Emotional intelligence in business

Way back in the 1980’s, after reading an article published by John Mayer and Peter Salovey, Dr. Daniel Goleman became fascinated with Emotional Intelligence (EQ).  In his 1995 best seller Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Goleman turned the widely held view that IQ is the most important factor in attaining success upside down. More than thirty years later, ongoing research continues to validate emotional intelligence as the X-factor for workplace super-stars.

Studies continue to conclude individuals with average IQs, but high EQs, out perform those with the highest IQs, but average or low EQ.  So, if you intend to be a top-performer in your field, and I assume you do, now might be a good time to begin to assess your own level of emotional intelligence.

Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, published an article last week wherein he distilled a million-plus TalentSmart assessments into eighteen behaviors he believes to be the “hallmarks of high EQ.” I adapted his list into an impactful five, which I believe is a great place for you to begin to gage your own EQ.

Five key traits of highly emotionally intelligent people:

  1. You understand your emotions. Everyone has emotions, but comparatively few can accurately identify what they are feeling. The more specifically one can identify what he is feeling, the more likely he is to understand why he is feeling that way and, importantly, what he should do next.  Having a good grasp on one’s own emotions also helps in interpreting and understanding the emotions of others (a/k/a empathy – more on that in #2). Example: “I’m angry”, which is often the label and what is displayed, when the real emotion behind “anger” is embarrassment.
  2. People intrigue you. Regardless of their individual personality traits, highly emotionally intelligent humans are genuinely curious about the people around them. Empathy is the foundation for this curiosity, which is considered the gateway to high EQ.  When one cares about others, she is naturally more curious about them.
  3. You embrace change. The ability to adapt to, investigate, and even initiate change is prevalent in highly emotionally intelligent individuals. This trait enables them to plan productively, as well as turn plans into action when change is needed or inevitable.
  4. You know your strengths and weaknesses. Individuals with high EQ know which personalities and situations push their buttons, and which bring out the best in them. They lean hard on their strengths, and keep weaknesses from holding them back. They often surround themselves with people whose strengths are their weaknesses, creating synergy and optimal results.
  5. Mistakes don’t haunt you. Highly emotionally intelligent people learn from their mistakes, and then let them go. This makes them resilient problem solvers, rather than anxious or timid followers in the face of “issues”.

So, how do you rate in these five key traits of emotionally intelligent individuals?  The great news is, regardless of how you rank yourself right now, emotional intelligence can be learned and continually improved upon.  As Daniel Goleman noted in his research years ago, IQ – your ability to learn – is static, but EQ can be cultivated and increased.  You are the only thing standing between you and your X-Factor!

Contact us today for more information on increasing your individual, and organizational, EQ.

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