While Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, is commonly referenced as the key indicator of intelligence, another measure of intelligence has become more recognized as an important attribute: Emotional intelligence (EI).
Emotional intelligence is generally considered the ability to perceive and understand our emotions, as well as the emotions of others, and manage them in a productive and healthy way. While often not thought of as an important indicator of intelligence, there are 19 ways EI contributes to the bottom-line in any work organization, according to research conducted at Rutgers. Studies have shown that EI and a high emotional quotient (or EQ) help with career success, entrepreneurial potential, leadership talent, health, relationship satisfaction and happiness, according to the Harvard Business Review.
Or, as leadership expert Gordon Tredgold wrote, “We get promoted because of our IQ and we get fired because of our lack of EQ.”
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So how do you increase your EQ to help you be more successful at your work? The following are some tips to help do so.
Observe how you feel
With all the various demands of life and work filling our day, we can easily lose touch with our emotions and how we feel, which causes us to act unconsciously. When this happens, we miss out on messages our emotions may be sending us about a situations, person or event, says Psychology Today.
If you typically aren’t aware how you feel, practice checking in throughout the day and gauge your emotions. Pay attention to how the emotion manifests in your physical body and how it feels. A tight knot in your stomach while driving to work may be a clue that your job is a source of stress.
Pay Attention to How You Behave
When you are aware of your emotions, you can then more readily see how your emotions affect your behavior and the people around you. Watch how your emotions arise and how they form actions. The simple action of being aware of the emotional response you have can help you to disidentify with it and change or modify your behavior in the moment. It can also help you identify patterns of emotional behavior.
This can be one of the most difficult steps for people, but one of the most important in increasing EI. Once you become accountable for your emotions and actions, you learn that you are responsible for responses to people or situations. You have the power to react in anger, get upset, feel happy, regardless of a situation or person that triggers a response.
The old adage that before your judge someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes, points to the fact that we often don’t know what drives the actions of other people. So when a co-worker, boss, friend, telemarketer upsets you, try to examine the situation from that person’s perspective.
If the same emotional patterns arise within you (and they often do), be aware of the times these patterns occurred previously. If you keep a journal of your feelings, you create a record of them and more easily recognize patterns. This can help you understand if a current emotional feeling is reflective of a current situation, or of another time in the past, says Psychology Today.
If you’re not sure how emotionally intelligent you are, check out this quiz to get a sense of your current EI.