By Bernard Marr
Even though the term emotional intelligence (EQ) was coined in the early 1990s, it has received a lot of attention in recent years because of the belief that a high EQ can impact your career in positive ways. Turns out people with just an average IQ were able to outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time, and the distinction resides in the former group’s higher EQ. Fortunately, unlike your IQ, you can improve your EQ, but first you need to understand what it is, how to test it and what you can do to boost it.
What is emotional intelligence (EQ) and why is it important?
When someone has a high EQ they are very adept at identifying their own emotions and managing them. Equally important, someone with high a EQ can read and respond well to the emotions of others. Having a high EQ is a driver for success.
Research shows that 90 percent of high performers have high emotional intelligence, therefore making EQ a critical factor that separates high performers from the rest.
Increasingly, candidates for open positions or those wanting to be considered for promotions are being evaluated and asked questions that test their emotional intelligence. Those with higher EQ are expected to be better managers, team players and colleagues. If you aim to be a leader in your department, company or field, emotional intelligence can be quite beneficial in helping you develop teams that are productive and happy with the work they are doing, and therefore stay in their positions longer.
Lacking emotional intelligence can also be detrimental to your career. If you have a reputation for being volatile, selfish or rigid, it might be difficult to follow the trajectory of growth in salary and responsibilities you desire. Therefore, knowing your EQ and then working on ways to improve it is a good practice for everybody.
How do you test your EQ?
1. Are you empathetic? An empathetic person really listens to the problems others bring to them without jumping in quickly with a solution. Having compassion and empathy helps those with a high EQ connect with other people.
2. Self-motivation is another defining characteristic for a person with high EQ. People with high EQs aren’t motivated just by title or money, and they continue to press onward even when faced with obstacles.
3. Do you have good impulse control? A person with a high EQ lets others finish their thoughts before jumping in with their comments or suggestions.
4. If you are really curious about other people, you likely have a higher emotional intelligence. You don’t have to be an extravert, but you do have to care about those individuals you work with.
5. How self-aware are you? Individuals with a high EQ recognize the physical manifestations of their emotions, pay attention to them and then take action to get to a better emotional place.
6. Not only do those with high EQ recognize their emotions, they can funnel those feelings into proper action—revealing them rather than squelching them, but expressing them with restraint and control.
7. Are you a good judge of character? When you are skilled at reading other people and understanding where they are coming from you become better at judging people over time.
8. Those with high EQs live in the moment, they don’t hold grudges and don’t let toxic people impact them.
How do you boost your EQ?
After checking yourself with the previous 8 simple ways to test your emotional intelligence, you have probably identified some opportunities for improvement. The good news is that your EQ can get better with practice and when you start being mindful of your emotions. You might consider the following to boost your emotional intelligence:
1. Ask others for their perspective and perceptions of situations so you can learn from them.
2. Be aware of your emotions in different situations and allow yourself time to reflect on them.
3. Pay attention to how you accept criticism from others. Focus on what you learn from the feedback.
4. Put yourself in other’s shoes and ponder the “why” of the situation—why does the person feel that way, why do you feel the same or different than they do?
This article was originally published on LinkedIn
About the Author
Bernard Marr writes on LinkedIn and at Forbes he regularly writes about management, technology and Big Data. If you would like to read his future posts then simply join his network here or click ‘Follow’. Also feel free to connect on Twitter, Facebook or Slideshare.
Also, you might like to know that his brand new book ‘Data Strategy: How to Profit from a World of Big Data, Analytics and the Internet of Things‘ is out now.