How in tune are you to your own emotions and to the people around you? Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than Your IQ first popularized the term we know today as Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
There are several definitions and understandings of Emotional Intelligence, and one of the most popular is based on five pillars (or categories). Your EQ is determined by your strengths in these five pillars, those being: self-awareness (understanding your strengths and weaknesses and the impact your behavior and actions can have on others); self-regulation (the ability to express strong emotions with mature control); motivation (self-motivation and ambition); empathy (the ability to understand and care about people) and people skills (the ability to work with others and build trust and a solid foundation for communication).
Why it matters
The Carnegie Institute of Technology found that 85% of financial success came from “skills in ‘human engineering’, personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead.” You may be an expert, a leader or the everyday employee who keeps the company moving smoothly. But no matter who you are, your ability to read people and yourself and to understand the motivations behind your emotions is vital to your success both on and off the job.
Not only does EQ improve your ability to communicate, especially in the face of conflict, but it can promote and improve problem-solving as well as better customer relationships and teamwork. It also improves your ability to be flexible and go with the flow without falling apart.
Because of this, hiring managers are increasingly looking beyond the resume to understand how you have worked through conflicts in the past to get a sense of how you’ll be in a new position.
Develop your Emotional Intelligence
Whether you’re happily employed now or on the job hunt, there’s no time like the present to start developing and improving your EQ. Developing EQ takes intentionality and time--but trust us when we say it’s the best investment you’ll make. Carve out some time in your day to implement new practices that can improve how you fare in the five pillars.
But lets set some ground rules. Make sure to avoid things like negativity, being overly critical, selfish and complaining. Simply cutting out those traits will make you instantly more likable wherever you go.
Practice fuels improvement, so make time to put these things into practice every day to see your EQ bloom.
Start (and keep) a journal
Journaling the events of the day, as well as your feelings and responses to them, can help you become more aware of what’s happening in yourself. It can also help uncover underlying problems that should be dealt with. Seeing your feelings and actions in words can help you rethink responses and come up with better ways to implement next time. Daily journaling helps you see improvement over time too.
Question your beliefs and opinions
It’s easy to feel like your thoughts and opinions are the only things that matter. Question your own opinions and try to see from another viewpoint. This can help you be more open to ideas that aren’t your own.
Predict your feelings
Think through real or imagined situations, and predict how you would feel in those situations. It may be hard at first, but force yourself to put a name to your emotions. Then realize it’s okay to feel these things. However, your response to the feelings is your choice, so as you predict and name them, you can practice choosing and visualizing your responses too. People with high EQ are able to name their feelings. While that might seem insignificant, it actually helps you better control your feelings instead of letting them run rampant and gain steam only to explode.
Tune into your non-verbal communication
Sometimes, you could be saying everything right and still come off so wrong thanks to a little thing called body language. A rigid stance, terse or uncertain tone in your voice and poor eye contact can say more about you than the best words. When you’re in different situations, take notice of what’s going on with your body, and practice relaxing and letting yourself be in the moment.
Write out your goals
Goals provide a sense of direction. Bringing your goals to the forefront can immediately make you feel more motivated--and more intentional in everything you do. So take some time to think through and list them out. Writing them down gives you a starting point for creating a roadmap to how you will achieve them.
Learn to listen
Sometimes, closing your mouth is the best thing you can do. Learning to value what others have to say, even when it’s different from your own ideas, can make you more approachable. Instead of always trying to get a point across, listen to others and affirm that you understand or at the very least hear them. People love to talk, and if you can harness your own desire to be heard all the time and direct it into letting others be heard, you’ll not only expand your own knowledge but become a person people want to talk to.
Test out your EQ here. Then put in some intentional introspection and practice time in and you’ll see a happy boost to your emotional intelligence and how people respond to you.