Understanding Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

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We are all familiar with general intelligence (IQ). How many of us know anything about Emotional intelligence (EQ)? Emotional intelligence is the capacity to identify, apply, empathize and manage emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, understand others, fight challenges, relieve stress and resolve conflict in an intelligent manner.

Daniel Jay Goleman an eminent author, psychologist, and science journalist wrote a book on Emotional Intelligence in 1995 which turned out to be internationally best-selling book. Ever since then it has become a buzz word in the fields of psychology and sociology. Soft skill modules and trainers are reiterating on the importance of emotional intelligence in work place and in social settings.

In order to gain success and happiness in life, emotional intelligence is needed as much as intellectual ability (IQ). Emotional intelligence is helpful at work, in relationships, in career growth and personal goals. From here on we will refer to Emotional Intelligence as EQ.

How do you boost your EQ? You could increase your EQ by learning and mastering a few key skills:

First of all it is important for you to understand the fact that your emotions affect various aspects of your daily life – the way you carry yourself, the way you bring and the way you interact with others. With a high EQ you are capable of recognizing your own emotional state and that of the others. This understanding helps you to communicate and convince others in a way that draws them closer to you. The success with which you are able to use your EQ leads to success in every path of your life leading to more contentment in life.

There are four main qualities or characteristics of Emotional Intelligence: "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom" said Aristotle. This wisdom holds the key to further develop your EQ.

Self-awareness: Did you ever stop to think who you really are inside? Whether you are good or bad, clever or dull, witty or serious, etc.? Well, when you sit in a place and observe yourself as an outsider you may be able to understand the real ‘;you’;. When you look at yourself deeply you may understand why you acted in certain ways under certain circumstances. The ability to introspect yourself is self-awareness. Self-awareness helps you identify your thoughts, actions, feelings, values, fears, shortcomings, strengths and overall the total ‘;you’;. Beside yourself you can approach your loved ones and friends to make you understand you. You can get a feedback from those who will give you their honest opinion of you. This helps to a certain extent how others perceive you. In marketing this is done through a question about a company’;s product and performance. This is evaluated and used in improving the company’;s products and services. In the same way you could ask your loved ones to evaluate you and from their answers you could understand and improve your EQ in areas where you lack. As an adult you could do this exercise in form of a journal. In fact journaling is a great way to see the real you and your genuine feelings. You are more in tune with your own feelings when you have a high EQ. this in turn increases your self confidence in life, in dealing with yourself as well as others.

Self-management: Self-awareness leads to self-management. Self-management is all about controlling your emotions and actions. You control yourself from impulsive behaviors. You develop openness, adaptability, achievement and optimism. How do you react to certain situations? Do you respond or react to people and situations? It is a slight difference between these two words but in practice there is a great difference in meaning. Reaction and response play a significant role in EQ. For example if you have to wait in long line on a busy day when the traffic is moving ever so slowly, do you get impatient? Do you scream at other drivers and horn loudly or wait patiently for the traffic to clear? Do you react or respond to heavy traffic? If you are impatient you are reacting to traffic in an emotional way.When you react you tend to lose reason. On the other hand if you show patience you are responding and therefore more understanding and thoughtful. After all, the traffic has to move on at some point! Self-management stands for adaptability, transparency, achievement and optimism.

Social awareness: Your self-awareness and self-management takes you to the next step of social awareness. You are open to understanding the needs, emotions and concerns of other people. You are able to pick up on emotional cues, feel relaxed socially, and recognize the power play in a group or organization. In order to develop your EQ you need to see and feel others in their shoes. People with excellent social awareness are said to be more service minded, have empathy and organizational awareness. These are the main activities associated with social awareness according to Daniel Goleman. Social awareness at its best is offering a natural response to people, taking their situation and needs into account as much as possible. If you exhibit these qualities you can consider your EQ to be high.

Relationship management: The final area you need to develop in raising your EQ is that of relationship management. We can look upon this trait in connection with your profession. This is the aspect of your EQ that enables you to succeed in inspiring other people and helping them to reach their full potential. It is also vital in negotiating successfully, resolving conflicts and working with others towards a shared goal. Your success in this final area is directly correlated to your success in the other three areas because management is all about successfully interacting with other people. At the end of the day is not efficient management all about getting the work done?

Goleman stresses on the following aspects for a successful relationship management:
• Leadership – develop others by identifying their strengths; Influence others probably through your own motivation
• Communication – being a change catalyst to incorporate new ideas when change is needed
• Conflict management – connecting with people through networking
• Teamwork and collaboration- by giving credit to everyone to make them feel good about their own contribution.

How does Emotional intelligence affect your life?

Performance at work – EQ helps you to comfortably handle social complexes of workplace, motivation and guide others and succeed in your career. Now-a-days companies view emotional intelligence as being an important aspect and perform EQ testing beforeiring.

Physical well-being – Stress is imminent in today’;s world no matter which profession you belong to. Stress is a familiar factor leading to serious health issues in most of the people. Uncontrolled stress level is known to increase the risk of heart disease. Our immune system sufferers when stress level are high.

Mental well-being – Stress affects mental health negatively. You might have read or heard about stressed people going to the extent of committing suicide. When you can not manage your emotions you become a victim of mood swings or other mental disorders that can seldom allow you to form or maintain strong relationships in life.

Personal relationships – Understanding your emotions help you to express your feelings to your loved ones. When there is a block in communication your relationships suffer both at work and in your personal life.

Here are six tips to increase your emotional intelligence:
• Learn to reduce negative emotions
• Stay cool and manage stress
• Be assertive and express difficult emotions when necessary
• Stay proactive, not reactive in difficult situations
• Bounce back from adversity
• Express intimate emotions in close, personal relationships

If you prefer you may write these in 6 different tips and post them in places where you can see to incorporate them in your daily life.