What is Emotional Intelligence? EQ is vital ingredient for success

Emotions are essential to human survival. But it’s all too easy for them to run away with us, especially under pressure. If you’ve ever really lost your temper in a work context you’ll know how unproductive it is. It can be difficult to handle and manage your emotions unless you know how you’re feeling from one moment to the next. If you are able to regulate them, you can make better choices to be responsive rather than reactive. And it can be a real challenge to handle the emotions of other people unless you have a good level of emotional intelligence yourself.

Knowing what you’re feeling at any one time sounds simple enough. But emotional intelligence is an acquired skill for most of us, not something we always achieve naturally. So what, exactly, is emotional intelligence? Why does it matter so much in the world of work? And how can you develop more EQ for yourself?

What is emotional intelligence?

The term Emotional Intelligence was originally created by two researchers, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, later popularised by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name. Salovey and Mayer describe EQ as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” In other words, it’s a means of recognising, understanding, and ultimately choosing how we think, feel, and act.

EQ shapes interactions with others and increases our understanding of our inner selves. EQ can define how and what we learn. EQ can drive what we prioritise. It influences and can play a role in almost all of the things we do every day.

Daniel Goleman says Emotional Intelligence – also known as EQ or Emotional Quotient – describes the way we manage and lead ourselves, and how we handle our relationships. He believes that, thanks to EQ, we can recognize, understand and manage our own emotions and recognize, understand and influence the emotions of other people. It has an extremely strong influencing power. You can imagine why, in a career context, EQ is therefore such a highly desirable attribute. You may also be interested in reading our blog on Leadership and Mood

Why is EQ vital to great leadership?

EQ is one very important ingredient of great leadership The objective of a leader is to deliver successfully, keep their team working together well, and manage the individuals within it in a way that ensures everybody is motivates and confidently playing to their strengths. It is about vision, results and has to achieve both through strong relationships. If you’ve ever had an exceptional leader, you’ll know how inspirational they can be. Simply being in the presence of someone like that can feel like a privilege.

Golman’s four elements of EQ add up to something special. When you are more fully self-aware, you can manage yourself confidently under a whole raft of circumstances. When you have a good level of social awareness and decent social skills, you’re in a position of self-knowledge, which means you can empathise more easily with those around you and relate to them in a way they appreciate.

The better you can manage all four elements, the higher your EQ. And the higher your EQ, the better leader you will be. You will have emotional bandwidth and vital influencing skills.

The four elements of EQ in detail

Self-awareness simply means you ‘get’ yourself. Because you understand your own strengths and weaknesses, know what makes you tick, get your own motivations, likes and dislikes, you find it easier to be yourself with more skill and self perspective. You might feel angry, for example. As a person with a high EQ you won’t necessarily act on that feeling. You’ll recognise it, acknowledge it, understand what brought it about, decide it isn’t quite the right response under the circumstances, and decide to make a different choice, then act accordingly.

Self-management is the next element and is all about remaining in control of what you say and do, refusing to make snap, reactive decisions. You know what triggers you and what calms you. It is about being in charge of your own actions and protecting your values. It is about being purposeful, remaining trustworthy and flexible when you need to be. It means you listen well, firstly to yourself and then to others, being open to new learning and feedback.

Social awareness means understanding the emotions and motivations of your team members, developing an insightful picture of each person’s emotional makeup and knowing best way to build a relationship with them. Once you understand them, social awareness makes it a lot easier to empathise with them and to deal with them even in times of conflict and disagreement, No wonder EQ can help leaders build exceptional teams and hang onto the best talent for longer.

Good social Skills are something almost every good communicator has and uses constantly. Leaders with strong social skills communicate their vision clearly and inspirationally, drive motivation, and encourage loyalty. They understand the intricacies of the social dynamics within the context they lead. Because they above all, believe in their own leadership, they set a strong example that others want to follow.

Find out more on YouTube

If you’d like to delve deeper into Golman’s theory, here are two interesting videos for you. Here they are:

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Give yourself an essential edge – Learn a high level of EQ

Emotions are contagious. As a leader, people look to you for emotional direction. How you manage your emotions and the emotional climate around you can make all the difference. High EQ gives you an essential edge. If you’d like to develop your EQ further, contact us. Our coaching will help you to develop this crucial leadership capability.