Today, Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is considered to be even more important than IQ (intelligence quotient).
This is true mostly because people with high EQ relate better to others, are more approachable, tend to be open-minded and are therefore easier to work with - both in team environments or on an individual basis.
Several studies have also demonstrated that those with high EQ scores are more self-confident, trustworthy and likeable than those with low scores. They also make better leaders and generally perform better in the work place.
Needless to say, a high Emotional Intelligence quotient contributes overall to increased productivity and success. In fact, many companies give applicants EQ tests before hiring them, while others have instituted EQ training programs.
Certainly, it is to everyone's benefit to increase his/her Emotional Intelligence!
1. Become aware of and tune into your own emotions. One of the first, and perhaps most important steps, is to become more self aware, or to develop the ability to tune into your own emotions. Why? In order to control your emotions you must first be aware of them. Some pointers for becoming self aware include: monitoring your emotions by acknowledging them, examining them, and then assessing your triggers and activation points. (Note: Knowing yourself is an Essential Life Skill). Practicing mindfulness is also an excellent way to become more self aware and monitor your emotions. By being aware of your own emotions, you are better able to understand and become aware of the emotions of others.
2. Seek to understand the points of view of others. Once you have a good appraisal of your own emotions, seek to understand and empathize with others. This is particularly important in the workplace, on committees, or in a group setting where ideas are flowing and being exchanged. To do so, listen attentively, put yourself in another's place and try to imagine what they are thinking and feeling and how they may have arrived at their conclusions. You will not only have a broader viewpoint yourself, you will be stretching your own perspective.
3. Communicate Effectively. Communicating effectively requires both verbal and non-verbal skills. As I explain in my article Good Communication Skills - Key to Any Success, communication is more than merely exchanging information. Effective communication is about understanding emotions, as well as the intentions behind the information exchanged. It is a mutual back and forth that includes conveying a message in the way it is intended and, in turn, making sure it is received as intended.
Non verbal skills include engaged listening, making eye contact, being aware of body language (not standing too close, gestures, facial expressions, etc.)
4. Develop connections with people. No matter how shy or introverted you think you are, learning to develop connections with others is a huge component of Emotional Intelligence. In fact, even if you are shy, you can begin first by listening, showing interest and making others feel comfortable. Doing so is sometimes easier for shy, introverted people than it is for gregarious, extroverts who tend to enjoy speaking first. For both types, showing that you care and are interested in others goes far in building valuable connections.
5. Practice emotional management. Once you are aware of both your own emotions and those of others, it is important to understand how to keep them balanced and in check. Some ways of practicing emotional management include:
stopping to take time to
and understand what is transpiring
diverting your attention until you are more composed - such as going for a walk, exercising, playing with a pet, breathing deeply
reframing the experience, i.e. exploring a new, broader way of looking at the issue
looking at the big picture and determining how important the immediate emotion/reaction is to the overall issue
As you can see, there are several way you can begin to boost, or improve, your EQ. Doing so will not only enhance your opportunities for success in the workplace, it will benefit you in your personal and professional relationships.
Ultimately, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) entails understanding yourself and others, effectively interacting with others, and then using those skills to strengthen your personal and professional relationships.