EI ...EQ ... SOFT SKILL management
A high IQ is a big plus in a good leader. But to be great, you also need a high EQ — emotional quotient. Research suggests that high EQ helps people succeed at work and in relationships
The term ‘emotional intelligence’ dates to a scientific paper published in 1990 but interest in the topic didn’t explode until psychologist and former New York Times reporter Daniel Goleman wrote a book about it a few years later. Psychologists say improving your EQ isn’t easy but if you are motivated and brave enough to find out how other people really see you, you’ll likely see positive changes.
Here are some of the easiest and most practical ways to start developing your emotional intelligence muscle — today.
Pick one area to improve in
Goleman recommends trying to improve one facet of emotional intelligence at a time. For example, maybe you want to get better at reading other people, or maybe you want to get better at introspection. Writing on LinkedIn, Goleman advises asking yourself: “Where would I improve the most if I could enhance one competency?”
Find a ‘career mirror’
That’s a tip from Spencer Rascoff, CEO of real-estate website and app Zillow. Rascoff says that his wife is his “career mirror”, meaning she knows and understands him even better than he knows and understands himself. Rascoff’s wife was the one who knew he was unhappy at his job in finance, and suggested he explore other options. A close friend or family member can help reflect your emotions back to you when you’re unable, or unwilling, to see them.
Assign someone to be your ‘loving critic’
That’s Tasha Eurich’s term for people who will be honest with us while still having our best interests at heart. Eurich is an organisational psychologist and the author of Insight, in which she argues that most people lack self-awareness. At work, a loving critic shouldn’t be your BFF, but someone trustworthy who you’re only casually acquainted with. The person should be ‘willing to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly about your performance’.
Ask people directly what they’re feeling
In a Psychology Today blog post, psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne breaks down emotional intelligence into different components and focusses on the one that’s giving you the most trouble. She shares an example of how to do just that: “If it’s help you need in reading the emotions of others, you can work on building your empathy by not being afraid to ask what the people you work with and live with are feeling, especially if you’re not sure, or if you’ve been wrong in the past.”
Be able to name your emotions
On his website, psychologist Travis Bradberry highlights the importance of having a ‘robust emotional vocabulary’. He writes: “While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling bad, emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel irritable, or anxious. The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.”
In fact, psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett’s research on “emotional granularity” suggests that intense negative emotions aren’t inherently bad.
Figure out what’s bothering you
Most of us have been in a situation where a co-worker does something annoying and we let it slide, only to come home and lash out at our partner instead.
Figure out if you’re misplacing blame. You are hungry, tired, unhappy in your marriage, and then you assign all the blame to the first person or situation you encounter. In the process, you drive away the people you love the most — making things even worse.