Do you lack emotional intelligence?

Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager

You know those people who always seem so confident, capable, and able to get along easily with everyone? Taking everything in their stride and keeping calm under pressure?

Those people most likely have high levels of emotional intelligence (EQ).

Employers are always on the lookout for workers with high emotional intelligence.

Individuals with high EQ are seen to possess calmness, clarity of mind and the skills to conduct more satisfying relationships – which are all very positive assets for an employee.

In fact, emotional intelligence is considered to be one of the most important factors in maintaining successful relationships, impacting on how we connect with the people we work, live, and socialise with.

But how do you know if you’re high in EQ? Or if you’re someone who is lacking emotional intelligence? After all, it’s not really something you can measure or test.

Read on to find out more about emotional intelligence, why it’s so important in the workplace, and what you can do to improve your own EQ.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to monitor your own and others’ feelings and emotions, and to use this information to guide your thinking and actions.

It’s made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Personal competence involves your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on yourself as an individual, rather than on your interactions with other people. It’s about your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your own behaviour and tendencies.

Social competence concerns your social awareness and relationship management skills – your ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviour and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships.

Overall, across these two core competencies, EQ plays a significant role in how an individual manages behaviour, navigates social complexities, and makes personal decisions to achieve positive results.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

As you can imagine, this has a huge impact on the quality and success of your interpersonal relationships – in the workplace, as well as in your personal life.

We’re seeing that employees with highly developed emotional intelligence are far more likely to be successful in their careers. In fact, studies have revealed that 90% of top performers have high EQs and emotionally intelligent employees can expect to earn more than individuals with lower levels of EQ.

In a recent study by TalentSmart, emotional intelligence was tested alongside 33 other important workplace skills, with the result that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Signs of Low Emotional Intelligence

At this point you’re probably wondering about your own level of emotional intelligence. And if it’s letting you down in your career.

Dr Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, is well-known for his work on emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results,” Bradberry explains.

According to Bradberry, these are some of the key behaviours that are the hallmarks of a low EQ.

  • You get stressed easily.
  • You have difficulty asserting yourself.
  • You have a limited emotional vocabulary.
  • You make assumptions quickly and defend them vehemently.
  • You hold grudges.
  • You don’t let go of mistakes.
  • You often feel misunderstood.
  • You don’t know your triggers.
  • You don’t get angry.
  • You blame other people for how they make you feel.
  • You’re easily offended.

Working to eradicate these patterns of behaviour will go a long way in improving your level of emotional intelligence and your interactions with the people around you.

Develop Your Own Emotional Intelligence

So: keen to start building up your own EQ?

Fortunately, your level of emotional intelligence can be developed and improved over time. As Bradberry puts it, “unlike your IQ, your EQ is highly malleable.

This means you can train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviours. Over time, your brain will build the pathways needed to turn these behaviours into habits, while replacing any old destructive behaviours.

You’ll soon start to feel more confident in your ability to recognise and manage emotions – both your own feelings and those of other people. And as you continue to strengthen your emotional intelligence, you’ll notice you can apply these newfound skills to the workplace, improving your working relationships and keeping your emotions in positive balance.

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