I've written about emotional intelligence plenty of times in the past, including:
As a follow-up, I wanted to take a deep dive into how people with emotional intelligence minimize drama and manage conflict. You'll note this has plenty to do with setting healthy boundaries around yourself and others. Here's a personal strategy that you can put into practice today:
1. Always start with assessing your feelings.
Do an honest self-appraisal of the situations that make you feel threatened. What is it about these situations that makes you feel that way? Process your thoughts carefully and drill down until you get to the root of the matter, going below the symptom-level. We're not talking stress, that's evident. Instead, what specifically is stressing you out? That's the cycle you need to break.
2. Deal with your unresolved issues.
Make a list of those issues that need closure and be sure to break them down into small and manageable parts so frustration and discouragement doesn't set in. Treat each issue separately as you eliminate them from your list one by one, instead of viewing the pile of issues as a mountain of unsolvable problems.
3. Don't be a yes-person all the time.
Remind yourself that it's OK to say no to anyone if the request interferes with your beliefs, goals, passions, or even your schedule. You do not have to be a yes-person for anyone; it takes too much effort and leaves you frustrated. Offer resistance when those beliefs are threatened. You can tell the person gently without being harsh, but assertiveness may be necessary to draw the line.
4. Don't take responsibility for others.
There are situations that, upon further inspection, have nothing to do with you. Remember that you are not responsible for the actions of others, so beating yourself up about something that someone else does is counterproductive and pushes you further away from your own inner peace.
5. Respond instead of react.
As leaders, when we react with emotionally charged words or behaviors to an unpleasant situation, we are being impulsive, shortsighted, and usually not giving much thought to what we are doing. It usually happens on impulse when we don't get something we want, or out of fear of something. Then, "fight, flight, or freeze" takes over. But by responding, rather than reacting, we create space to consider the situation and decide the best approach to handle things. We assess a situation, get perspective, listen without judgment, process, and hold back from reacting head on. It's the decision to sit on your decision.