Let's face it, the concept of emotional intelligence has become not just a popular topic in the field of psychological research as it pertains to leadership development and the way in which todays workforce interacts but also a critical component for ones physical and mental wellbeing. In the end, developing your EI is important if you want to have a successful career. Many experts now believe that a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) may be more important than their IQ and is certainly a better predictor of success, quality of relationships, and overall happiness. According to a report from the Robert H. Smith School of Business from the University of Maryland:
"71% of hiring managers said having EQ is more important the IQ and 51% of them said that they would NOT hire someone with a high IQ but a low EQ"
So What is Emotional Intelligence?
Let's break it down so it's easy to understand. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of those around you. It is generally said to include these 5 dimensions:
- Self-Awareness: Recognize and understand our emotions and reactions
- Self-Management: Manage, control, and adapt our emotions, mood, reactions, and responses
- Motivation: Harness our emotions to motivate ourselves to take appropriate action, commit, follow-through, and work toward the achievement of our goals
- Empathy: Discern the feelings of others, understand their emotions, and utilize that understanding to relate to others more effectively
- Social Skills: Build relationships, relate to others in social situations, lead, negotiate conflict, and work as part of a team
Critical areas Emotional Intelligence can support you:
- Physical Health – The ability to take care of our bodies and especially to manage our stress, which has an incredible impact on our overall wellness, is heavily tied to our emotional intelligence.
- Conflict Resolution – When we can discern people’s emotions and empathize with their perspective, it’s much easier to resolve conflicts or possibly avoid them before they start. We are also better at negotiation due to the very nature of our ability to understand the needs and desires of others. It’s easier to give people what they want if we can perceive what it is.
- Mental Well-Being – EI affects our attitude and outlook on life. It can also help to alleviate anxiety and avoid depression and mood swings. A high level of emotional intelligence directly correlates to a positive and more happier outlook on life.
- Relationships – By better understanding and managing our emotions, we are better able to communicate our feelings in a more constructive way. We are also better able to understand and relate to those with whom we are in relationships. Understanding the needs, feelings, and responses of those we care about leads to stronger and more fulfilling relationships.
- Success – Higher emotional intelligence helps us to be stronger internal motivators, which can reduce procrastination, increase self-confidence, and improve our ability to focus on a goal. It also allows us to create better support systems, overcome setbacks and persevere with a more resilient outlook.
- Leadership – The ability to understand what motivates others, relate in a positive manner, and to build stronger bonds with others in the workplace inevitably makes those with higher emotional intelligence better leaders. An effective leader can recognize what the needs of his people are, so that those needs can be met in a way that encourages higher performance.
Lastly, here are 9 signs your manager may lack emotional intelligence:
- Unable to control their emotions.
Emotionally intelligent people are able to regulate and control their emotions. If your manager is prone to lashing out in anger—or gets over-the-top giddy for no reason—he or she likely lacks this core element of EQ.
- Clueless about your feelings.
The ability to read others’ nonverbal emotional cues, such as facial expressions, is a critical component of EQ. If your manager can’t read your obvious displeasure, or thinks that your happiness is really contempt, there could be problems making emotional connections.
- Can’t maintain friendships.
High-EQ individuals have strong networks of friends and acquaintances. If your manager is unable to make or maintain good relationships with friends and colleagues, this is an indicator of low EQ.
- Always has a “poker face.”
While reading others’ emotions is important for EQ, so is the ability toexpress your own. If you can never tell how or what your manager is really feeling, it’s likely that they are missing this key element of emotional intelligence.
- Is emotionally inappropriate.
Making bad or inappropriate jokes; getting angry over nothing; not realizing that he/she is angering someone—these are signs that your manager doesn’t understand the social workings of emotions and emotional expression, which is another important aspect of EQ.
- Can’t cope with sadness.
An inability to manage others’ emotions indicates a lack of emotional intelligence. Low-EQ individuals have particular difficulty in reacting to others’ negative emotions.
- Is emotionally “tone deaf.”
A great deal of emotion is communicated through tone of voice. If your manager can’t sense your irritation or joy, it may be an indicator of a deficit in detecting emotions in voice tone.
- Can’t really be sympathetic.
Empathy and sympathy involve recognizing others' emotional states and reflecting back appropriate emotional concern. This is a complex skill that suggests high levels of emotional intelligence.
- Has no volume control.
Of course, we’re talking about emotional volume here. Too-loud emotional reactions, whether positive or negative, suggest difficulty in controlling emotions.
Emotional intelligence is still not completely understood and is being researched even as I write this article. However, what we do know is that emotions play a very critical role in the overall quality of our personal and professional lives, more critical even than our actual measure of brain intelligence. While tools and technology can help us to learn and master information, nothing can replace our ability to learn, manage, and master our emotions and the emotions of those around us.
If you are now wondering how your EI level stacks up, there are a few places online to take a free emotional intelligence assessment.
Not-your-typical Personal and Executive Master Certified Coach.
Joshua Miller is a creative and impactful leader. His career experience has spanned both the advertising world and the world of leadership and organizational development. In advertising, he was responsible in delivering campaign strategies for Fortune 100 companies. Now he innovates and delivers results when supporting executive talent development and change management for the same clients.