Measuring our EQ levels, or emotional intelligence, isn’t something we regularly do, or perhaps have ever done. Emotional intelligence isn’t discussed and valued in the workplace the way that traditional intelligence is. However, research has proven how our EQ is just as, if not more, essential than our IQ. In order to be a sensitive decision-maker, calm and effective leader, and an inspiring team motivator, we must have a high level of emotional intelligence.

EQ is something we learn and acquire over time. While some may have independently excelled in their EQ levels, other people may not realize the ways in which they need improvement, and that’s okay. We may think our emotional intelligence is higher than it actually is, or perhaps we don’t understand what contributes to a high level of EQ. Given its value, we should all be in touch with our emotional intelligence. Our workplace success depends on it. From there, we can take steps to transform our awareness into action, and begin to exemplify these behaviors in our everyday working lives.

We can measure our EQ by comparing our actions and interactions to those of the characteristics of high emotional intelligence. For example, think about a time when you were frustrated at work, whether it was at another person, at yourself, or at a situation. How did you handle your frustration? If you were able to recognize your emotion as frustration, and were able to move on from this feeling by logically problem solving or recognizing the large scope of the matter, then you responded with a high level of emotional intelligence. However, if you lost your temper, took out your negative emotions on others, and found it difficult to get past the frustration, then you might consider ways to improve your emotional intelligence.

Our behavior in group settings also speaks volumes to our emotional intelligence. People with a high level of EQ are able to listen to all members of a team, open-mindedly and genuinely considering every individual’s comments and suggestions. They are comfortable giving constructive criticism as well as praise to others. In the same setting, emotionally intelligent people welcome others to give feedback and constructive criticism of them, without responding defensively. In fact, criticism is a source of their personal improvement and benefits their success. Emotionally intelligent people are not over-proud, and they are willing to admit and own up to their own mistakes and apologize if necessary in the situation.

Remaining calm and collected is another key characteristic of someone with a strong EQ. In high-pressure situations, such as important meetings or strict deadlines, emotionally intelligent people know how to maintain their composure and focus on the task at hand. They don’t get discouraged by adversity, challenges, and setbacks, and they face such oppositions with a positive attitude. This doesn’t mean that they are able to immediately have these reactions. Emotionally intelligent people are known to step away from a situation for a moment in order to process what’s going on and the control they have. They are reflective people who pause and then decide to rise.

A huge part of emotional intelligence is being able to detect our emotions, and other people’s emotions, as we feel them. Having this recognition allows us to know the source of our feelings so that we can create the most effective attack plan. It also creates understanding and patience with others when we can detect how they’re feeling. For some, this process is second nature, and for others, it takes more time and close consideration. The more we work on it, the closer we’ll get to automatically reacting in an emotionally intelligent manner. The first step is understanding what the components of emotional intelligence are, and then recognizing where we rank on the scale. From there, the choice is ours. How much improvement do we need, and are we willing to work at it for the betterment of ourselves and our workplaces?

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