This blog is part of a series of blogs exploring Emotional Intelligence. Looking at ways to be able to develop and enhance our own perceived levels of Emotional Intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

To gain a greater understanding you can read a previous blog What is Emotional Intelligence and How Can I develop it, for more detail. However, Emotional intelligence is all about how well you understand your own emotions and the emotions of others, and the ability to identify and manage them. Emotional Intelligence, also known as “Ei” or “EQ”, is now well established set of “Competencies” that contribute to performance, engagement and success.

Their are five key areas of Emotional Intelligence, Self Perception, Self Expression, Interpersonal, Decision Making and Stress Management. Each of these areas has three traits. We are going to discuss each of these traits in more detail with their own blog. This week we will be exploring the trait, Flexibility.

What is Flexibility and the relations to Emotional Intelligence?

Flexibility expresses our ability to adjust one’s emotions and behaviour to changing situations and conditions. It involves adapting and adjusting one’s feelings and thinking to new situations. Flexibility measures how flexible you are in your approach to life. It can indicate whether you welcome and even seek out new experiences or prefer a more stable environment at work or at home. Are you able to progress change?

We often think about being flexible or inflexible in our thinking, however if we break this down we often find that our flexibility is task specific. So someone who is risk averse at work may be a big risk taker outside of work. Someone who likes change and difference at work may be a creature of habit and like sameness at home.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin 

How much do you use the trait of Flexibility?

Are you often making decisions about something knew, or looking to keep things the same?

When Flexibility is operating well:

Copes with dynamic & changing work

  • Admits mistakes & move on
  • Open to others’ ideas
  • Easily learns new things
  • Anticipates & manages change

When Flexibility is low:

  • May be rigid in thinking or behaviour
  • Trouble adapting to change
  • Can be career-limiting
  • May be slow to act
  • Cannot admit when wrong

Developing skills around Flexibility

During Learning Cog’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Masterclass, starting with ‘Self-Perception’, we explain how to assess you own emotional intelligence and how to develop your EQ awareness. Here in this blog we have added some areas to think about when developing Flexibility.


  • Who do you know who is excellent at starting new things, making adjustments to their daily work pattern are adjusting to new conditions?
  • What old habits does this person demonstrate which you could point out to them as potentially a handicap to their success?
  • Who do you know who is able to change their opinion, when all the facts and evidence is presented to them or when complete discussion has been held?

Self Coaching

  • Where in my life do I exercise high Flexibility?
  • Where in my life do I exercise low Flexibility?
  • When I’m under pressure do I become more or less adaptable?
  • What messages do I hear from other people that are related to my high or low adaptability?
  • Which types of adaptability would you most like to work on yourself
    • Your ability/desire to make an important change in your personal life?
    • Your reaction to new initiatives?
    • Changes to your work pattern which do not go smoothly?

Thinking and Reflection

Here is an exercise for you to complete to help build your understanding of your own Flexibility.

Exercise 1: Experimenting 

When relating to others try using a different approach and see how it feels. For example, spend a few days noticing yourself, keep a diary and jot down impressions and observations at how you relate to others.
Then review to unlock the common patterns.

Do you have the same way and engaging and responding?
Do you always evaluate the responses of others in the same way?
You might notice that you talk to or listen differently to people in different ways.

Now with those people adjust your behaviour and deal with them in different ways

Exercise 2: Adaptable problem-solving 

In problem-solving, experiment with a more flexible approach. Adaptability enters the process in several ways. For instance, when you consider the problem, ask yourself “is this how X see’s it?” What other ways to see the problem might there be?

Another way links with problem-solving is the generation of solutions. Use methods to generate ideas, consult others to generate possible solutions, no matter how crazy are silly they might seem, it flexes muscles of your problem-solving and changes the feel of the more realistic options, you look at them differently.


It is important to actual do something when taking part in any self development. The practical is more important than the theory.

  • Try to maintain mental Flexibility when others are expressing their ideas
  • Think of different ways to handle the situation, problem or challenge
  • Change something in your daily routine frequently so that you have the experience of new routines and new perspective
  • Don’t be afraid to change, see it as an opportunity to learn new things and grow
  • Practice relaxation techniques to calm your anxiety when you are in uncomfortable, ambiguous situations
  • Try to maintaining mental adaptability when others are expressing ideas that you are not comfortable with.
  • Listen and try to learn more about new situations
  • Think of different ways to handle the same situations, do the same things, our approach the same problems are challenges.
  • Walk a different route to work
  • Try something new take up a new hobby
  • Open your mind to open to new thoughts are ways of doing things
  • Make periodic changes in your daily our weekly routine to give yourself the opportunity to view things from a different perspective. You may discover more efficient or comfortable routines

The more time you spend observing yourself and the people around you, the more you develop your Flexibility. Give yourself time, it may feel mechanical, clumsy and awkward at first, but with practice it will become quick and easy and automatic. Why not get in touch and talk to us more about developing Emotional Intelligence in yourself, your Leadership Team or your whole business.

Look out for the next blog on Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 14 – Stress Management

Or read previous blogs:

What is emotional intelligence? and how can I develop it…

1 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 1 – Self Regard

2 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 2 – Self Actualisation

3 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 3 – Emotional Self Awareness

4 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 4 – Emotional Expression

5 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 5 – Assertiveness

6 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 6 – Independence

7 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 7 – Social Responsibility

8 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 8 – Empathy

9 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 9 – Interpersonal Relationships 

10 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 10 – Problem Solving 

11 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 11 – Reality Testing

12 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 12 – Impulse Control

Did you know we currently offer [Virtual] Emotional Intelligence testing and training?

Before the workshop you will be invited to take part in a pre-course activity which includes an online self-assessment producing a 20 page personal Emotional Intelligence Report.

An employee’s skills and qualifications are important for success within their role. An employee’s Emotional Intelligence is just as important, if not more so, for fulfilment within, or potentially beyond, their current role. The Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace workshop is designed to as part of an individual’s development in work settings. It helps individuals focus on the impact of emotional intelligence at work and offers suggestions for working more effectively in one’s role, with colleagues, managers and clients.

  • Understand the impact of Emotional Intelligence on themselves and the people around them
  • Quickly identify patterns in own and others Emotional Intelligence
  • Create a clear, organised understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in a constructive way.
  • Effectively measure where they currently are and wants to be by comparing results against sample groups of general population
  • Make instant connections between different subscales of Emotional Intelligence and help leverage EI strengths and improve EI weaknesses.
  • Create an action plan to develop key areas of Emotional Intelligence
  • Become a more effect member of the team and organisation– This virtual session is 4 hours with a 1 hour break.
    – All of our Virtual Learning workshops are conducted via Zoom.
    – Virtual learning begins at 10.30am through to 12.30pm and then again from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. 
    – You will receive an electronic version of your Emotional Intelligence report, and workshop materials will be sent via post.

To discover more about Emotional Intelligence and how LearningCog can help you, head over to our dedicated Emotional Intelligence page.