentalize this learning. If you’re improving emotional intelligence at work, it helps you in the home. If you learn it in the family, it helps you work.
I’ll never forget something that happened nearly 30 years ago. I had just finished meeting with a client. I’d left his office and was walking down the hall. He stuck is head out the door and said, “Hey Daniel, come back here for minute.” You know how it is – I turned around, thinking that he wasn’t happy with something I’d said or did. That concern was magnified when he said, “close the door,” after I reentered his office. Then he told me to have a seat. You can imagine the thoughts that might go through your head in such a scenario.
However, instead of expressing a concern, he looked at me and said, “I want to thank you.” The eyes of this highly professional man began to tear up as he said, “Thank you for all your teaching me. Not only is my job performance better, my work relationships are better, my relationship with my wife is better, and I’m closer to my kids now, too. This is really changing my life, and I just wanted to thank you.”
I was blown away. There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Mark Twain that says, “I can live for two months on a good complement.” I have to tell you, I’ve lived for decades on the complement that man gave me. That’s because the impact of emotional intelligence in family relationships is an eternal one.
So let’s talk for a bit about emotional intelligence in family relationships.
As parents, you set the tone.
You’ve heard the phrase, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” Well, that phrase applies to dads, too. And there is another popular saying out there that is oh so important: “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Kids wants to be loved and accepted for who they are. They have unique giftings and traits, and as parents, it’s our job to notice those and positively reinforce them. The ripple effects of not doing so is distance and maybe even hard feelings.
By the way, the same applies to your relationship with your spouse. After all, they want to be loved, cherished, and celebrated for who they are too. If we don’t do that, relationships grow cold.
And so, if you want to improve your emotional intelligence so you can improve your family relationships, the one thing I always recommend is to start learning about the different behavioral styles, cognitive styles, and the different motivators. Find out where your preferences are in these areas (there are good assessment tools to help you do that), and then identify the preferences of the people in your family.
I always say, “Value the differences,” but first you have to know what those differences are.
A good place to start is also a free place to start. Just download my new book titled, “10 steps for improving your emotional intelligence.” You can get it for free right here on this site, so definitely take advantage of that.
Just remember: You set the tone. Your spouse wants to be understood, cherished, and celebrated, and if you have kids, they want the same. All of this is a lot easier to do when you’re applying good emotional intelligence.