Emotion Intelligence (EQ) is not a new concept. Two psychologists – Jack Mayer, Ph.D. of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey, Ph.D. of Yale University were the first to coin the term in 1989.
The Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto explains:
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).
Daniel Goleman is the new father of EQ. His book Emotional Intelligence explains how emotionally intelligent people are really good at handling themselves and relationships.
Here’s what happens when you become Emotionally Intelligent:
1. You will use your head and heart to solve problems.
Emotional Intelligence isn’t the triumph of heart over head, it’s the combination of the two. Emotional intelligent people are able to use and regulate emotions in order to solve problems. Some would even argue that EQ is now more important that IQ. Being smart does not necessarily translate into success.
2. You will have self-awareness when you’re emotionally Intelligent.
Self-awareness is knowing what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling that way. It’s about being switched on to what’s going on during an emotional situation. Knowing where feelings are coming from, and helping to figure out how to work through them is an important part of behaving in an emotionally intelligent manner. When we’re upset or overwhelmed for unforeseen reasons, it makes it more challenging to overcome the problem — it’s like going somewhere new without a map.
3. You will have strong self-management skills.
Self-management in emotionally intelligent people refers to the ability to regulate emotions. It’s knowing when being emotional is resourceful and when it can be harmful. Some of us wear our heart on our sleeves, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but you’re far more likely to get burned out if you always operate in this way. Some situations call for a big, sobbing cry and other times it’s best to keep it to yourself. Having strong self-management skills is knowing the time and place for emotions.
4. You will be a good leader.
Leaders who don’t lead with their heart are rigid. Daniel Goleman explains:
The CEO of one of the world’s largest money management firms was puzzled. He wanted to know why there was a Bell curve for performance among his employees, with a few outstanding, most in the middle, and a few poor. After all, he hired only the best and brightest graduates from the top schools – shouldn’t they all be outstanding?
That same puzzle was explored in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller David and Goliath, which I recently read. Malcolm was befuddled by the finding that many of those in the mid to low achievement spectrum of Ivy League schools did not turn out to be world leaders – despite their SAT scores being higher than even the best students at the so-so colleges, who fared better.
Gladwell and that CEO share a certain muddle in their reasoning: they assumed that academic abilities should predict how well we do in life. They don’t.
5. You will be empathetic.
Empathy is your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Having empathy as an emotionally intelligent person allows you to step outside of yourself and see another person’s perspective. Psychcentral.com says that empathy is a skill that is learned.
By the time a child is about 4 years old, he begins to associate his emotions with the feelings of others.
Empathy is learned through interactions and play when we are young. Dr Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play, was a young professor of psychiatry at Baylor University in Texas when he overheard a live radio broadcast of gunshots occurring during the Charles Whitman massacre in 1966. He was studying aggression and was told by his boss to begin researching why Whitman committed this heinous crime.
Brown and his team reconstructed Whitman’s life in great detail and over the course of his research Brown became fascinated with the importance of play and the overwhelming connection of lack of play across several other young homicidal men. They all had dysfunctional childhoods, histories of abuse, and/or exposure to abuse, and/or overbearing fathers/ carers.
6. You will have impressive social skills.
Having impressive social skills as an emotionally intelligent person isn’t all about being extroverted. Understanding your audience and your environment takes great skill when navigating a social setting. Possessing qualities of an ambivert will allow you to assess the situation and call on the necessary approach to achieve social success. Through acting like an ambivert, you’ll be a great communicator, be good at conflict resolution and work well in a team. Knowing who you’re interacting with and what their needs are shows acceptance and respect, allowing you to make lots of friends and influence people.
7. You will be gritty.
Grit is a relatively new concept researched by Angela Lee Duckworth. She explains in her TED Talk that IQ no longer measures success in students; it’s grit.
Grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.
Watch her talk here: The key to success? Grit.
Forbes.com describes the five characteristics of grit as courage, contentiousness, resilience, follow-through and excellence.
8. You will be resilient.
Resilience is our ability to bounce back from hard times. It doesn’t mean turning your cheek to challenging times, it means embracing difficult emotions and using them as an opportunity to grow. Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, explains the difference between Post Traumatic Stress and Post Traumatic Growth in this Harvard Business Review podcast.