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What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is having an awareness of one’s own emotions and the ability to effectively control and express those emotions while navigating interpersonal relationships. It is also the capacity to recognize and respect others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is also known as emotional quotient (EQ) or emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ). Whereas a high IQ has more to do with comprehension and memory, a high EQ is associated with self-awareness, empathy, and other social skills.
4 Traits of Emotional Intelligence
There are four components to emotional intelligence:
- Self-awareness: This involves the ability to recognize your own emotions and know how to express them to effectively interact with others.
- Self-management: Managing emotions and not acting impulsively is an element of emotional intelligence. This enables people to be adaptable without getting rattled.
- Social awareness: The ability to recognize other peoples’ emotions through what they say as well as their nonverbal cues, like facial expressions and body language.
- Relationship management: The ability to achieve and maintain healthy relationships through good communication skills, empathy, and collaborative capabilities.
5 Reasons Emotional Intelligence Is Important
Building emotional intelligence is an essential piece of personal development that dictates how you engage with other people. Emotional intelligence is essential to strengthening your interpersonal skills and is a toolbox people use to conduct business, negotiate difficult situations, and interact with friends, family, colleagues, and strangers on a daily basis. Here are some reasons why this is an important skill to develop:
- Emotional intelligence helps you develop a good sense of self. People who are high in emotional intelligence exude self-confidence. They are in touch with and trust their emotions and are able to communicate their feelings to others.
- Social intelligence helps develop healthy relationships. People with high emotional intelligence have exceptional social skills and are able to build and maintain healthy relationships with others. They are able to express their point of view while taking the other person’s feelings into consideration as well.
- Employers look for emotionally intelligent people. High emotional intelligence is often associated with better decision-making and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work independently and with coworkers. As a result, emotional intelligence is a quality employers look for when hiring. Some companies have prospective employees take an emotional intelligence test to gauge future job performance.
- Emotional intelligence is a leadership trait. A high EQ is a quality that effective leaders possess. It allows you to effectively communicate with your team—both when it comes to sharing your thoughts and ideas as well as when you’re listening.
- Emotional intelligence leads to a well-balanced life. People who demonstrate a lack of emotional intelligence often speak before thinking and act impulsively. Emotional intelligence helps people navigate stressful situations without getting overwhelmed by strong emotions. The ability to control emotions supports mental health and wellbeing.
6 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence
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Developing emotional intelligence is a skill to master whether you want to improve your personal relationships or be a more effective colleague or leader. Here is how you can improve emotional intelligence in your everyday life:
- Do a self-assessment. To change your life and improve your emotional intelligence, the first step is to do some self-reflecting and assess how you normally handle situations. What gives you anxiety? What are your trigger points? What events in your life may be dictating how you behave today? Recognize your emotional strengths and weaknesses.
- Recognize and acknowledge the emotions of others. A big piece of emotional intelligence is emotional awareness—recognizing the feelings of others and taking them into consideration in your interactions with them. Develop empathy for others. Ask questions that show you care about the way people feel. Help others in need.
- Take responsibility for your actions. If you make a mistake or handle a situation poorly, own up to it. Be responsible for your behavior, learn from your mistakes, and adjust your reactions.
- Exhibit self-control. We all experience different emotional states. Learn to control your reactions while engaging with others. If a situation becomes heated, don’t get overwhelmed. Take deep breaths and wait before you begin to speak. Your initial reactions might flood you with negative emotions and put you in a bad mood. But let those feelings pass. If you tend to speak before you think things through, incorporate meditation into your daily routine to help you develop breath and emotional control. Highly emotional reactions will disrupt any progress you’ve made in a discussion or negotiation.
- Be assertive. Emotionally intelligent people are in tune with how they feel. Learn how to convey your needs, wants, and feelings to others confidently to let people know where you stand.
- Learn to listen. Communication is a two-way street. To really hone your emotional intelligence skills, you need to learn to listen to what others have to say. Make eye contact when engaged in discussion with someone else. This can lead to successful collaboration in the workplace and develop healthy relationships throughout your life.
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