Emotional Intelligence: What It Is and How to Use It?
When someone mentions the word “intelligence,” the first things that typically come to mind are teachable and measurable abilities, such as reading and writing. However, “emotional intelligence” has become an increasingly preferred soft skill among employees and leadership, and it has nothing to do with an individual’s IQ.
Emotional intelligence generally refers to identifying and managing emotions, both within yourself and other people. While there’s no validated psychometric test or scale to measure emotional intelligence, its concept describes a myriad of interpersonal skills necessary to succeed personally and professionally.
Below is what you need to know and understand about emotional intelligence, including how to use it.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, is described as the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways. The concept of EQ explores how emotions and cognitive processes interact and influence overall behavior. For instance, consider how emotions such as anger, happiness, and fear influence how individuals behave and make decisions.
An angry individual may act compulsively and without regard to other people, whereas a happy individual is more likely to be considerate and act thoughtfully. A fearful individual may refrain from doing anything at all.
Emotional intelligence is the knowledge and understanding of how each emotion dictates personal attitude and behavior and how someone else’s emotions may influence their overall demeanor and performance. Having high emotional intelligence helps to empathize with others, communicate effectively, and defuse conflicts. Likewise, EQ allows you to build stronger relationships, make informed decisions, and turn intent into action.
The Four Attributes of Emotional Intelligence
Beyond recognizing and understanding emotions in oneself and others, emotional intelligence also involves utilizing this knowledge to communicate, make decisions, and solve problems. Researchers typically classify emotional intelligence into four attributes: self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management.
- Self-Management: The ability to manage impulsive emotions and actions, healthily control emotions, take initiative, and adapt to evolving circumstances.
- Self-Awareness: The ability to recognize personal emotions and how they impact thoughts and behavior.
- Social Awareness: The ability to empathize, recognize emotional cues from others, feel comfortable socially, and understand the power dynamics in a group or organization.
- Relationship Management: The ability to create and maintain healthy relationships, communicate thoughtfully, play nicely among a team, and balance conflict.
How Can You Apply Emotional Intelligence?
From the office to your social life, emotional intelligence plays a significant role in every aspect of your relationships. Having a high EQ allows you to understand your own emotions first and foremost, so you can conduct yourself in a manner that represents how you’d like to be perceived. It also helps you forge strong relationships personally and professionally.
Similarly, there’s an increasing demand for emotional intelligence among employers. Emotional intelligence has become recognized as a valuable skill that helps improve problem-solving, communication, and management within the workplace. In fact, 71 percent of hiring managers suggest they value an employee’s EQ more than their IQ.
Take a look at how you can apply emotional intelligence to each area of your life.
In Your Personal Life
Emotional intelligence allows you to control your attitude and behavior better. When you can stop and recognize feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness, you can better control how you respond to a situation — just a few moments of reflection to consider why you react a certain way. If there is a more constructive method, you can drastically improve personal relationships with friends, loved ones, and colleagues. The more we understand ourselves, the better we can understand and assist others.
In Your Professional Life
Emotional intelligence in the workplace is a highly-necessary skill. Emotionally intelligent employees have the hindsight to not be bothered by criticism and feedback but rather remain focused on outcomes instead of becoming offended. Likewise, those with higher EQ contain more self-awareness to adhere to deadlines and understand how their actions could impact the team as a whole.
High EQ translates to better control over motivation and to remain optimistic about potential career opportunities. Plus, emotionally intelligent individuals can handle stress and uncertainty more, proving to be stronger employees.
In the Leadership Suite
Founders, executives, and CEOs must be emotionally intelligent. Understanding and managing emotions allow leaders with high EQs to remain open to creativity in the workplace. An emotionally intelligent leader can recognize when an employee is invested in a concept or project and spot signs of burnout in over-worked employees.
According to chairman and managing director of Hamptons Group LLC, Jeffrey Bartel, emotional intelligence is one of the most sought-after leadership qualities in the C-suite. Aside from employee-employer relationships, Jeff Bartel says high emotional intelligence allows leaders to communicate more effectively with clients and stakeholders, benefiting a company’s overall standing.
Improve Emotional Intelligence, Improve Your Life
Despite hard skills like time management or technical expertise, an employee that lacks emotional intelligence cannot fully succeed in the workplace. Whether you’re turning a new page in your career or trying to better connect with employees, a high EQ can help you forge stronger relationships, successfully communicate ideas, and resolve conflicts. When you take steps to improve your emotional intelligence, you’re taking the initiative to improve your life.