You are on an airplane that suddenly hits extremely bad turbulence and begins rocking from side to side. What do you do?
- Continue to read your book or magazine, or watch the movie, trying to pay little attention to the turbulence.
- Become vigilant for an emergency, carefully monitoring the cabin staff and reading the emergency instructions card.
- A little of both A and B.
- Not sure-you probably never noticed
How did you answer? Believe it or not, this simple question can help gauge what psychologist and HR professionals are calling Emotional Intelligence (EI) or the ability to manage emotions. Comparable to IQ which measures human intelligence, Emotional Intelligence – also known as EQ or Emotional Quotient – measures our emotional maturity.
In fact, in many professional circles, EQ is more highly prized than IQ for its importance in the realm of leadership and in life. Case in point, when companies were asked what separated ‘average’ performers from ‘star’ performers in the workplace, a whopping 85% of people surveyed attributed star performers to having Emotional Intelligence traits. (Source: Emotional intelligence: A Practical Guide, Dr. David Walton, 2012.)
So What are Emotional Intelligence Traits?
Google Emotional Intelligence and you’ll come up with 4.2M results! So let’s break it down to what experts agree are the 4 key components.
- Your self awareness
- How you manage your emotions
- How you manage your relationships
- Your ability to understand others and adjust accordingly
Let’s Dig Deeper Into Each Area
Your Self-awareness has everything to do with “knowing thyself.” This includes knowing your strengths, knowing your weaknesses, knowing what you value, knowing what motivates you, and most importantly, knowing your story. They’re not subject to constant comparison to measure their self-worth. Instead, individuals possessing high EQ know their story and truly know who they are – without letting others’ judgments cloud their story. Furthermore, they know exactly why they are who they are, what makes them tick, and own and accept it. High EQ people aren’t victims, period!
Managing your emotions is impossible without self-awareness. It might seem like a ‘no-brainer’ but for many, it’s not. You know who they are, people who are absolutely incapable of managing their emotions. In fact, it appears at times, that the emotions control them much more than them controlling their emotions! Why is ‘managing your emotions’ so critical? For one, whether perception is true or not, people who cannot seem to manage their emotions give off the perception that they are ‘out of control.’ The bottom line is that emotions ‘run amuck’ get in the way of clear thinking, clear listening, and clear communication.
How you manage your relationships simply means you can’t have any unhealthy relationships. Does that sound like a tall order? Maybe so, but I didn’t say you had to like everyone. You just need to be able to have enough discipline to work with anyone, regardless of how disparate your styles might be. You simply can’t allow personal feelings to ever get in the way of getting the work done. Just as important, managing working relationships means you know how to bring people together to work towards a common goal.
Your ability to understand others and adjust accordingly simply means being able to genuinely treat people how they want to be treated. Ultimately, that means with respect and valuing them the way they want to be valued. The bottom line is that true ‘followers’ don’t want to follow you because of your title. They follow you because you have earned their respect and trust by consistently valuing them in ways beyond a paycheck.
Ultimately, Emotional Intelligence is about having absolute awareness: awareness of who you are; awareness of your environment; awareness of others; awareness of the right, most practical thing to do; and then the discipline and courage to do what you need to do, when you need to do it. When you put all of those things together, is it any wonder why those who possess the above traits are ‘star performers?’ I think not.
Can I Grow My Emotional Intelligence?
You might be wondering. Can I grow my EQ? The short answer is, absolutely.
There’s just one catch. Emotional Intelligence is not a book-learned skill. It’s a skill that is developed through experience, application and, yes, repeated failure. You see, those with a high EQ aren’t afraid of failure. They’re doers that know that failure is simply another opportunity to gather more data to succeed. Yes, this is a mindset but it’s also a skill that needs to be learned and practiced
Your Call to Action: Grow your EQ!
If need be, seek help from a leadership coach but grow your EQ for both your professional and personal success. Who wouldn’t like to have healthier relationships, better manage their emotions and know themselves better?
Take An Emotional Intelligence Assessment
I’m reprinting the EI Assessment from Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide for your personal use. Click here to take the test to see where you stand. The answer key is also provided.
Feel free to contact me at Rubi@The RubiHoGroup.com if you’d like to discuss your results. Consider this an open invitation! Have fun!
Please share this post with friends and colleagues by clicking on the envelope icon below.