Why Emotional Intelligence is Critical at Work and Home

One of the “big buzz” words over the last several years has been Emotional Intelligence, but what is that exactly?

According to Howard Gardner, emotional intelligence refers to the level at which an individual can understand people, their motivations and how to work with others in a team.

emotional intelligenceFor many people emotional intelligence reigns supreme over their actual IQ. That may sound strange but if you stop to think about it, Emotional Intelligence touches every sphere of our lives.

Success as an individual and professionally hinges on the ability to work with and understand others.

It is important for everyone to be able to develop the skills of emotional intelligence to better understand, empathize and negotiate with others. And, YES… these are learnable skills.

To really understand why emotional intelligence should invade both the home and the office, let’s look at the five major aspects that determine EQ:

  1. Self-awareness:

    When a person has a healthy sense of self they are quite aware of their weaknesses and strengths. This person is aware that their actions affect others and accept criticism positively. This is someone who has “tuned in” to themselves.

  2. Self regulation:

    This is when a person reveals what they truly feel but at the same time use restraint/self – control to effectively communicate. They think first before immediately reacting. This means that they can adapt, innovate and very importantly, de-escalate rather than inflame a situation.

  3. Motivation:

    These are people who make effort and take initiative. They drive themselves towards the bigger picture. This is an internal drive; it comes from within. They demonstrate optimism, resiliency and commitment.

  4. Empathy:

    These are people who can recognize and perceive the emotions/state of others. They meet you at a point of need and respond accordingly and genuinely. These are the ones who take time to show others how something is done and are aware of what is “in the air” politically or socially.

  5. People skills:

    These people just click with others easily. They have good rapport skills and can build trust quickly with others. They catalyze change, create bonding, great communicators and are leaders.

Signs that you Lack Emotional Intelligence

There are many signs that someone may be lacking in EQ but here are some of the big ones:

  1. You are easily stressed.
  2. You have a problem asserting yourself and establishing boundaries.
  3. Your emotional vocabulary is limited.
  4. You are quick to make assumptions and defend them vehemently.
  5. You hold grudges.
  6. You always feel misunderstood.
  7. You don’t get angry. (yes, you read that correctly: you don’t get angry.)
  8. You don’t know what triggers you.
  9. You blame others for how you feel.

Here’s the good news: you can improve your EQ. Make an honest assessment about your weaknesses and strengths. By doing so, you will be able to know your triggers and motivations. Remember, self-awareness is a BIG piece of this puzzle.

The Business World is recognizing the importance of EQ

What do these people have in common?

  • Jeff Bezo, Amazon.Com.

  • Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway.

  • Jamie Dimon, JPMorganChase.

  • Howard Schultz, StarBucks.

These leaders are actively acknowledging and implementing tools to enhance their corporate cultures, increase productivity and acquire/retain top talent. The biggest reason, however, comes back to conflict management.

Conflicts are inevitable but how they are managed will be the difference between it a catastrophe (legally, financially, personally, reputation, etc.) or an opportunity. Albeit, an uncomfortable opportunity.

Management with high EQs will facilitate professional growth and productive communication.  In the instances where conflict has escalated to legal levels, bringing an outside neutral/mediator is the most cost effective, confidential and objective solution.

Whatever you may be contending with at work (or any part of your life), you can be sure that your EQ will be part of the solution, and in many cases, part of the initial conflict, as well!

How you say something will always be as important as what needs to be discussed. Trust me…Your EQ skillset will make all the difference when you approach the tough situations.

“They may forget what you said – but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buehner

Laura Dawn

Laura Dawn Ouin is the founder of Third Coast Mediation & Consulting in Dallas, Texas, and is passionate about conflict resolution, communication and education. On a personal note, coffee AND tea lover, morning person, travel bug and dog whisperer.

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