When it comes to leadership, or building deep, meaningful relationships, few traits (maybe none, actually) are more important than emotional intelligence. Also sometimes called EQ, or EI, emotional intelligence is what allows us to recognize and differentiate and deal with our feelings, as well as recognize those same feelings in others. EQ is what helps us guide our feelings into responsible actions.
It’s also what allows us to empathize and bond with others in need.
For instance, let’s say a colleague shows up a bit late for a meeting, looking frazzled, having just spent a few hours stuck in traffic. Perhaps they’re sweaty, messy, disheveled.
What might your response be to that situation? Would you:
1) Ask them how they are, if you can get them something to drink, and delay the meeting a few minutes to give them a chance to settle in? Or would you
2) Berate them for their lateness, rush straight into the meeting, perhaps making a wisecrack about how they finally decided to show?
The emotionally intelligent response, as you likely well know, is the former…yet we’ve all worked with plenty of people who jump straight into the latter.
It doesn’t seem like it should be hard for those of us who get it, but emotional intelligence is extremely difficult for most people. Instead of thinking of others, they think of themselves only (I’m looking at you, Mr Two Parking Spots Instead Of One, and you, Ms. Make Your Friend’s Birthday Party All About How Good You Look In That New Dress) and flounder in their self-absorption.
There’s no clear explanation for who gets EQ. Some of us are just better at tuning into the world around us. Fortunately, it’s also a skill you can learn—with practice, of course.
In particular, consider these five attributes of individuals with high EQ:
1) Self-awareness means recognizing your emotions, knowing why they’ve arisen, and dealing with them appropriately.
2)Mood management means controlling your feelings to ensure you react appropriately in any given situation.
3.Empathy means recognizing when others around you are in various situations, reacting to their emotional state, and being there for them
4.Relationship management means being in control of how you feel and act in relationships, including interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, and even mediating others conflict or negotiating
5.Self-motivation means using your emotions to help yourself toward a self-directed goal, despite any doubts, inertia, or even impulsiveness that may otherwise get in your way
While, as we noted previously, emotional intelligence can be practiced, there’s no real reason as to why some people pick it up even as so many others completely lack it.
It’s important, though, that if you have EQ, you use it. EQ is what builds great leaders, true team players, and fantastic humans.
As former New York Times writer and current psychologist Daniel Goleman notes in his leadership research, emotional intelligence is a key factor in success. As he notes, everyone can benefit from learning a little more emotional intelligence.
“Today companies worldwide routinely look through the lens of EI in hiring, promoting, and developing their employees. For instance, Johnson and Johnson found that in divisions around the world, those identified at mid career as having high leadership potential were far stronger in EI competencies than were their less-promising peers.”
In other words? If you’ve got EQ, make the most of it!
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.