What is Emotional Intelligence? How to Improve It?

What is Emotional Intelligence? How to Improve It?

Equally affecting your work-life and your personal life, emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) is the ability to understand, manage, and express one's own emotions and feelings. EI also affects your engagement and navigation of interaction with other people. Basically, it is the ability to understand the emotions of the people around you.

The five components of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Various studies have asserted that the highest performers in a workplace displayed higher levels of emotional intelligence in comparison to the other employees. Although the common assumption of successful character is directly linked with an individual's IQ, it is one's EI that defines them both in the workplace and their personal lives.

Simply put, 90% of high performers at the workplace possess high EI, while 80% of low performers have low EI. Essential for the development, maintenance, formation as well as enhancement of personal relationships, emotional intelligence evolves and increases with one's desire to learn and grow.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Coined by psychologists Mayer and Salovey in 1990, emotional intelligence is the capacity or the ability of an individual to perceive, process and regulate emotional information accurately and effectively. It is not just important for oneself but is equally important for interaction with others.

Studies have revealed that, possessing emotional intelligence help to improve the quality of your life, as it helps provide a 'framework' - which allows one to be well effective and equipped.

Likewise, emotional intelligence is an important part of the formation as well as the development of meaningful human relationships. It is essential to building a well-balanced life. Studies have pointed out that emotional intelligence help improves your physical health, mental well-being, relationships, leadership and help with conflict resolution and help you succeed in life.

Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

EI is one of the central factors that influence the decisions made by employers as well as employees. According to a survey conducted by Career Builder, about 71 per cent of hiring managers valued an employee's EQ over their IQ - further focusing on the importance of possessing it. And 75 per cent asserted that they would be more likely to promote an employee with high emotional intelligence and 59 per cent said that they wouldn't hire a candidate with a high IQ and low EQ.

Emotional intelligence has become one of the major deciding factors in various organisations, solely because it helps improve the profit and success of the organisation as a whole. An employee with good emotional intelligence has the capability not only to improve his self but also the ones around him.

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review by Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steve B Wolff, it was mentioned that "Our research shows that, just like individuals, the most effective teams are emotionally intelligent ones - and that any team can attain emotional intelligence... By working to establish norms for emotional awareness and regulation at all levels of interaction, teams can build the solid foundation of trust, group identity, and group efficacy they need for true cooperation and collaboration - and high performance overall".

Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence continues to be an increasingly relevant skill to have in the professional and personal world. Here are some tips that can help improve your emotional intelligence.

  • Always pay attention to how you behave (self-awareness).

  • Take responsibility for your feelings and actions.

  • Take time to celebrate the positives, but do not ignore the negatives.

  • Adopt an assertive (not too aggressive or too passive) way of communication.

  • When faced with a conflict, respond to it and not react.

  • Be motivated.

  • Train yourself to maintain a positive attitude.

  • Accept criticism.

  • Acknowledge your emotional triggers.

  • Empathise with others.

  • Be approachable and sociable.

  • Utilise your leadership skills.

  • Utilise your listening skills.

  • Maintain a schedule.

  • Set personal goals.