Before we can determine how developed our EQ is, we should try to define what EQ is. EQ stands for Emotional Intelligence and it is a term that was created by 2 researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and made popular by Dan Goleman in his book “Emotional Intelligence” produced in 1996. EQ is essentially the way one perceives, understands, expresses and manages their own emotions. Additionally, it is also how we recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others.
The benefits of having a high EQ are numerous and even outweigh a high IQ. Real life examples in a work setting include:
• Greater sales for people with a high EQ by 50% as compared to those with low to medium EQ
• More stability in staff and increased retention rates by up to 67%
• Increased customer satisfaction due to amazing customer service
• Those with a higher EQ are 20 times more productive than those with a lower EQ
The importance of emotional intelligence lies in the fact that if you understand these important facets of yourself, the better off you will be in terms of your mental health, your social behaviours and also your success in life.
Daniel Goleman developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence. They are:
• Self-Awareness: This is about how self-aware you are about your emotions. By being self-aware, you will not let your emotions or feelings rule you. This also includes taking a close, honest look at yourself and knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are. This also includes working on these areas so that you can improve yourself.
• Self-regulation: This is the ability to control your emotions and your impulses by not letting yourself get too angry or too jealous and by thinking before you act. This takes allot of discipline and practice. The main elements of self-regulation are being thoughtful of others, being ok with change, the ability to say no and integrity.
• Motivation: How motivated are you? People with a high level of emotional intelligence are typically motivated. They are highly productive and love a challenge. They are very effective in whatever they choose to do.
• Empathy: This is the ability to feel the wants, needs and viewpoints of others. It’s essentially putting yourself in others shoes. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when it’s not obvious. Empathic people avoid judging others too quickly and stereotyping people, they are also excellent at managing relationships and listing to others.
• Social skills: Another sign of high emotional intelligence is how easy it is to relate and talk to others, or how social you are. Team players typically have strong social skills because they think about how they can help others shine and achieve themselves, and they don’t only consider and think of themselves. Those with strong social skills can manage disputes easily, communicate effectively and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.
The good news is that your EQ can be developed over time if we have a desire to learn and grow. Below we will look at 5 key ways in which we can improve our emotional intelligence:
1. The ability to manage stress: We all experience some level of stress in our life time. How we handle the stress can make all the difference. When we can keep our cool, we are better able to deal with highly stressful situations. We can use quick tips such as going for a walk or exercising when we feel overwhelmed, or even walking away from a highly confrontational situation and getting some fresh air.
2. The ability to be assertive: This is a hard one for many people. Being assertive means that we respect ourselves enough to speak in a kind manner to the other person about what’s important to us and where our boundaries are at. That way, people know where they stand. This includes things such as, being able to say no without feeling guilty, disagreeing with something that doesn’t feel right for us, setting our own priorities and protecting ourselves from harmful situations.
3. Being proactive, rather that reactive when dealing with an unreasonable person: We will all encounter a person who is difficult. It is easy to sometimes let them get the better of us and ruin our day. What’s important here is how we respond to the situation. Rather than letting them get the better of us by making us feel upset, or spoiling our day, there are some tips we could use. Take a deep breath and count slowly to ten (in your mind), if this hasn’t helped, you may need to ask to come back to what you were discussing when you have had time to think. Another way is to try to see it from the other persons point of view. This is also a way of reminding you that people do what they do based on their own issues, so we need to de personalise the issue from ourselves. Being reasonable and considerate goes a long way.
4. How you bounce back from adversity: Ultimately, we choose the way we think, feel and act in relation to what life throws at us. With every challenging situation we come across we need to ask ourselves what the lesson is, what we learnt from it, what is most important to us etc. It’s not about the failure, it’s about how many times we get back up. Remember the comeback is always better than the setback!
5. How we express intimate emotions: this is everything to do with how we express our intimate emotions with those closest to us. We can do this by asking those close to us, “how are you feeling?” “I love you”, “I appreciate you” etc. or through our body language by positive eye contact, hugging, smiling, hugging etc.
There is no denying that regular intelligence is important for one to succeed in life, however, emotional intelligence is key to how successfully we relate to others and achieving our life goals. People with high Emotional Intelligence are usually successful in most things they do. This is because they know how to communicate with others to get the best out of the situation. Many companies are now using emotional intelligence testing before they hire new staff as they know the importance and the difference in results of someone who rates hig