“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein
Remember that friend of yours who always knows just what to say in any situation without hurting anyone’s feelings? The person you can always turn to with your problems because, even if they can’t really solve them, they at least make you feel better about them, more hopeful and optimistic? What about that other friend with the perfect poker face? The one who doesn’t get angry when most people would. The one who can calmly finds a solution to a problem that would have anyone else stressed out and panicked.
These two people have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence and a high Emotional Quotient (EQ). This can be defined as the ability to understand, express and manage your own feelings and emotions, as well as understand and engage with the emotions of others.
Why should you care about enhancing your EQ?
Well, for one thing, people with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence are generally happier and more capable at forming, developing, and maintaining close personal relationships – which is generally accepted as one of the cornerstones of having a meaningful life.
But maybe you don’t care about all that. Maybe you’re very career-oriented and don’t care much of interpersonal relations. Well, you should know that 90% of high performers in the workplace have high degrees of Emotional Intelligence (according to Talent Smart), while 80% of under-performers have low EQ.
It’s a valuable resource that you can cultivate and use while working with clients, a boss, friends and family. So, now that you know why it’s important to enhance your EQ, how do you go about doing that? Here are a few important aspects you need to know about this process.
Your EQ is flexible between certain parameters
Your degree of Emotional Intelligence is heavily influenced by things like early childhood experiences, genetics and so on. That means that it’s pretty hard to change your EQ for the better or for the worse. You can’t realistically expect to increase your EQ tenfold in a short while: it’s just not doable. What you can do, though, is work with dedication and perseverance toward bettering your degree of Emotional Intelligence. The good news is that, while you work on it, time will give you a helping hand, as EQ has a tendency to increase with age.
You can improve through a coaching program
Several studies suggest that you can improve your EQ with as much as 25% or even more. If you’re in a coaching program focused on interpersonal skills you can improve with as much as 50%, and if you’re in a stress management program you can get an improvement of up to 35%. So, what are you waiting for? Enroll in a EQ-coaching program today!
One of the biggest parts of EQ is empathy, the ability to experience the emotions, thoughts and direct experience of others. Simply put, the ability to relate to other people and know how they’re feeling without them having to explicitly state it. A lot of things go into this, one of which is the ability to decipher other people’s body language, voice pitch and tone and so forth. If you don’t think you’re all that empathetic, then perhaps you should start paying attention to these details in your day to day interactions. Practicing them will help you improve your empathy.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu
People with high levels of Emotional Intelligence know themselves better than people with low EQ do. They are more self-aware. They understand their feelings and emotions and, because of this, aren’t ruled by them – this understanding allows them to keep their emotions under control. In order to increase your EQ, you will have to really get acquainted to yourself and figure out what makes you tick – why you feel the way that you do at any given moment. Also be prepared to take an honest look at yourself – strengths, weaknesses and all.
Knowing yourself and what makes you tick implies this next aspect. If you know what makes you tick, you ought to know what drives you, what you want. Figure that out and start working towards it! You’ll find yourself happier and more productive for it.
Learn how to stay cool under pressure
As we previously mentioned, being calm in stressful situations is a big part of having a high degree of Emotional Intelligence. You can learn how to be cool under pressure. Here are a couple of tips: if you feel angry at someone, take a deep breath and count to ten before saying something you may regret in the future. This will give you some time to figure out a better way to communicate what the problem is.
If, on the other hand, you’re not feeling angry, but anxious, wash your face with some cool water or go outside for a walk. This tip works because cool temperature helps reduce our anxiety level. It also helps or avoid caffeine, which will only amplify your nervousness.
Learn how to read social cues
This ties in to the empathy point we mentioned earlier. You can do this by coming up with at least two possible interpretations of a cue you’re not sure you understand before jumping to conclusions. Another way you can improve the accuracy of your reading of social cues is even simpler: just go ahead and ask for clarification. If you’re unsure why someone is acting in a particular way, just go ahead and ask them.
The only thing you need to be on the lookout for in this particular approach is avoiding accusations and judgments – you don’t want the other person to feel like they’re being put on trial for something, you just want to understand why they’re acting in a manner that you’re not used to from them.
This concludes our guide on enhancing your Emotional Intelligence. If there are any more tips you have on improving your EQ, let us know what they are in the comments section below!