Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
The belief that IQ is the determining factor in success is not only wildly outdated and inaccurate, but there are also other skills that you can develop that are far better for increasing your ability to succeed in the workplace.
For decades, there was a lot of weight poured into the concept of IQ or “Intelligence Quotient” and its ability to predict (to some degree) the potential for success of an individual. However, in recent years many have noticed something missing. Since intelligence does not always translate to success, there had to be more to this.
Daniel Coleman popularized the concept of Emotional Intelligence or “EQ” with his book “Emotional Intelligence” in 1995. The concept caught fire and has only gained steam since then, becoming an absolute staple in the business and leadership world. When it comes to skills that should be sharpened to ensure your success in both business and life, EQ is the horse you want to bet on.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Have you ever lost your temper? Said something you shouldn’t have? With a higher level of EQ, you might avoid those scenarios in the future.
This article by Helpguide.org defines Emotional Intelligence by these four features:
“1 - Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
2 - Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses and have self-confidence.
3 - Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
4 - Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.” (Quoted content from Helpguide.org)
Imagine if you had at your disposal a wealth of knowledge in these four areas. You would have a greatly increased ability to manage and control your emotions, be able to “read the room”, and understand how to better communicate based on any given situation.
How do I know where my EQ stands?
There are a ton of resources and online tests, but here is the test from Psychology Today. It should take about 15-30 minutes of your time. If you want to try a few different tests, there are a wealth of websites that offer their own.
A few helpful tips for taking these tests:
This is a time to be completely honest with yourself about how you are answering. If the answers are skewed in favor of your own self-image, you will not get your true results.
Some tests will require payment to see the full results (Psychology Today is about $10.00.)
These quizzes are not the end-all-be-all of tests. They can give you a good understanding of your EQ, but try not to treat them like pure gospel.
These quizzes are only as effective as your ability to take the feedback they provide and apply that feedback to improve your own EQ. Try not to let it get you down if your results are not where you want them to be.
How do I improve my EQ?
Improving your EQ starts with the desire to do so. Why do you want to improve it? What benefits would you like to see?
The next step is to find a resource that speaks to you. Whether you enjoy reading or prefer learning through other means, here are a few amazing resources for taking a deeper dive into improving your Emotional Intelligence. Just remember, although certain resources may not call EQ by name, anything that helps you improve your understanding of yourself, and your emotions will help you grow your awareness of it.
Travis Bradberry - Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (Modern and updated.)
Daniel Goleman Ph.D - Emotional Intelligence (Classic. This book started the movement.)
Harvard Business Review - Top 10 Must Reads - (Quick reads, multiple authors.)
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