May 21, 2024

What Emotional Intelligence Is and How to Develop It

EQ or emotional intelligence is often understood as understanding other people’s emotions, empathy and the ability to connect. But beyond that, emotional intelligence is a set of qualities that determine mental and professional well-being. Why do employees with high EQ earn more, what prevents the growth of emotional intelligence and what is its ideal level?

What Is Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a set of 15 qualities. Each of them is inherent in any person, but they are developed differently in everyone.

The set of 15 EQ qualities gives a person an understanding of how he or she and others feel, what they want and how to communicate with them in order to achieve results.

EQ allows you not only to record the fact that your colleague John is sad but also to find the best solution on how to interact with your colleague to achieve the desired result: “John and I need to make a presentation by tomorrow. But he is sad and hasn’t done anything for an hour. And yesterday he mentioned that he was tired and wanted to just play at an online casino. What can we do here? First, find out from John if he’s okay and if he needs help. Second, tell him that I want to go on vacation too. Thirdly, gently remind him that now we both need to get together and finish the project.”

Why Develop Emotional Intelligence

To accomplish work tasks more efficiently. As emotional intelligence increases, it becomes easier to decide to do things that used to be feared or disliked.
To negotiate with people more easily. If you understand the motivation and moods of others, it’s easier to negotiate and “sell” a job, project, company, or idea.
To grow in your career. Management positions require the ability to build team relationships, give feedback, build relationships and find a way out of conflict. These skills distinguish a top manager from a performer.
For mental comfort. A high EQ involves tracking your emotions and managing them. This will help notice stress and react to it in time.

How to Assess Emotional Intelligence

For an accurate assessment of EQ, the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) test is used. This is a full-fledged study of emotional intelligence, which includes 153 questions and allows you to analyze all 15 qualities of EQ.

Besides this test, you can find many other paid and free ones on the Internet. But the problem is that their results are no more useful than horoscopes. Answers from the category “Sometimes you are too emotional” or “Sometimes you don’t understand other people’s emotions” can be attributed to any person. They only create the illusion of new knowledge about oneself. But in reality, the person will spend time taking the test, but won’t get a result from which he or she can benefit.

A more useful and accessible option is to assess EQ in terms of work tasks. To do this, answer the questions:

What tasks do I do?
How do I feel when I do them?
Are there any problems in performing them?
What EQ components am I missing that would make it easier?

If some tasks cause discomfort, look for what quality of EQ is lacking. If you feel fine, the job doesn’t require an increase in efficiency and there is no desire to change career position, then EQ is sufficient.

You are already fine. EQ isn’t a metric to be grown. EQ is the result of researching yourself. Knowing it makes it easier to find the right job, to showcase your talents and, if necessary, to develop the right qualities in yourself.

What an Ideal EQ Looks Like

It seems that it’s perfect when all 15 components of emotional intelligence are developed to the maximum. But it isn’t.

Different positions and professions require their own set of EQ qualities. Thus, “empathy” and “perception of emotions” at the maximum level will be useful to an HR person. They will be able to accurately determine the mood of each employee and notice problems in the team in advance. But for a top manager, the same qualities can even be harmful if they are overdeveloped. For example, an overly empathic manager may sacrifice business goals for the comfort of their subordinates.

Therefore, the perfect EQ is the one that allows you to cope well with work tasks at your current position and gradually build up the necessary qualities for the desired position.

How to Pump up EQ

Figure Out Your Weaknesses

Think about problems like a researcher looking for answers to only two questions: “What went wrong here?” and “What can I do to prevent this from happening again?”.

Why it’s hard: When you think back, you risk slipping into self-blaming or blaming others. To prevent this from happening, you have to keep your emotions in check and consider only the facts of what happened.

It will also seem that now there is no time to dig into the past and analysis is better to postpone indefinitely. This is a trap — this is how the psyche avoids heavy emotions from memories. It’s necessary to agree with yourself not to postpone the analysis of mistakes: the sooner the reasons are found, the more likely it is to avoid a recurrence of the problem in the future.

Analyze Feedback

Extract feedback from everything that happens between you and those around you. Ask for feedback on dailies, standups, reviews, study comments on tasks and projects, reactions to work conflicts.

Why it’s hard: When you receive unpleasant feedback, you want to answer: “Yes, I lacked this EQ quality now. But its lack helps me in…” But it’s still important not to argue, but to record what was lacking in this particular case. If this happens again, it’s a signal that it’s time to develop emotional intelligence.

Find an Inspiring Example

Listen to yourself — what kind of person you want to be like and why you want to be like that person. Figure out what EQ qualities you want to learn from them.

It can be a character from a book or movie, a speaker at a conference, a YouTube expert, or a department director you sometimes see at meetings. The main thing is that the person inspires by example.

Why it’s hard: Some people think it’s shameful to copy someone. But in reality, following an example is a reliable way to learn and develop an unfamiliar quality in yourself.

Find a Mentor

Choose someone who is good at the right EQ qualities and ask them for mentorship. It’s best if the mentor is a colleague or an expert in your professional field, so it’s easier to share experiences and understand each other.

Why it’s hard: There are two reasons. The first is that the mentorship will probably be turned down. But if you make an offer to not one, but twenty-one people, the chance of finding a mentor increases dramatically. You can approach a request for mentoring not directly, but progressively: get to know each other, share your impressions of publications or speeches, and ask for advice. This will make it easier for the mentor to assess you as a mentee.

Second, the mentee’s progress should be continuous so thatthere is something to show the mentor. You cannot take advantage of other people’s time and advice and not try to fulfill it. This may feel like a bit of pressure, but it keeps a person from being deflated in the process of growth.

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