Are You Emotionally Intelligent? Here’s How To Tell – Part I
You’ve probably heard the term “emotional intelligence.” It’s come into vogue in recent years, with numerous books being written about the subject. Businesses are increasingly focusing on emotional intelligence and researchers are increasingly learning its importance.
But what exactly is emotional intelligence? How can you determine if you have those characteristics? And why is it so important?
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
The term “emotional intelligence” (EI or EQ) was coined by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer. Author, psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman made the term mainstream in his book “Emotional Intelligence“.
Typically, EQ includes two related, but distinct items:
- The ability to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions
- The ability to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others
Those who have a high EQ are highly in tune with both their own emotions and the emotions of those around them. They can recognize and understand the various feelings that sweep through them and are able to appropriately manage them.
Those with a low EQ find themselves unable to understand why they feel a certain way and unable to process the emotions they’re feeling.
David Caruso, American actor and producer, distinguished between EQ and IQ this way:
It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head—it is the unique intersection of both.
Emotional intelligence is hugely important in terms of success. Those who want to excel in life and work need a high EQ. If you can’t understand yourself or others, you simply won’t be able to improve in specific, important areas.
Discussing the interplay between IQ and EQ, professors Michael Akers and Grover Porter write:
How well you do in your life and career is determined by both. IQ alone is not enough; EQ also matters. In fact, psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else—including EQ.
The 5 Characteristics Of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is characterized by the following 5 distinct characteristics.
#1 – Self Awareness
Those with high EQ are able to recognize emotions in the moment. One of the keys to developing EQ is being aware of feelings, evaluating those feelings and then managing them. Rather than letting emotions take over, you are able to take a step back and understand what is happening.
#2 – Self Regulation
Everyone knows that emotions come quickly and with force. It’s rare that you have control over when we are hit by an emotional wave. Even the slightest thing can trigger something deep within you.
However, if you have a high EQ, you can control how long that negative experience lasts. This can be done through using various techniques (breathing, taking a walk, thinking positively, etc.) to minimize or effectively address negative emotions that may be plaguing you.
#3 – Motivation
It’s very difficult to be motivated if you always have a negative attitude. Those who are full of negativity don’t often achieve their goals. Those with a high EQ are able to move toward a consistently positive attitude by thinking more positively and being aware of negative thoughts. Reframing these negative thoughts allows you to be positive and thus move toward your goals.
#4 – Empathy
Empathy is the ability to recognize how others are feeling. This is essential for functioning well in society and excelling in your career. A person without empathy will end up regularly insulting and offending people, while a person with a high EQ will be able to understand what a person is feeling and then treat them accordingly.
#5 – Social Skills
The final characteristic of EQ is having and developing excellent interpersonal skills. It used to be that access to the greatest amount of information would allow you to succeed, but now that everyone has immediate access to knowledge, people skills are more important than ever. Those with a high EQ are able to wisely and skillfully navigate the various relationships that fill their lives.
In our second part of the article, we will look to explain how you can tell whether you have high emotional intelligence levels and if you meet all of the required markers to achieve this.