Can emotional intelligence be a trained skill or is it a trait a person is born with? Do you work with colleagues who don’t seem to be aware of their surroundings or how their actions affect others in their vicinity?
A lack of emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ) within a team can create a ripe environment for low productivity, a lack of cohesiveness or outright hostility.
In The EQ Edge, Drs. Steven J. Stein and Howard E. Book reference how Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, demonstrates how the “so-called soft skills which do so much to determine our success were rescued from the fringe and seriously considered by mainstream educators, business people and the media.”
Emotional intelligence is “the ability to tune into the world, to read situations and connect with others while taking charge of your own life.”
Drs. Stein and Book discuss the Self-Perception Realm, a model originally developed by Reuven Bar-On. They present the building blocks of EQ as:
Self-Perception – Emotional Self-Awareness, Self-Regard, Self-Actualization
Self-Expression – Emotional Expression, Independence, Assertiveness
Interpersonal – Interpersonal Relationships, Empathy, Social Responsibility
Decision Making – Impulse Control, Reality Testing, Problem Solving
Stress Management – Flexibility, Stress Tolerance, Optimism
The model demonstrates how these characteristics fit together to contribute to your emotional and social functioning. The authors detail each section in a relatable fashion through research and common scenarios we tend to encounter.
Within the workplace, individuals with high EQ tend to be high performers. They are able to work within a team, adjust to change and be flexible. That being said, it does take practice and it’s important to treat EQ the same as any skill by continually developing it.
The workplace changes with every generation and emotional intelligence helps navigate, deal with, and excel through these changes. Stress is one the strongest negative impacts to emotional intelligence. We’ve all had those days when a stressful situation has gotten the best of us.
Here are a few ways to give yourself an EQ self-check:
Check your Self-Awareness
How do your emotions affect your day? Do they contribute to your day or challenge you? Take responsibility for your emotions. Try not to let them control you or your composure.
Try to be aware of how your colleagues are feeling. Be empathetic – you may not have the same experiences but you may have the same emotions.
Have the courage to be wrong and admit to it. Own it and learn from it.
Be an Active Listener
Active listening is a skill. Be present while listening, rather than tuning out while thinking of your own story or preparing what you are going to say in response. Don’t interrupt or take over with your own story.
Take Time for Yourself
Give yourself a break – literally. When stress runs high, it’s easy to lose control and let your emotions get the best of you. Take time to breath, reflect or meditate. Self-care is important for your emotional well-being.
At the end of the day, we do the best we can, however we can take an active approach to being our best self…sometimes it just takes a bit of practice.
How would you rate your EQ? Check out The EQ Edge – in addition to a great read, you will find a number of self-assessments, self-assignments and exercises to continue increasing your emotional quotient.