What exactly is “emotional intelligence” and what are the characteristics of someone who has a high EQ score? What actions can you take to improve your score?
First off, let’s talk about the difference between emotional intelligence and emotional quotient. Often you will see these terms used interchangeably.
Dan Goleman in his 1996 book, Emotional Intelligence, defined Emotional Intelligence (EI) “as a set of skills or competencies that provide someone the ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions and recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.”
Whereas from what I’m researching, Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the measurement of a person’s capacity to apply their emotional intelligence. For instance, just because someone knows something intellectually and knows how to do it, that doesn’t mean they are good at applying this knowledge or skill. So when you see either term (emotional intelligence or emotional quotient) there is a slight difference but for the most part you can use the terms interchangeably.
5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence
There are basically 5 elements to consider. The first three are more internal and have to do with someone’s emotional intelligence. The last two have more to do with how someone interacts with the external world which is an indicator of emotional quotient.
1.) Self Awareness
The quality of recognizing and understanding your emotions, what and why you feel as you do as well as appreciate how they affect those around you. It’s being able to interpret emotions, yours and those of others
2.) Self Regulation
The ability to respond appropriately to a given circumstance. You think before you act.
Intrinsic motives are what determine goals and actions. Personal growth is a high priority, more so than extrinsic rewards such as money, fame and recognition.
The ability to draw on your own life experiences in order that you imagine how another person might feel and you hold no judgment against them for their behavior.
5.) Social Skills
The ability to work well with others because you have good communication skills, such as active listening, body language, and good verbal usage.
Why is emotional intelligence important to understand? Because it is often a better indicator of success than IQ. Being aware of your own EQ could be helpful, especially when it comes to success in the working world as well as the success in your personal relationships.
Emotional Intelligence Characteristics
So what are the signs of someone who would have a high emotional quotient?
1.) They embrace change and are flexible and adapt easily to their surroundings.
2.) They are very self aware and do things that are good for their mental health. In particular they are aware of their thoughts and how their thoughts are affecting them and their behavior. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
3.) They are empathetic. They can easily put themselves in others’s shoes because they can identify what others are feeling.
4.) They pursue progress not perfectionist – they live by the motto life is a journey not a destination
5.) They live balanced lives. This means they have stable relationships, they are good with their money and make smart financial decisions and are reasonably healthy.
6.) They are curious and love to learn new things. They also are quick to let people know what they don’t know and aren’t embarrassed to show this vulnerability.
7.) They are grateful for what they have and show their appreciation often.
8.) They have an assertive and confident air about them without being self absorbed.
9.) They are receptive for feedback and they take criticism well. They take responsibility for their mistakes and easily let them go and move on.
In a nutshell, people with high EQ understand the importance of being aware of their emotions and of those around them. They are keenly aware that emotions determine behavior and how actions impact people whether positively or negatively. They know how to manage those emotions (their own and others) especially when they are under pressure.
Many people would say that emotional intelligence is essential in success because people do business with those they emotionally feel they can trust. Are you curious what your EQ is. Take this free test.
If your score reflected that you could use some improvement, here are six actions you can take to increase your emotional quotient and be better at applying it when I counts the most.
Actions to Improve Emotional Intelligence
1.) Write things down. Keep a journal of your feelings and frustrations and work them out on paper. In addition, write a daily gratitude list and keep it handy so you refer to it when you slip into a negative frame of mind.
2.) Meditate or do other techniques that help you calm down your nervous system and release negative emotional energy. For instance, you can tap (Emotional Freedom Techniques), do breathing exercises or vagus nerve stimulation exercises.
3.) Notice when you are having negative thoughts that are affecting your mood and consciously direct your thoughts in a more positive direction. In other words, just be more mindful of your thoughts
4.) Teach yourself how to take a moment and pause before you respond, especially in stressful situations. Train yourself to think before you speak.
5.) Become more aware of non-verbal communication, not only of others but of yourself as well. Make sure you make eye contact with others. Stand and sit with open postures. Use hand gestures appropriately.
6.) Try to notice if you are being too much of a perfectionist. Aim for progress not perfection, Make room for feedback and criticism and see them as opportunities to learn and grow.
Don’t forget to take this free quiz to find out how you rank on emotional intelligence. If you don’t score as high as you’d like, don’t be discouraged. Emotional intelligence is something you can improve if you follow the above suggestions. Your professional and personal life will reap the rewards from your effort.