Have you ever met or worked with someone who was highly intelligent, but not at all good at communicating, or not in control of their emotions? IQ isn’t necessarily what makes someone successful. However, EQ, Emotional Intelligence, can have a BIG impact on your life. Even though you may not realize it, your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) affects many aspects of your daily life from home to work and back again! Having a high EQ allows you to identify, understand, and manage your emotions in positive ways, and that can help you relieve stress, communicate effectively, minimize conflict, understand and empathize with others, and overcome challenges. Wow! A high EQ can really come in handy, can’t it? Yes, it can, but how and why?
Attributes of Emotional Intelligence
EQ sets the stage for how you respond to and interact with your feelings, stressors, and the world around you.
There are some key areas that help determine your EQ. To get an idea of where your EQ is, ask yourself the following questions, and answer honestly!
- Am I Self-Aware? Do I recognize my emotions and how they affect my thoughts, behavior, and self-confidence?
- Do I have strong Self-Management? How good am I at controlling impulsive feelings and behaviors? Do I manage my emotions in a healthy manner? Do I have initiative and follow-through?
- Do I have a strong Social Awareness? Am I able to recognize and understand the needs and emotions of others? Am I comfortable in social settings and able to recognize group dynamics?
- Am I good with Social (Relationship) Management? Can I develop and maintain good relationships? Do I work well in a team? Do I communicate clearly? Can I inspire and influence and others, and manage conflict?
Most people have some areas in which they are stronger than others. For instance, you may be highly self-aware, but not very socially aware. All of this can influence how successful you are at work, how healthy you are physically and mentally through your ability to adapt to stress, and the types and strength of relationships in your life – That is a lot of influence! From a business perspective, some studies indicate that 90% of high performers in the workplace have a high EQ. So, how can you raise your EQ and get more out of life?
Raising Your EQ
The good news is that, unlike your IQ which doesn’t change significantly in a lifetime, EQ can evolve and increase. This is done by learning AND practicing some key skills:
- Being able to quickly reduce stress at any given moment, in any setting. Do this by recognizing what stress feels like to you, Identify how you respond when stressed, and find stress-relieving techniques that work for you.
- Being able to recognize your emotions and keep them level. Recognizing your emotions is the first step, and one that many people have difficulty with. Once you can recognize them, it’s important to see how they influence your thoughts and actions.
- Being able to connect emotionally with others using nonverbal communication. To connect with someone emotionally, focus on what they are saying rather than thinking about your rebuttal, what you have to do next, or when you’re going on vacation. Make eye contact with them to communicate interest and help yourself gauge what they are thinking and feeling. And, look for nonverbal cues – facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, and the timing and pace of their speech.
- Being able to stay connected using humor and fun when in challenging situations. Realize that humor and fun can help you overcome stress and distress. Look at frustrations as temporary. Use gentle humor to help express difficult feelings, and allow yourself to engage in fun communication to help you re-energize.
- Being able to confidently and positively resolve conflicts. Conflict occurs in ALL relationships, so learning how to resolve conflicts can make a huge impact on your work and personal life. Start by letting the past go rather than holding on to old pains and resentments. Recognize that not all arguments are worth the time and energy they take away from you. And, learn to forgive and disengage from a conflict. You can still disagree, just don’t let a difference of opinion control your relationships.
Like any skill set, it takes practice to master these EQ-raising skills, but once you start working on them, you will see a difference not only in the way you feel, but also in the way other people relate to you. If you do nothing else for yourself this year, identify your EQ and work to strengthen your EQ-building skills. You will be amazed at the successes you’ll experience as a result!