OLA developed this checklist of ten things you can do to cultivate your emotional intelligence and help you show up as your best self each day.

1. Understand your emotions and triggers. Learn to identify and name your emotions. Take time to understand what triggers you and why. When you recognize your triggers, you can take steps to de-escalate and manage them.

2. Practice self-care and positivity. We are wired to notice the negative. Positivity takes intention, and it is easier to be positive when we feel good. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, socialize with others, and engage in activities that energize you and nourish your soul.

3. Cultivate empathy. With practice and desire, you can develop the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another person and see the world through their eyes.

4. Use active listening and inquiry. Asking open-ended, non-judgmental questions builds understanding and rapport. It requires a deeper level of listening and presence on your part. When in doubt, start with inquiry.

5. Observe yourself and others. Observation starts with noticing how you react and respond, allowing you to move from Self-Reflection to Self-Management. Noticing how others respond, including to you, allows you to move from Social Awareness to Relationship Awareness. It starts with observation, noticing.

6. Check your observations. Avoid climbing the ladder of inference, i.e., leaping to ungrounded conclusions based on selective filtering of a situation. Seek disconfirming information and learn to climb down the ladder.

7. Pause and be intentional. You always have choice in how you respond to a situation. Learn to pause by breathing or counting to 10, then use your power of choice, and be intentional in how you respond.

8. Follow the Platinum Rule. Treat others as they would like to be treated. It’s simple and inclusive. If you ask people how they want to be treated, they will tell you.

9. Ask for feedback. Want to know how you’re doing at improving your EQ, ask someone for honest feedback that is specific and concrete. Be willing to accept it and thank the person for the feedback.

10. Reflect. Build in time each day for reflection. It’s a lost art, and vital to both strategic thinking and bringing greater intention to our lives.

OLA Consulting is a woman and minority-owned management consulting, leadership development, and coaching firm. We seek to inspire courageous leadership.


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