Emotional Intelligence is my favorite topic because it's the set of skills and traits that helps anyone to get better results in their professional and personal lives.
I love to speak about and teach skills that help people to more business success and life satisfaction!
You can increase your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is inherently different from intellect. You IQ (intellectual quotient) is the ability to learn, and it never changes throughout your life span.
EQ is a flexible set of skills that can be learned, acquired, honed and improved. While some people naturally have a high level of emotional intelligence, it can be developed in anyone.
Book smarts and street smarts can only take you so far, emotional smarts are often overlooked while being a critical aspect of the overall health and wellness of every individual.
Everyone can benefit from a high level of Emotional Intelligence, from CEO’s of top companies, to the homemaker down the street, it is the key to professional, social and personal success and your overall wellbeing and contentment in life.
The science behind Emotional Intelligence
There are a vast amount of studies showing the many great benefits of high emotional intelligence, here are some notable entries.
“Studies show that people with higher emotional intelligence testing scores are more socially competent and enjoy higher quality relationships” (Brackett, Warner, &Bosco, 2005; Brackett et al., 2006a; Lopes, Salovey, Cote, & Beers, 2005; Lopes et al., 2003, 2004)
One study found a positive relationship between self-esteem and emotional intelligence. (Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Self Esteem among Pakistani University Students, Bibi, et al., 2016)
TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence in the workplace alongside 33 other critical skills needed at work, and they found that emotional intelligence to be "the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs."
The international search firm Egon Zehnder International studied 515 senior executives and found those who had the highest emotional intelligence levels were more likely to succeed as compared to those with very high IQs or even those with a lot of job experience.
According to a report published by Yale University researchers, "the most common complaints that lead people to psychotherapy are anxiety and depression. The skills associated with emotional intelligence, therefore, should help individuals to deal effectively with unpleasant emotions and to promote pleasant emotions in order to promote both personal growth and wellbeing.”
A study by KRW International, found that “CEOs whose employees gave them high marks for character had an average return on assets of 9.35% over a two-year period.” This rating is five times higher than those who were marked with low character ratings. (https://hbr.org/2015/04/measuring-the-return-on-character)
30 reasons to invest in Emotional Intelligence Training
While there are tests available, it’s difficult to truly measure emotional intelligence. However, you don’t need to measure it with a score to see the benefits of having a high level of emotional intelligence. So, you don’t need to take a test to determine whether you display the typical behaviors of someone who has a high EQ.
There are a variety of benefits that are associated with high EQ. You may find that some of these are present in your life, and it could be because you have a high EQ. We all have some level of emotional intelligence, it’s just that some of us have a higher level of it.
According to a report published by Yale University researchers, "the most common complaints that lead people to psychotherapy are anxiety and depression. The skills associated with emotional intelligence, therefore, should help individuals to deal effectively with unpleasant emotions and to promote pleasant emotions in order to promote both personal growth and well being."
Yale University reports that “Indeed, people with higher MSCEIT scores tend to be more socially competent, to have better quality relationships, and to be viewed as more interpersonally sensitive than those with lower MSCEIT scores (Brackett, Warner, &Bosco, 2005; Brackett et al., 2006a; Lopes, Salovey, Cote, & Beers, 2005; Lopes et al.,2003, 2004).”
Another study found that EI influences how well employees interact with their colleagues, how they manage stress, conflict and their general job performance (Ashkanasy & Daus, 2005; Lopes, Cote, & Salovey, 2006a).
Your EQ influences how you socialize, network, and how you manage your behavior. It’s what helps you make the decisions that will bring the best results. Besides the very impressive benefit of improved job performance, there are many other very real benefits.
Let’s take a look at the biggest benefits of having high emotional intelligence.
You Can Learn It
Before we can go any further, we have to talk about the most important thing about emotional intelligence. While some people may seem more naturally emotionally intelligent, it’s something that you can learn. That is absolutely a benefit, as other traits are genetic. This isn’t. You can develop it with practice.
Reduction In Bullying
It makes sense that when someone is able to understand their emotions and those of others, there is a reduction in bullying. We are able to control emotions and react appropriately to the emotions of others. This helps us prevent harm against others as a result of how we feel internally. The natural result of this is that we have a more compassionate environment.
A Better Social Life
People can be thoroughly exhausting, but for people with a high EQ, it’s easier to relate to others. This ability allows them to build closer relationships, as well as attracting people to their social circle. It helps create a deeper level of perception, which benefits everyone around you.
Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of acting against our best interests. Luckily, a high level of emotional intelligence is one of the best ways to overcome this behavior. You’re less likely to engage in behaviors believed to be self-destructive.
When compared to the general population, high EQ people are less likely to binge drink, smoke, take drugs, and commit violent acts. This, according to the University of California, Berkeley (http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/281019).
It’s much easier to make decisions based on emotions. A series of logical decisions requires an evaluation of each scenario. However, emotions always play a role. When you have a high EQ, it’s much easier to analyze situations to come to a clear decision quickly.
There is a lot of talk about transferable skills. For example, if you have a skill for typing that isn’t going to translate into every industry. However, a high level of emotional intelligence is applicable to every industry. It’s truly transcendent, as you can apply it in any and every situation.
People often speak of perfectionism as though it’s a good thing. It isn’t, it can be debilitating. It causes procrastination and makes progress almost impossible. Luckily, high EQ people don’t need to worry about falling into the trap of perfectionism. They know that there is no such thing, which means they can easily push forward. A mistake isn’t the worst thing that can happen, it’s simply something that requires adjustment.
A Healthy Balance
One of the most important aspects of life and self-care is striking a healthy balance between work and play. If you spend all of your time at work, eat junk food, fuel your life with caffeine and ignore your health… well, that’s just no use to anyone.
High EQ people understand that work and play are required for a full and healthy life. For example, you may turn off your electronics and take a weekend out. Or, it might just be a few hours of stress-free relaxation. Whatever helps them manage stress.
Change Is Good
A lot of people struggle with change. It can be terrifying. However, high EQ people welcome change because they understand that it’s a natural part of life. Change doesn’t mean a hindrance to success. It just means adapting to those changes and creating a plan that will help them succeed. So, with great EQ comes adaptability.
We mentioned how perfectionism can lead to perfectionism. Well, a lack of EQ can lead to someone being easily distracted. You know that one person in your office who is impossible to distract? They are super focused and able to resist their phone, random thoughts, and surroundings as they work? That’s the person with high EQ.
According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, there are five main components to EQ. One of those is empathy (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/are-you-emotionally-intel_n_4371920.html). The ability to show compassion, to show empathy to others, and to relate to and be curious about strangers are all key. They are the people at your party who ask questions when they sit down with someone they never met. They’re naturally curious about others.
Weaknesses & Strengths
High EQ people don’t just know what they’re great at. They are equally as aware of what they’re not good at. It isn’t just about accepting that your weaknesses exist. It’s accepting those weaknesses and learning how to make the most of your strengths to strike a healthy balance.
This is also something that helps leaders determine what they should delegate. They know they are better at certain things, thus having others pick up the slack. It isn’t just good for them, it’s good for others, and for business.
People with a high EQ don’t need a reward to motivate themselves to achieve their goals. They are naturally goal oriented and will go out and make it happen.
Living in the Present
We all have regrets, well… except for high EQ individuals. Why? They’re far too busy living in the present and working to the future to worry about what happened in the past. They understand that their past mistakes will consume them. This will just result in additional stress and it will impact your mental health.
High EQ people don’t get caught up in the negatives of life. Instead, they are devoted to putting their energy into solutions. They can find the positive in any situation and will always be the ones coming up with new ideas. If you know someone who constantly complains, well, they’re the low EQ individual in your life. High EQ people seek out other positive people and surround themselves with positivity.
The picture we are painting may suggest to you that high EQ people are pushovers. The truth is, they’re not. Their compassion and positivity don’t make them a target. Instead, they are able to set healthy boundaries. They aren’t afraid to say no because they are invested in their self-care.
A Strong Emotional Vocabulary
We know that everyone experiences emotions. However, only some of us can identify them accurately when we experience them. Naturally, this is problematic. How can you process emotions if you are incapable of labeling them? It’s this misunderstanding of our emotions that results in counterproductive behavior and an inability to make sound decisions.
Luckily, high EQ people are able to label and process their emotions. They’re aware of when they feel frustrated or irritable, they can tell the difference between those emotions and anxiety. This means they can determine what is causing it and what action they should take to deal with it.
A Curiosity About Others
You may be reading many of these points thinking you will never attain this as you’re an introvert. Introverts can be emotionally intelligent, as anyone can be empathetic. With empathy comes curiosity. So, if you care about others and you are interested in what they are going through then you are curious about others.
A high EQ supports social awareness. It’s an ability to read others, understand who they are, what they’re about, and what they’re going through. All of this improves your ability to judge character. While some people see others as a mystery, high EQ people really get people. They see through the act.
A Thick Skin
People with a high EQ are confident in who they are, which means they are unflappable. It doesn’t matter how hard someone tries, it’s difficult to penetrate that thick skin. They’re fine with others poking fun at them and they can make a joke about themselves, too. They are adept at drawing a line in the mental sand between humiliation and laughs.
People with a high EQ don’t behave impulsively. They can delay gratification and display self-control. According to researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, people who struggle to say no are more likely to burn out (https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2013/03/11/the-art-of-saying-no/#19d78bca4ca8).
Not just burn out, they are also more prone to depression. So, the ability to say no is bigger than just getting stuck with someone else’s shift or, staying late at work. It’s cumulative and it’s stressing you out. Luckily, a high EQ means that you can say no, whether it’s to others or yourself.
Let It Go
There is something to be said for the ability to put distance between you and your failures. You don’t need to forget they ever happened. In fact, what high EQ individuals are able to do is refer to those failures as a learning curve and move forward with that. There’s a difference between remembering mistakes and dwelling on them. Dwelling results in anxiety, while remembering allows you to avoid repetition.
You Can Give Without Receiving
The ability to present someone with a gift and not expect anything in return speaks to your compassion for others. High EQ people think about others often. So, when someone has a conversation on a particular subject and then follows up by providing them with a book on the topic, it shows they have a high EQ.
It isn’t about giving a gift, it’s not about giving something to get something back. Instead, it’s indicative of their ability to build strong and healthy relationships.
Some people pride themselves on their ability to hold onto a grudge. However, the negative emotions that are connected to that grudge cause you stress. It constantly invites your body into a fight or flight state.
Stress can wreak serious havoc on your overall health and wellness. It can result in high blood pressure and lead to heart disease (https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/stress-and-heart-health). High EQ people understand the importance of stress management and letting go of grudges is a big part of that.
Toxic Waste Management
In terms of managing people, the most exasperating part is handling difficult people. High EQ people, though, manage toxic people by managing their own emotions. They take a rational approach to confrontations and they don’t allow their own emotions to fuel the situation.
Another key component to managing toxic people is the ability to see things from their perspective. This facilitates the conversation and helps find solutions.
This isn’t the same as self-sabotage. So many of us fuel our lives with caffeine. We are exhausted and always in need of a pick me up. The problem is that it keeps us in a constant state of hyper-awareness.
This can allow your emotions to run rampant. High EQ people don’t chase caffeine to fuel them because they know how detrimental it can be. That doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a cup, it means they don’t drink five of them before most people are awake.
Sleep is the key to managing stress and increasing EQ. it’s your brain’s chance to download memories and recharge your batteries. High EQ people understand that without sleep, their memory, focus, and self-control will suffer.
When you allow negative self-talk to continue you are giving it power and control over you. High EQ individuals deal with negative self-talk as soon as it appears. They do this by replacing these negative thoughts with positive affirmations. It’s natural for negative thoughts to crop up. It’s how your brain deals with a perceived threat. A high EQ person can sift through those negative thoughts and move them toward positivity.
If you derive your joy from others, then you are not the master of your happiness. That’s something that low EQ people do. When high EQ people feel great about an achievement they don’t let anyone get them down. You can’t turn off your natural reaction, but you can stop yourself from making comparisons. You can also learn to take opinions and reactions from others with a grain of salt. They don’t define your self-worth. You do.
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Martha is looking forward to the holidays. Every year, she starts to prepare early. From the finest decorations to recipes that tickle your taste buds in the most delightful way: Martha takes Christmas seriously.
What she loves most is that it's the only time of the year when the whole family gets together. Even her parents fly in from Florida.
She looks forward to her favorite holiday every year. Sadly, also every year what is supposed to be the festival of love turns into a huge fight.
Last year was extremely bad:
Martha was mad at everyone. She prepared for weeks and spent 2.5 days in the kitchen but nobody, really NOBODY, appreciated her hard work. Instead, everyone was complaining
Maurice, Martha's son, didn't hide how much he hated the whole thing. He was the only one of his friends who was forced to stay at home. All the others met for possibly the greatest party of the year. Nobody likes to be blackmailed. (In Martha's defense: she had no other choice than threatening that she wouldn't buy Maurice the car she promised for his 18th birthday)
Erin was crying for hours. She wanted a PlayStation. But her uncool parents bought an Xbox. An Xbox 360. Where did they even find it? In the "free stuff" section of Craigslist?
Martha's parents were seriously unhappy. They are not the youngest and traveling is exhausting. They came all the way from Florida to spend quality time with their daughter and grandchildren. The grandchildren were in a devilish mood while her daughter spent all of the time in the kitchen. They were stuck with Bill whom they never liked. Who`s Bill?
Bill, Martha's husband, has had it with Christmas. All he wants is a bit of silence and peace. Week-in, week-out he rushes from meeting to meeting and the last thing he wants to do in the little time he has to himself is entertaining grumpy in-laws, juggle ill-tempered kids and listen to horrible Christmas music
Would you like more Christmas music? Follow the link at the end of the post and order your free album with Christmas songs.
Why do we argue and fight on holidays?
Not just around Christmas, but also on vacations and other holidays: Often what is supposed to be a wonderful time turns into a stressful event.
Some of the nicest people I know turn into selfish monster who want to force their idea of an ideal vacation/holiday onto others.
There are several reasons that lead to this, for instance:
We're not used to spend so much time together
How to avoid fighting on holidays
The most important tip: Stay emphatic. Just like the rest of the year. Also:
Don't expect too much. You will not get along better with people than the rest of the year
Try not to force your idea of a perfect Christmas onto others. Everyone should be able to contribute their ideas and who doesn't want to participate shouldn't be forced to
Avoid fundamental debates. It's unlikely that you will find consent about a topic you disagreed on all year long at the Christmas table
If possible, split the work. Everyone could contribute and be responsible for a part of the Christmas festival
Don't force people to spend hours and hours together if they don't want to. It will only lead to arguments
Don't force them to do things they hate. For example: if your kids don't want to sing Christmas songs - don't make them
Don't overdo it. It doesn't have to be a 6-course menu. Consider preparing something festive but simple so that you are not already stressed out when it begins
Gifts are supposed to make people happy. If someone doesn't like their present, they should be allowed to say so. Keep in mind: It's not a rejection of your person
Procrastination around Christmas
An interesting phenomenon is procrastination around the Christmas. Are you interested in some effective tips how to eliminate it?
I wrote an article for you about this last year and, if you prefer, you can also listen to the audio edition.