Without a doubt the professional landscape has changed rapidly in the last two years. COVID made us adapt to a new reality in order to continue be productive even in our homes, and many of us developed skills we didn’t know we had. However, one skill will be the most sought after in the near future and that is Emotional intelligence.
motional Intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. It basically is the ability to understand and manage not only your emotions, but also of the people that are around you as well. However, some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it’s an inborn characteristic.
Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence
According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, who popularized and wrote extensively about the concept, there are five components of emotional intelligence:
#1 Self-Awareness: This is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, is a critical emotional intelligence skill. Beyond just recognizing your emotions, however, is being aware of the effect of your actions, moods, and emotions on other people.
#2 Self-Regulation: In addition to being aware of your own emotions and the impact you have on others, emotional intelligence requires you to be able to regulate and manage your emotions. This doesn’t mean putting emotions on lockdown and hiding your true feelings—it simply means waiting for the right time and place to express them. Self-regulation is all about expressing your emotions appropriately.
#3 Social Skills: Being able to interact well with others is another important aspect of emotional intelligence. Having strong social skills allows people to build meaningful relationships with other people and develop a stronger understanding of themselves and others.
How to improve social skills
- Ask open-ended questions
- Find icebreakers that will help start conversations
- Notice other people’s social skills
- Practice good eye contact
- Practice your social skills
- Practice active listening
- Show interest in others
- Watch your body language
#4 Empathy: Empathy, or the ability to understand how others are feeling, is absolutely critical to emotional intelligence. But it involves more than just being able to recognize the emotional states of others. Being empathetic also allows you to understand the power dynamics that often influence social relationships, especially in workplace settings. This is important for guiding your interactions with different people you encounter each day.
#5 Motivation: Intrinsic motivation is another important emotional intelligence skill. People who are emotionally intelligent are motivated by things beyond external rewards like fame, money, recognition, and acclaim. Instead, they have a passion to fulfill their own inner needs and goals. They seek internal rewards, experience flow from being totally in tune with an activity, and pursue peak experiences.
EQ VS IQ
While emotional intelligence mostly revolves around managing emotions, IQ is mostly based on logic and solving practical problems. Specifically, IQ usually refers to the intellectual ability, and some of the most common elements of IQ include the ability to:
- Use logic to solve problems
- Plan and strategize
- Understand abstract ideas
- Learn and adapt to change
- Grasp and use language
However, these two different types of intelligence do not mean that they contradict the other. One can be emotionally intelligent, while at the same time have a high IQ. In fact, the combination of EQ and IQ is very important to develop our character as a whole.
Historically, scores on IQ tests have been linked to better academic performance, higher salaries, and better job performance. Newer studies have raised questions about those conclusions, though.
On the other hand, Emotional intelligence has been linked to job success and more satisfying relationships. There is also evidence that emotional intelligence may help people handle stress better. A 2019 research review concluded that emotional intelligence can help people recover more quickly from acute stress.
Both kinds of intelligence can dramatically affect the quality of life and our accomplishments. Understanding and developing both kinds of intelligence may be anyone’s best bet for increasing the odds of success in all areas of life.
Emotional intelligence affects:
#1 Performance at work: High emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. When it comes to sorting important job candidates, many companies now rate emotional intelligence as important as technical ability and employ EQ testing before hiring.
#2 Physical health: The inability to manage your emotions can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, contributes to infertility, and speeds up the aging process.
#3 Mental health: Uncontrolled emotions and stress can also impact mental health, making people vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand, get comfortable with, or manage your emotions, you’ll also struggle to form strong relationships.
#4 Relationships: By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you are better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and create stronger relationships.
#5 Social intelligence: Social intelligence enables you to recognize friend from foe, measure another person’s interest in you, reduce stress, balance your nervous system through social communication, and feel loved and happy.