How to use it for effectively for personal and professional goals?
Some people are good at working with others. These people get results. They probably have a high level of emotional intelligence.
I am sure many of you have heard the term emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ. Emotional intelligence is a powerful skill for any person in any workplace.
What is emotional intelligence?
Let’s start by looking at each word of Emotional Intelligence.
Emotions are feelings like sadness, happiness, and fear. Interpreting our emotions helps us learn about ourselves. For example, you know you do not like public speaking if you experience fear when you talk to a crowd.
Intelligence is our capacity to think and reason. It determines how well we identify problems and find solutions.
Put the two together and you describe the ability to identify, process, and react rationally to emotions, be they your own emotions or someone else’s.
The brain science behind emotional intelligence
Where do emotions come from?
Something external to you might trigger any of your five senses – eyes, ears, nose, taste, and touch. For example, you see a lion. Information about this sighting is sent to the Amygdala in your brain, triggering a fear response. More signals are shared with other parts of your brain where a reaction can happen.
If you have a strong EQ, the reaction is processed quickly and allows you to make a logical and rational response. The lion is in an enclosure. It won’t harm you, but don’t stand too close!
In the context of the workplace, a strong EQ allows you to take a step back and make logical, intelligent decisions about different situations. For example, if your computer freezes and you lose what you’re working on, you can calmly get help from the IT people and find out how to retrieve the most recent versions of your files.
Without a strong EQ, you might tend to react rather than respond – blaming others for the computer problems and fearing the worst, like losing your job because your work is lost forever.
Who do you think will get better results? Most likely, the person with a rational response.
How can emotional intelligence help you in your work or business?
No matter what you do, understanding the needs of your clients, customers, or colleagues is important. Your job is to help meet or manage those needs. Most of the time, these needs exist as emotions. The customer might be angry, the client might be impatient, your colleague might be anxious.
It’s easy to react to these emotions – like snapping back at the angry customer. But, with good EQ, you learn to respond rather than react. Instead of losing the customer and getting a bad review, you empathize with their anger and provide options to help them resolve the issue.
Can emotional intelligence be learned or improved?
Yes. EQ is a learned behaviour that can be developed through practice.
There are different exercises and tools we can work through and they are based on the four pillars of emotional intelligence:
- Self- awareness of your own emotions and impact on others
- Self-management of your own emotions
- Social awareness of other people’s feelings and needs
- Relationship management to solve conflict or inspire others
You might be strong in three of these areas but lagging in only one. Whatever your strengths are, we can identify the pillar or pillars that you can improve. By just working on one pillar, the whole dynamic of how you interact with other people changes.
Who benefits from emotional intelligence training?
I have helped high-end leaders, introverted employees, and neurologically diverse people, including people with autism, strengthen their EQ. Anyone who works with other people can benefit.
For executives and leaders, if your team can see that you listen to them and understand them, they will appreciate you, stay in your team and help your company grow and succeed.
For employees or people who suffer from social awkwardness, if you learn how to empathize with other people, you will find ways to work better with them. Together, you will be more productive, your skills will grow, and you will find success.
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