By: Emily Butenko
Emotional intelligence is the one part of the human psyche that we can develop and improve by learning and practice new skills. As individuals, our success and the success of the profession today depend on our ability to read other people’s signals and react appropriately to them.
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. EQ also allows you to recognize and understand what others are experiencing emotionally. For the most part, this is a nonverbal process that both informs your thinking and influences how well you connect with others.
For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his team when he’s under stress, or a leader who stays in control, and calmly assesses the situation?
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:
- Social skills.
It can change your relationships with everyone in your life, because people don’t speak with words all the time, in fact, most of the time, people aren’t that good with words. There’s a whole other way of communicating that we use, and sometimes, it’s a one-way-conversation and it’s really sad. Sometimes, someone you talk to, wants you to look past what comes out of their mouth and see THEM. And that’s something we should work on.
Improving your Emotional intelligence can literally look like becoming more attentive towards what’s happening around you – becoming more aware of your surroundings. One could start to just notice how people exchange looks and how they move, when they talk to each other, look from afar. And then try to apply the same approach to someone they are talking to at that moment, and not ignore the signals, the person is sending you. That would be a good start. Then, as you form any connection with people, you will start making progress in understanding their emotions and feelings more and more, which will in the end lead you to acquiring the ability to project people’s emotions onto yourself and form such understanding relationships with others, which will get you places and open doors for you through your whole life.