How well developed is your emotional intelligence?

If you look at the people that you most admire, how would you describe them? It’s likely they are motivated, self-aware and self-regulated, have good social skills and are empathetic towards situations and other people. Collectively these characteristics are better known as Emotional Intelligence (or EQ). Emotional intelligence can perhaps be described as having ‘street smarts’, rather than ‘intellectual smarts’ and it is now widely recognised that people who successfully manage their own emotions and their impact on others, are more successful in the workplace – and in life.

The first step towards furthering your emotional intelligence is to properly understand your current capabilities and drivers and then start to make some determinations around any areas or elements that might warrant further improvement. You can start now by answering the questions below. (Be honest).

How well do you understand yourself?

Do you know what you’re good at?

EQ starts with being honest about yourself and where you’re currently at. This includes understanding where your strengths and your weaknesses might be. A person with a high EQ is realistic about these areas and navigates the best way to work within them. And knowing what you’re great at also leads to self-confidence.

Have you always been a motivated self-starter?

Think back to when you were a child. Did you always set goals and work hard to achieve them? This shows that you can focus your attention and energy and is another sign of someone with high EQ.

Do you trust your intuition?

Another sign of emotional intelligence is that people will be comfortable following their own “gut” and acting on decisions with the confidence that what they feel is the right path to choose.

When you get upset, do you know why?

Sometimes emotion gets the better of us and we snap at someone or take something to heart, when on a different day we wouldn’t bat an eyelid. People with a healthy self-awareness know where the emotions are coming from – and they often know that the underlying issue has nothing to do with the event that sparked the reaction. People with a high EQ then take it a step further to analyse the situation, the emotion and the feelings, to understand these effects.

Can you say 'no'?

Self-discipline and self-regulation is a critical component of emotional intelligence, allowing people to avoid unhealthy habits. Whether it is saying “No” to a greater workload than you can handle, “No” to a team member that is pushing boundaries with you, or saying “No” to a poor diet and too much alcohol, self-regulation provides a solid and healthy foundation that will help at times when you need to tolerate stress.

How resilient are you?

If you’re the type of person who bounces back no matter what the mistake, setback or heartache, you possess a ton of emotional intelligence. People with a high EQ just keep on going. They do this by processing negative emotions, but not letting them take over and so develop their resilience. It’s not about burying the pain or negative feelings, it is about putting them in their place and realising that they are but a moment in time...

How emotionally intelligent are you about others?

What do people's facial expressions tell you?

If you can ascertain what someone is thinking or feeling from their facial expressions, you have a strong foundation on which to understand their needs and how you can help them.

When you meet someone new, do you ask questions?

A curious nature is often one high in emotional intelligence as if you ask lots of questions and want to learn more about someone when you meet them, this demonstrates a high level of empathy. Being attuned to the needs and feelings of others has its basis in being interested about them in the first place.

Do you get along with most people and are you a good judge of character?

Being able to have effective relationships is a strong sign of emotional intelligence. It shows that you can relate to people on different levels and respect them. And if your initial impressions of someone are rarely wrong, you will also be a good judge of character.

Do you pay attention to others?

We are constantly being bombarded with texts, phone calls and pieces of information, so it can be easy to get distracted. Being able to focus on what you need to be doing is a crucial part of developing self-awareness and strong relationships.

Do you notice the world around you?

If you’re the type of person who says hello to someone on the street, gives up your seat to a pregnant woman on the train or makes the effort to talk to a shy colleague, you are a shining example of being emotionally intelligent. Why? Because many of us are only focused on ourselves and are running around with tunnel vision and an inability – or no desire – to notice others. Simply being more mindful of the world around you shows that you have compassion.

Do you have a talent for leading others?

Many say that leadership is born, not given. In some ways that’s true as every single exceptional leader has a high degree of emotional intelligence. Research undertaken by Psychologist Daniel Goleman found that when comparing those who excelled in senior leadership roles with others who delivered just average results, around 90 percent of the difference in their profiles was due to emotional intelligence, rather than cognitive ability.

After answering these questions, what is your emotional intelligence level looking like? If you are confident, good at achieving your goals, flexible, resilient and able to bat off stress, then you are exhibiting the positive signs of a healthy EQ.

And that’s a sign of a true leader.

Author: John Richmond
Team Leadership Services