Emotional Intelligence, also known as EQ (Emotional Quotient), is the ability to understand and manage your feelings and emotions, as well as those of other people, and use the information obtained as a guide to interpersonal interactions. Simply put, EQ is being able to read people and act accordingly.
We hear a lot about the intelligence quotient, which is a measure of how brilliant you are, but not enough is said about emotional intelligence. In my opinion, EQ is more important than IQ because nobody ever got out of a tight situation with his boss simply by calculating the distance between the sun and the moon in km2. Being able to get to the point where you are able to anticipate a person’s reaction and knowing what to say or not to say in an instance will solve a lot of your social problems and get you into rooms you would ordinarily not be in.
Being emotionally intelligent helps you communicate better, build meaningful relationships, improves your network, reduce stress and anxiety significantly, resolve conflicts effectively, and overcome life’s challenges.
The psychologist, Daniel Goleman identified five elements that make up emotional intelligence. These elements are:
Self-Awareness- This is the act of knowing what mood you are in at every point in time. You can do this by practising mindfulness and also through conducting a personal SWOT analysis. Also, the feedback method works (i.e asking friends, colleagues, family members, etc to tell you what they think about you).
Self- regulation- be in control of your feelings and emotions, do not be caught off guard. Find out what puts you in a good state and stick to it- make it a technique. Manage your feelings and take responsibility for your actions. Doing all of this shields you from outside shocks that may arise suddenly.
Motivation- develop the self-discipline to see things through. Set goals (short and long-term) and focus on each one till they are completed. Focus on what truly matters, eliminating distractions. Rediscover your purpose and determine not to deviate from it.
Empathy- actively acknowledge the feelings of others. Always listen to understand, not to reply. Try not to make the situation about yourself when someone is being expressive about their emotions. You do not need to have all the answers, just be sympathetic.
Social Skills- Find out what you need to improve on and do just that. Learn to build rapport with people and don’t shy away from conflict or negative situations. Build your self-confidence to a level that you can talk to anyone.
Like most skills, EQ can be acquired using these five elements explained above. As stated, first step is self- awareness and you can determine your level of self-awareness through various ways. Here are links to some EQ tests to start your journey: Harvard Business Review, verywell mind, Psychology Tools
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