In recent years, the importance of IQ has taken something of a downturn. With the rise of cutting-edge research by Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence has come to the fore. Emotional intelligence is also referred to as EQ, or EIQ, which stand for emotional quotient and emotional intelligence quotient, respectively.
In brief, emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to observe the emotions of themselves and others. If you are able to tell different emotions apart, that is a sign of a decent EQ. If you have a broad emotional vocabulary, you probably have a good EQ. If you can use your emotions as information, and harness that information to direct your thoughts and behaviour (rather than responding reactively to all of your emotions), then you likely have a very good EQ.
Emotional intelligence represents the crossroads between intellectual and intuitive ability. It’s the point at which empathy meats cognition and is reflective of an individual’s capacity to navigate the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. Read on to discover why it’s so highly valued in modern workplaces, and how to improve your EQ.
Emotional Intelligence Matters More Than Ever
Imagine you were looking to hire someone, and you had to choose between two candidates. One is highly educated, but they lack all social graces. The other’s education is passable – sufficient, let’s say – but they have a remarkably high EQ. Which do you think you would end up hiring? Most managers would say the latter. Someone who is better able to regulate their own behaviour, pilot themselves through difficult social situations, and make positive decisions is far more likely to succeed in practically any workplace than a person with specialised knowledge and limited emotional range. Emotional intelligence makes people better collaborators, better listeners, and better company. People with emotional intelligence can make your company better, too.
Want To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence? Here’s How…
To paraphrase Aristotle, one acquires virtue by practising virtuous activities. By the same token, you can develop emotional intelligence by engaging with the skills that emotional intelligence supports. Fair warning – you may find these things tricky at first, but that’s just a signal that you need to work at them! Practice makes perfect, and over time you will find yourself with more and more emotional intelligence tools in your arsenal.
This is the core habit on which emotional intelligence is built. The Greeks knew it, the Buddhists know it, every personal development guru in the history of the world knows it: know thyself. If you can’t observe and understand your own thoughts and feelings, you can’t expect to handle anyone else’s. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to practice this. Five or ten minutes a day is a perfect place to start, and there are hundreds of apps and resources out there that can support you on your journey.
Mortimer J. Adler said “True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.” Choosing to limit the trivialities and distractions in your life will develop your mental discipline, and allow you to focus on what’s important. Pick one thing that you spend too much time doing, and focus on limiting it as much as possible. You don’t need to erase it altogether – just try to get 1% better each day. Not only does this build your self-regulation muscle, but it supports your self-awareness habit as well. Don’t be disheartened if you fail. Your ability to get back on the horse is what will develop resilience, another key part of EQ.
Practice attending to others’ needs.
Having developed a strong foundation of self-awareness, self-regulation, and resilience, you can begin to turn your attention outward. Learn to mirror, empathise, and validate the emotions that people express to you. This is known as ‘the Imago technique’, and it involves paraphrasing what your interlocutor has said, indicating your understanding of the way that they feel, and assuring them that those feelings are understandable given the circumstances. Giving people the space to express their emotions will increase your ability to handle theirs, as well as your own. Everyone wins!
Want To Learn More About Emotional Intelligence?
The above tips are a good starting point for anyone who wants to improve their EQ. If you’re interested in discovering more in-depth strategies for developing your emotional intelligence, consider taking an Emotional Intelligence Course with Pathways Australia. With expert facilitators on hand in all of Australia’s major capital cities, our course will help you uncover insight into your own EQ strengths and weaknesses, scientifically-backed guidelines on developing your EQ, improved capacity for management and leadership, and more happiness and confidence in every area of your life. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more details!