Emotional Quotient

The Emotional Quotient: An Integral Key to Successful Leadership and Successful Organizations

We’re often in awe of people with high IQ’s, or intelligence quotients. Neil De Grasse Tyson, Steven Hawking, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Nye — the list goes on and on. Having high IQ is undoubtedly a key to success. But less often discussed or celebrated is EQ, or emotional quotient.

Besides being much more difficult to gauge and measure, EQ isn’t about making waves or publishing studies and journals. It’s about handling even the most mundane tasks and jobs, it’s about the capacity to take what life throws at you. But many will agree that this emotional quotient plays an equal — maybe even larger — role in a person’s and an organization’s success.

What is the emotional quotient, anyway?

Like we mentioned before, EQ stands for emotional quotient. Psychology Today defines EQ as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” Cited in PsychCentral, Howard Gardner, a theorist from Harvard, adds that “EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them.” The term itself is fairly new, having been coined by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, who wrote the book “Emotional Intelligence” in 1996.

It’s important to realize that both the success of individuals and organizations depend on EQ, as the ability to read signals from others plays a big role on how business is conducted internally and externally. Emotions have the power to impact both the self and others in a negative or positive way, especially when faced with challenging or high-pressure situations.

As such, people are encouraged to develop a more mature emotional quotient so that they/we have a better understanding and empathy with others. Especially given the more global and more interconnected nature of the market and business today, having a developed and mature emotional quotient is essential for all kinds of negotiation and communication.

>> Recommended reading: How to Improve Self Confidence and 5 Mistakes to Avoid

The five categories of EQ

Researchers point to five major categories of emotional intelligence:

1. Self-awareness

This is sort of self-explanatory. But in essence it’s about recognizing emotion at a given moment. One needs to be in-tune with his or her own feelings in order to be more self-aware. The more self-aware you are, the better you can manage your emotions control what comes out. Self-awareness is comprised of one’s sense, grasp and certainty about his or her worth, skills, abilities and value — self-confidence, of you will — and emotional awareness, which is turn is the capability to recognize one’s own emotions and feelings, as well as what their effect is on one’s attitude, demeanor, and decision-making.

2. Self-regulation

Not every emotion is a positive one. Especially when negative emotions like anger or anxiety kick in, self-regulation is the ability to keep those feelings in check. To not only suppress it, but to eventually, consciously do away with it. Self-regulation encompasses one’s capacity for self-control, flexibility and adaptability, creativity and innovation, honesty and integrity, and accountability.

3. Motivation

Motivation is all about pushing yourself forward and enabling yourself to be the best you can be. This involves setting goals and accomplishing them within a given timeframe. Closely related to self-regulation, motivation is what comes after — the drive to get over negative emotions and find a positive driver to help you move forward. Motivation is all about commitment, initiative, positive thinking, and the drive to achieve goals.

>> Recommended reading: Motivation at Work: Take the Test and Find Out Your Profile

4. Empathy

If self-awareness is looking inward, empathy is about looking outward towards the emotions of others. This allows you to relate to others and establish better rapport with them. This is not simply commiseration, as when this is applied in business, empathy means recognizing and understanding customer needs and wants, helping to develop other people in the organization, recognizing the value of diversity, and understanding the dynamics of how other people currently relate to each other.

5. Social skills

Given that people across the globe are more interconnected today, developing social skills is essential when it comes to achieving success. A high emotional quotient will allow people to better negotiate, understand and relate to others — people skills, if you will. Be it in a position of influence, improving communication between different parties, leading people, initiating change (for the better), nurturing and developing professional relationships, and collaborating with others, social skills are needed in order to succeed.

Why emotional quotient is essential for good leadership and success

Especially for leaders, having a high emotional quotient is essential for success. For example, self-awareness helps leaders determine if a decision is being made because of personal bias or interest. Leaders with a high EQ will see things as they really are and make more sound decisions. In the same vein, leaders with high EQ will also be able to make assessments of how, for example, any good or bad news may impact other members of the organization, allowing him or her to develop a strategy for others to maintain or even improve productivity levels regardless of what’s happening in the background. A leader with a high EQ is also a means of support for others he or she works, allowing for a better state of mind and larger contributions to the organization. It’s a win-win thing, actually.

According to international psychologist Daniel Goleman, even in young children, teaching them social and emotional intelligence resulted in a significant improvement in several facets of their school life. They saw improvement in grades and academic accomplishments, as well as lower incidents of misbehavior and other disciplinary issues. They also tended to come to school more often.

Having a high emotional quotient helps leaders have a better and more accurate grasp of situations, as well as the people involved in them.

>> Recommended reading: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Laissez-Faire Leadership

Developing a high emotional quotient

So how is a high EQ developed? Can it really be developed in the first place?

The short of it is “Yes”. One thing you should practice is to pause and think about things for a bit. Don’t always be in a rush, assess the situation, and then make a decision. People with a high EQ also seek to control their thoughts, filtering out distractions and learning to focus on the task at hand.

Assess how you feel

Self-awareness can be developed and improved. Take the time to assess what your emotional strengths and weaknesses are, and try to determine if and how your emotional state affects the way you make decisions. Also ask yourself if and how the expressions and emotions you show on the surface affect others and their own decision-making.

>> Recommended reading: Best Qualities of a Good Leader and 5 Steps to Becoming

Take a step back

This simply means take a bit of time to just stop and take things in. Pause and reflect. Don’t be too hasty in making decisions and try to take a good measure of things. Remember that sometimes the best course of action is doing nothing.

Exercise some thought-control

The way you think affects the way you feel and what you do, so if you think exercising some control over what you’re thinking is a pointless exercise, think again. And while you often cannot control what emotions you feel at a given moment, the way you react and respond to them is something you have control over. Thought-control also helps you dissociate yourself from harmful and negative emotions, allowing you to make sounder, more objective decisions.

Don’t shy away from criticism

Criticism has gotten a bad rep in recent years, thanks to people who are all about just having “good vibes”. And criticism is something that’s definitely a good vibes killer.

But the thing about real criticism is that it can help you. Sure, it usually points to something negative, but that also means you know what needs to be changed (some critics will even be as kind to suggest how you can change). There is no growth in a bubble filled with back-patters and people who only know how to congratulate you. Welcoming criticism means seeing a path to self and even organizational growth and development. In organizations, this means listening to customer concerns and understanding what they want — something that time, research and bottom lines have shown to be a successful approach to take.

In the same vein, you also know how to give feedback of your own — constructive, helpful, insightful, and honest. Your goal is not to deliver a put down, but to help develop others.

Be sincere and authentic

This means sticking to your values and principles, even when push comes to shove. Take note, there’s a difference between being authentic and sincere and being frank and tactless. In fact, having a high EQ means that you know what to say at the right time, in the right way and at the right place — and that’s while keeping true to yourself and being truthful.

>> Recommended reading: Effective Leadership: Why It’s Important And How It’s Achieved

Focusing on the right things

Having a developed and mature emotional quotient is an essential key to success. It’s about focusing on the right things and removing the unnecessary. This is why tools like Runrun.it’s Smart Time Tracking does all the work for you, providing timekeeping records, and other related data, allowing you to focus on what’s truly important in developing yourself and your organization. You’ll be able to track project progress, and how people are managing their time.

This in turn can help you step in to provide help and support when needed, and reallocating resources to other endeavors. The dashboard feature gives you access to a customized suite of other workflow management and task tracking tools that will help with better organizing and managing your business. To see how Runrun.it’s tools can work for you, try out the free trial here.


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