What is Emotional Intelligence, and how can you use it in the workplace?
Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to intelligently manage your emotions, while also being able to read those of others. It also requires a high level of empathy, which is the skill to understand and be compassionate with the feelings of others.
Meanwhile, IQ, or intelligence quotient, is a scale defining a person’s intellect through a numerical representation. Einstein’s IQ is believed to have been 160, which is considered exceptionally gifted. But how much was his EQ?
Since emotional intelligence is about feelings and emotions, it is difficult to explain it through numbers. However, many argue that it might be more important than IQ, including the psychologist who popularized the term during the 1990s.
In his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman outlines five main aspects of EQ – Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social skills.
How can emotional intelligence help you excel at work?
Last year, in The Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, EQ was classified as one of the top 10 skills needed for professional success. Being aware of the emotional intelligence of employees is crucial for corporations, as it helps them foresee how they would react in certain situations and how will they fit in among the team.
In other words, EQ provides insight into which tasks a worker would be best at depending on what they do to control their emotions.
The perfect employee in terms of emotional intelligence would be someone who understands their colleagues, is able to empathize with them, takes constructive criticism well, is open to change, and, last but not least, is able to meet deadlines.
However, having a high EQ is not beneficial only for employees. Being in a leading position also requires high levels of emotional intelligence. When being in charge of a team, you need to be able to communicate with the people you work with, understand their needs, and treat them with empathy when needed. This also includes motivating your employees when you notice their productivity has been decreased, as well as ensuring they are truly invested in their roles.
Is it possible to develop emotional intelligence?
Unfortunately, not all people are naturally born with high EQ. While some admirable individuals are compassionate, understanding, and insightful by nature, others don’t truly comprehend the essence of empathy.
Luckily, emotional intelligence IS something you can cultivate. By improving your self-awareness, as well as listening skills, or simply paying more attention to the way you react to stressful situations, you can practically teach yourself how to be more mindful of the people around you.
If you tend to act before you think whenever something bothers you, try giving yourself a few seconds before bursting into anger. Maybe getting upset wouldn’t help you improve the situation. Maybe giving yourself time to analyze the circumstances would be the better thing to do.
And if you find this little exercise difficult, don’t be afraid to seek help from the people closest to you – your family, your most trusted friends, or your partner. Ask them whether they find you empathetic, flexible, or cooperative. Their observations would definitely help you reevaluate your behavior and find ways to level up your EQ.
You can also enhance your empathy by reading stories, watching movies, listening to interesting podcasts, or doing anything that lets you dive into someone’s mind and see the world through their perspective.
What qualities do you reckon an emotionally intelligent person should have? Do you believe there is something you should do to heighten your EQ? Leave a comment to let us know!