Show Emotional Intelligence: See Many Reasons for Behavior | #PeopleSkills

As I work with clients on their people skills, they often ask my how they can strengthen and show emotional intelligence. Of course there are a few ways. Yet, it comes down to one universal step. To strengthen and show emotional intelligence, see many reasons for people’s behavior — not just one. Now, here’s what can block what you see and how to sharpen your vision!



Show Emotional Intelligence: Image is large tree w/ many branches.

Show Emotional Intelligence: See Many Reasons for People’s Behavior. Image by Katariina Järvinen via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Katariina Järvinen via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Show Emotional Intelligence: See Many Reasons For Other’s Behavior

If you want to see many reasons for people’s behavior, you must first know what skews your view. Then undo it.

  • Unconscious bias. Some say that you see what you want to see. In other words, what you are thinking skews how you interpret what you see. Cultural norms about “good” and “bad” behavior play a strong role. Gender norms do too. Racism plays an undeniable role as well.

  • Embarrassment. If you are embarrassed of something you’ve done, you are likely to misinterpret other’s responses to your behavior. It’s a way of protecting your ego.

  • Arrogance. Thinking you’re always right skews what you see and how you interpret it. Worst of all, arrogance stops you from hearing that your interpretation is wrong.

  • Narrow Life Experience. If you’ve seen and experienced very little outside of where you’ve always lived and worked, you may find it hard to clearly see very different people and their behaviors as as they really are.

  • And of course …

  • Discomfort With Emotion. I often coach people who value logic over everything else. They struggle with emotion. Because of that, they mislabel every response that doesn’t seem logical (to them) as emotional. As a result, they shut out the truth about the responses.

  • Fear. Fear can definitely skew what you see, remember, and what it means. It releases chemicals for “fight or flight” response which is good. Yet, it also intensifies the moment which taints how you interpret other’s behaviors.


Show Emotional Intelligence: Ask Yourself These Questions

  1. What am I not seeing?

  2. How does this other person feel?

  3. What other reasons could be driving their behavior?

  4. What are their intentions?

  5. Could I be wrong about this? Why?

  6. What is coloring how I think about this?

  7. How do I feel right now and how is that skewing what I think about them?

  8. What previous experience(s) am I transferring onto this moment?

  9. Do I know the whole story? What am I missing?

  10. What if I saw this from a different angle? How would that change my view of their behavior?



Show Emotional Intelligence: Image is picture you can see two different ways - two faces or a vase?

Do you see two faces and/or a vase?


Do you see more than one thing in this picture?


A Story to Illustrate

A client of a graphics designer cropped her design. Then described the designer’s response as: “She got emotional.” Well, there is a better way to describe it. A more emotionally intelligent description would be: “My graphic designer did not like when I cropped her design. I can see her perspective. She was protecting her design and her brand. So we discussed what cropping would work for us both.”

How did I come up with this approach? Think of other situations where you wouldn’t label it as emotional. For example, when companies protect their brand and image, few people label that as emotional. Yet when it is one person, the label of emotional seems common.


Final Thought on Showing Emotional Intelligence

Instead of labelling people and their behaviors, speak with them, listen to them, and understand them. Consider many reasons and your emotional intelligence will show!



How have you strengthened and shown your emotional intelligence? Share your stories here.



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Use These 13 Emotionally Intelligent People Skills Behaviors for Your Career Success
Are You Trapped by Your Emotionally Unintelligent Bluntness?
10 Emotionally Intelligent Steps to Use w/ Immature Emotionally Unintelligent Teammates

©2021 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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