Emotional Intelligence (EQ) a concept first coined by Daniel Goleman, can be learnt and improved.
By contrast your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) does not generally change much over your life time.
IQ measures your ability to think, reason and remember. It is an attribute you have from birth. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is different. You can improve your EQ with the right life experience, training and coaching.
There are four parts to emotional intelligence.
- Know yourself.
This is your ability to notice and understand your own feelings.
You can learn to notice how you feel in response to people and situations in many different ways. Paying attention to your feelings in a non-judgemental way throughout the day is the simplest way to increasing your self-knowledge. This is one aspect of mindfulness, a practice that has become popular in business circles.
People who know what they are feeling focus on their work more. This reduces stress and increases their ability to notice and respond to themselves and others.
2. Manage your feelings
This second part of emotional intelligence is to know what to do when your emotions become uncomfortable. It is not usually appropriate to let everyone know your feelings as you experience them in the moment. A person with a high EQ can hold their feelings in check until they can express them in an appropriate way at the right time with the right people.
It is possible to learn the simple skills that help you take control of your feelings when you are worked up and emotional so that you do not say and do inappropriate things.
3. Social awareness
Social awareness is the skill that allows you to notice what other people are feeling. It is the ability to pick up on subtle emotional changes in others. You might not know exactly what the other person is feeling, but you do know that something has changed and that change requires you to say or do something different. This social awareness ability can be learned and developed.
4. Managing social situations.
Managing social situations follows on from social awareness. When you have this ability you are able to respond in an effective way when other people are upset or emotional. You first have to manage your own emotions and calm yourself down before speaking. Then you will respond rather than react. When you make a calm, thoughtful response and acknowledge the other person’s feelings without judgement, you are more likely to help them calm themselves down and deal with the issues that are upsetting them.
So, you can see that Emotional Intelligence is at the heart of managing conflict at work, dealing with difficult customers and holding challenging conversations.