What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

What is emotional intelligence?

We often hear about Emotional Intelligence, but what exactly is it?  Can it really impact our success?  The answer is, yes!

While the concept of emotions impacting success in both work and life began to emerge throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ) did not become mainstream until the 1990’s with Daniel Goleman’s book: “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.” While this text is credited with putting the concept of Emotional Intelligence on the map; one could argue that it wasn’t until Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves released, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 in 2009 that the term was integrated into everyday vernacular.

Unlike personality or IQ, emotional intelligence is a skill that one can develop, and it is absolutely essential for personal growth and development as well as social awareness and relational competence. There are four key components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

1. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations. In times when you are pushed to your breaking point, are you aware of it? When the sudden moment that frustration or anger peaks or the slow, dull build-up of tension and stress culminates—are you aware of how those emotions are impacting your reactions and behavior? How do those emotions feel physically? Does your heart race or your shoulders tense? The first step in strong emotional intelligence is being cognizant of and quickly making sense of your emotions as they are happening.

2. Self-Management

Then, in those crucial moments, can you effectively manage yourself to control the impulses and immediate reactions of that emotion? Self-management is your ability to use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively. What if those emotions might be detrimental to the situation or the interaction? Can you pause and reflect before that emotion dictates your reaction? This self-management skill is essential in how you interact with the world around you.

3. Social-Awareness

Once you have mastered your own self emotional intelligence, social awareness helps you learn about and appreciate other people. Social awareness is about listening and observing people to better perceive emotions and understand what’s really going on with them. Do you have the capacity to recognize, acknowledge and empathize with the person across from you? Are you aware of the “emotions in the room?” Can you see the moment the energy shifts? If you can recognize the emotions of the people around you, you are one step closer to being able to impact that situation.

4. Relationship Management

The final component of EQ is Relationship management.  The ability to be aware of the social factors that are influencing the dynamics in the room are half of the equation.  The most challenging element that truly separates highly emotionally intelligence individuals from the pack is the ability to manage social situations successfully. Can you pivot and redirect a conversation in the moment? Can you adjust and shift your behavior to change the course of events? This is the power of emotional intelligence.

It is the delicate interplay of these four components that is the central driving force of every single socio-emotional interaction that you have, and it is essential for your success in work and in life.

Taryn McKenzie is the EVP of Client Solutions for TalentSmart EQ.  She is a guest contributor for our blog and has been leading teams for over 20 years in the executive training space.  For more information about emotional intelligence training and solutions, please check out our website www.talentsmarteq.com.

These strategies were adapted from the book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Dr. Travis Bradberry & Dr. Jean Greaves. For more strategies that can help you improve your EQ skills, check out our training programs or contact us.

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