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IQ vs. EQ: 4 secrets to building your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one of the biggest indicators of success, happiness and satisfaction at work. So forget about Intelligence Quotients (IQ) for a minute and let’s talk about Emotional Quotients instead (EQ).

Your IQ is fixed, but emotional intelligence can be learned. It’s all about understanding your emotions and managing them to get the best out of a situation.

Stat attack: emotional intelligence in numbers

  • EQ is responsible for 58% of professional success, regardless of job category.
  • A whopping 90% of top performers score high on emotional intelligence; just 20% of low performers score high on emotional intelligence.
  • A 40-year study of PhDs at UC Berkeley found that EQ was 400% more powerful than IQ when predicting who would have success in their field.

From an employer’s perspective, it’s important for workers to have emotional intelligence to be productive and deal with high-pressure work. For you personally, it will be a key factor in being happy with your career.

People with a high level of emotional intelligence have a good understanding of themselves, their emotions and how they influence people around them as a result. If you want to enhance your emotional intelligence, there are four focus areas to hone in on.

How self-aware are you really?

People with high levels of emotional intelligence tend to notice their emotions as they appear and develop — which is much easier said than done. To develop your self awareness, reflect on how you deal with challenges at work and what emotions come out in each scenario. It’s a good idea to write these down for a while so that it becomes a habit.

As well as getting into a journaling routine, the practice of mindfulness and meditation can also help to develop self-awareness. Part of the purpose of mindfulness, meditation or even yoga is to pay attention to your mental state, which can help boost your self-awareness too.

Self-management of emotions

Once you are more capable of noticing emotions as they appear, the next step is to learn coping strategies so that you can manage them. Coping mechanisms are often unique to the individual — while one person might benefit from taking a short walk outside for fresh air, the other may want to acknowledge the emotion and continue to tackle the work situation head on.

However you may want to manage your emotions at work, one thing that most of us can do more of is breathing. You’d be surprised how much more manageable an icky work situation is when you take ten seconds to inhale and exhale slowly with your eyes closed.

Can you read the room?

Beyond self-awareness and self-management of emotions, people with high EQs have a good sense of social awareness. How well are you aware of the vibe shortly after walking into a meeting or catch up? Are you listening to the person across the table from you? Practice getting better at ‘reading the room’, as it’s an important part of developing your EQ.

Building solid social relationships

The final secret but not-so-secret ingredient of emotional intelligence is social management. This can be done in a meaningful way by dedicating time to building social relationships with colleagues and professional contacts. It can be as easy as putting a regular coffee catch up in your diary with key people you need to have a good working relationship with, so get socialising!

Do you have any tips about what has worked for you when it comes to building emotional intelligence? Tweet us your suggestions — we’re all ears!

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