Most of us have heard of emotional IQ, but many of us have given this topic much thought. The traditional definition of IQ, or Intelligence quotient, is a score between 85 -130 based upon a standardized test that assesses how “smart” we are. Our educational system focuses on learning subjects like math, science and reading, and the definition of IQ mirrors the ability to identify the learning potential for these subjects. IQ has been associated with parental IQ, social status, morbidity, and mortality. However, IQ is not an accurate predictor of being successful throughout one’s life. During the past couple of decades, researchers have found that one’s emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings determines our success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships. A person with a high traditional IQ can have their career derailed due to emotional incompetencies.
This is where emotional IQ enters the equation. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) describes the ability, capacity, or skill to understand other people, oneself, and the ability to work cooperatively with others. It also includes a person’s ability to cope with pressures and demands and control his or her thoughts and actions. As individuals, success in our careers, business, and personal lives is dependent upon our ability to connect with other people. In business, people do not progress due to their intelligence and skills alone. In fact, this is often secondary to how someone interacts with other people and is able to maintain their composure under stress. Without having these abilities, success eludes those with a low EQ, and unfortunately, EQ is learned primarily from our families. Therefore, if you were not blessed with an understanding and loving home environment, these important life skills may never be learned despite having an abundance of the traditional intelligence quotient (IQ) factor.
Five major categories of emotional intelligence are recognized by researchers in this area.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize when one’s emotions are changing. Emotions change in response to other people or one’s own thoughts. When a person can recognize his or her own emotions and moods, they can also manage them. Self-regulation Everyone experiences negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, or depression. Those with high EQ can manage negative emotions through techniques such as positive self-talk, taking a long walk, or through meditation or prayer.
Motivating oneself requires clear goals and a positive attitude. A person has to believe that he or she can accomplish something is order to be motivated. Negative thoughts should be re-framed in more positive light to help a person to consistently keep working towards their goals.
The ability to recognize how others feel is important in all of relationships in life. If a person has a difficult time putting himself in others’ shoes, then that person cannot relate to someone else, and may not be able to communicate effectively with them.
The development of good social skills is important to success in life. In this modern age of computers and texting, it is more important than ever to be able to connect with people in person. “People skills” allows one to understand, empathize and negotiate with others in their local community as well as in the global economy. The most common reason why careers become derailed is due to emotional incompetencies. This includes the inability to handle interpersonal problems, poor leadership skills due to the inability to relate to others, and/or an inability to adapt to change or build trust with others. The higher the position within an organization or business, the greater that EQ matters due to the job focus shifting from technical or cognitive skills primarily to interacting with people.
What are the uses of emotional intelligence?
Many companies measure EQ to help determine an employee’s response to a certain situation. These tests often assume that EQ can be modified or increased, however, there is dispute on how much EQ can be changed. Someone who has a low EQ may lack self-confidence and have difficulty coping with challenges. This may affect work performance when they are given certain tasks. Someone with a high EQ may perform well under pressure, resolve conflict effectively, and will be able to better cope with challenges. The EQ factor is also linked to how well people communicate and socialize with each other. My personal opinion is that EQ can be increased, but only through self-assesment and continuous work on changing internal thoughts and dialog.