What Is Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is a convenient phrase that’s fairly recent (1990s). It’s not just about being good at using emotions, it’s about:
- Knowing your own emotions (Self-Awareness)
- Knowing others’ emotions (Social Awareness)
- Handling your own emotions (Self-Management)
- Handling others’ emotions (Social Skills)
Each of these 4 areas require the following competencies:
Why EQ Is More Important Than IQ For Success
EQ stands for Emotional Quotient and measures Emotional Intelligence.
It’s not to be mistaken with IQ (Intellectual Quotient). Although the notion of IQ has existed for more than a century and has, for a very long time, been regarded as the standard to measure intelligence, it’s become more and more apparent that IQ alone is not a guarantee for success.
You might know some very intelligent people who are completely inept at social relationships. They do well working alone in technical positions but make bad managers and cannot work in collaboration.This limits their career evolution prospects.
Both IQ and EQ explain success, with Emotional Intelligence playing a larger part of it (2 times more according to research).
A good EQ means that your social skills are good but also that you have other vital skills to do well in a job:
- you can manage your stress levels
- when making choices, you can ignore emotions unrelated to the choice at hand
- you understand the company’s politics
- you control your emotions and don’t get involved in petty arguments
- you are self-confident and are not afraid to ask questions
- you are persistent in the face of setbacks
- you know when and how to express emotions to motivate others and yourself
- you inspire trust
- you look for new and better ways to accomplish things
- you confront issues in a mature and constructive way
- you know your strengths and weaknesses
- you adapt what and how you communicate based on your audience and what you wish to achieve
If IQ gives a measure of your raw intelligence, EQ gives a measure of how well you can use this intelligence. That’s why companies are more and more interested in EQ tests when hiring. EQ is particularly important in leadership positions.
How To Improve YOUR Emotional Intelligence
It might be useful to take a quick test to know where your EQ stand. Unfortunately there is no free quick online test. But answering the questions below should give you an indication (you can answer yourself or ask your friends where they think you stand or both):
- Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? (Self-Awareness)
- Do you take feedback well? (Self-Awareness)
- Are you open to change and new ideas? (Self-Management)
- Are you good at managing your stress levels? (Self-Management)
- Can you tell what emotions people are going through just by looking at them? (Social Awareness)
- Do you consider others’ emotions before voicing an opinion? (Social Awareness)
- Can you manage conflicts in a calm and constructive way? (Social Skills)
- Do you have friendly professional relationships with your work colleagues? (Social Skills)
A big yes to all of those and you’re an EQ genius.
If not, don’t worry, most of these skills can be learnt.
Emotional Intelligence (and effectiveness at work) is higher when you possess a sufficient amount of skills in each of the 4 competencies areas above (Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Self-Management, Social Skills).
So, to improve your emotional intelligence, you need to work on all 4 areas… but not all at the same time.
We’re going to look into each area in depth in part 2 of this article (after the Holiday break).
In the meantime, there’s something you can start doing right now: paying attention to your own feelings.
There will probably be many opportunities to experience strong feelings over the Holiday period and when you do, don’t ignore them. Emotions are part of your personality and they impact others. Recognize you’re experiencing a strong emotion and put a name to it: Is it stress, anger, joy, embarassment, jealousy, despair,…? Then try and understand what caused it.
This will help you on the way to Self-Awareness.