What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ) you may ask, and what does it have to do with my professional life?
Emotional Intelligence is your ability to recognize your own emotions and those of other people, and how well you can process that information and use it to navigate the social environment you’re in.
Your EQ is based on four components:
Self-awareness – Your ability to recognize which emotions are influencing you at any given time and how they’re affecting your thoughts and behaviors. How well you understand your strengths and weaknesses and how confident you are in yourself.
Self-management – Your skill at managing your impulses. How well you manage your emotions in healthy ways, whether or not you get flummoxed by change, how well you’re able to follow through on commitments. Your emotional flexibility.
Social awareness – Your ability to understand the emotions and needs of others, to pick up on emotional cues in group dynamics, to understand what’s really going on beneath the surface.
Relationship management – How well you can communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, manage conflict and work well in a team.
The reason your EQ impacts your professional life is, according to a test conducted by Talent Smart, people with high EQ make $29,000 more annually than their low EQ counterparts. 58% of your job performance is based on your EQ, and 90% of top performers have high EQ.
In the past we were always taught that a high IQ – Intelligence Quotient was what was going to get us ahead in the world, but it turns out your EQ can be an even better indicator of your potential success than your IQ. And the good news is that unlike IQ, which pretty much stays the same your whole professional life, your EQ is something you can develop.
Just because you’ve flown off the handle with little provocation in the past or didn’t take how others felt into account, doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. There are things you can do to help you increase your Emotional Intelligence. Here are six from Psychology Today
Reduce negative emotions
No one is immune to negative emotions. The key is not to let them overwhelm you or let them influence your decisions. Two of the biggest contributors to negative emotions are taking things personally and the fear of rejection.
When someone doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do or they’re rude or unhelpful, our first impulse is to take it personally. What we need to remember is, what people do and say often has a lot more to do with them than us. Maybe that person didn’t return your email right away because they got busy with something else. Before jumping to conclusions, dig a little deeper.
If you’re afraid of getting rejected, then get rejected until it doesn’t bother you anymore. Go ahead and put yourself into the face of NOs. After a while you’ll build up a tolerance to them.
Also instead of focusing all your energy on a single outcome, give yourself lots of options so if one thing doesn’t work out, you have other avenues to turn to.
Find ways to diffuse your stress
There’s going to be stress. Much as we’d like to, we can’t always sidestep it, but instead of flipping out there are a couple of things you can do to cool yourself back down – for example a splash of water on the face can help, or some fresh air. A walk outside, or a quick run. A few minutes of movement and change of scenery might be all you need to deal with the situation with a cooler head.
Learn how to express your emotions with words
We are pretty good at reminding our kids to “use your words” but as adults we will often keep our emotions bottled up inside which
A. Will often lead to illness and
B. Does nothing to change the situation with the person or situation that’s got us bottled up.
Instead of lashing out with “you are…” or “you have to…” learn how to reframe what you say from the “I” perspective. “I feel frustrated when I have to send several emails to you before I get a response.”
Recognize when you’re getting pulled into other people’s dramas
When someone is in a bad mood or starts yelling or speaking rudely our first impulse is to give it right back – like a mirror. Once again it’s important to remember that’s their baggage and you’ve got no business carrying it.
Learn the art of getting back up after you fall
When life knocks you down you’ll sometimes want to just stay down. Instead of dwelling on the fact that you’re down, ask yourself why? Did I fall because of something I did? What part of what I did wasn’t successful? How can I change that? Instead of thinking of knock-downs as failures think of them as learning experiences.
Foster close personal relationships
When we meet up with someone, we ask them how they’re doing as a matter of course, but do we really care about the answer? Become attentive to other people, to their words, their body language, your body language. The closer your attention to your relationships, the more in-tune you will become to them. The more you learn to genuinely care about others the higher your EQ will become.