Can you have EI/EQ if you don’t know what it is? Understanding Emotional Intelligence
Back when I was in college, Myers-Briggs was the standard for gaging a person for a potential job. Now it’s their Emotional Intelligence. Frankly, I was not a fan of Myers-Briggs. Like other personality tests, the results are subject to hormonal output in your body at test time. EI or Emotional Quotient (EQ) may be a better way to predict a person’s ability to do a job. In a series of articles, I’m going to explore the world of Emotional Intelligence. Hopefully, you’ll gain insight into what it is, be able to decide if you can be classified as high EI, learn how to improve your EI abilities, and how to use this knowledge to keep you safe.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
An excellent way to begin understanding any concept is to establish an acceptable definition of it. Here is the one we shall use: Emotional Intelligence is having the necessary ability to understand, identify, and manage emotions in one’s self and in others. Granted, this sounds like an obvious and simplistic answer. It is, but it is not one that everyone can easily apply to themselves.
It is easy to tell a person is happy when they are laughing and smiling. But when these clues are solo (laughing or smiling), can you know if they are laughing as a nervous response, being snarky, or polite. Likewise with smiles. Is it a weak response given as a polite gesture, one that’s false to hide pain or a genuine smile of joy?
A more in-depth definition is the ability to quickly reason out a person’s emotions based on emotional information given in facial clues and body language and to apply the use of emotionally triggering words to enhance thought.
High EI people know how to read others accurately. This knowledge gives insight into what words to choose when providing information to an employee or team member. It tells them how to broach an unpleasant subject with a loved one. A high EI/EQ person also knows what emotions need to be carefully handled. Example: an employee has learned their project is being shelved, and no reason was given for the company’s action. The employee is justifiably angry. A high EI/AEQ person is going to see the anger and understand anger can lead to danger. They will now attempt to defuse the situation by using manageable emotional triggers that let the person healthily express their feelings until they have better control of themselves.
People with a high EQ have learned how understanding and drawing upon their past emotions can help them with specific thinking that can be used to get desired results. Example: A high EI person has been tasked with analyzing a business dilemma. They know they can not give an accurate, in-depth analysis if they are a carefree mood. To get their mindset right for this task, they shift from joy to a more somber mindset by recalling a memory. This is one reason why people with high EQ/EI are 70% more likely to outperform those with high IQ’s alone.
Although it is getting a lot of play now in the business world, the concept of EI has been around for years, and it is still being studied today. The initial work on emotional intelligence was done by Dr. John Mayer and Dr. Peter Salovey in the 1990s. In the next article, I’ll discuss signs of Emotional Intelligence and how they can help you navigate socially complex situations.