“Which is more important — IQ or EQ?”
“Do I have high emotional intelligence?”
“Is it possible to improve emotional intelligence?”
If you’re not sure what emotional intelligence is, these questions may be swirling in your head. Don’t worry, we’re here to set you straight.
Read on to learn more about emotional intelligence and how you can improve yours!
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express your emotions and those of others. It was made popular by Dr Daniel Goleman through his publication, Emotional Intelligence, Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
While IQ (intelligence quotient, a measure of a person’s intelligence) makes you a knowledgeable person, EQ (a measure of emotional intelligence) is what makes you a complete person. The better you handle your emotions and understand other people, the higher your EQ.
Emotional intelligence is made up of 4 fundamental components:
- Self-awareness: Recognising your emotions and their impact on your thoughts and behaviour
- Self-regulation: Handling your emotions and actions in a healthy manner
- Social awareness: Empathising with other people’s needs, taking interest in their concerns and picking up on emotional cues
- Relationship management: Developing and maintaining good relationships with others
Is emotional intelligence important?
Often, IQ is perceived as a determinant of success. A person with a high IQ is frequently predicted to achieve great milestones, be it in work, life or health. But that’s not necessarily true.
In a study conducted by Talent Smart, 90% of top performers at the workplace show high levels of EQ. Moreover, according to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence will be in higher demand compared to technical skills by 2020. This goes to show that emotional intelligence is crucial for a successful career.
Not only that, emotional intelligence is important for your success in life too.
Studies have shown that your level of emotional intelligence can influence your coping strategies when faced with stress. Those with high emotional intelligence tend to use positive coping styles, such as taking steps to eliminate the problem and seeking advice from others. Since stress is inevitable and can impact both physical and mental health, you can see why emotional intelligence is necessary for your own personal development too.
Can you improve your emotional intelligence?
If you’re shaking in your boots feeling like your emotional intelligence isn’t up to mark, the good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned and improved over time.
Here are some useful tips to boost your emotional intelligence.
(a) Be aware of your emotions
With all the stress that comes with college, it can be easy to lash out in anger or spiral into depression. When it gets too overwhelming, sit back and take a deep breath. Label the emotion you’re experiencing and observe how it’s affecting you physically (e.g. tightness in your chest). The more you observe your emotions, the more connected you are with what you’re feeling, which can help you manage things better over time.
(b) Think before you act
We all have that one group member who’s always slacking — or worse, a freeloader. Before you unleash your fury upon them, avoid responding impulsively and choose to approach the situation in a respectful manner. Remove yourself physically if you need to calm down. Mastering this skill of self-regulating your emotions can help you bounce back from adversities and stay calm under pressure.
(c) Put yourself in others’ shoes
Empathy is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence, so start paying attention to how people are reacting and be conscious of non-verbal cues. When dealing with unreasonable people, try putting yourself in the person’s place and view the situation from their perspective. They may have a completely different understanding of the matter. This can help you be more considerate and come up with better ways to solve the problem.
(d) Motivate yourself
To become someone with high emotional intelligence, you must constantly improve yourself in any given situation. Even when things don’t turn out the way you expect, embrace it and challenge yourself to be better instead of letting out your frustrations and giving up. Maintain a positive mindset and view setbacks as learning opportunities.
While some of us find mastering emotional intelligence a tough lesson in life, it is without a doubt one of the key skills that will pay off throughout your lifetime. So, keep practising as it will help you accomplish great things at work and in life.