We’re all intelligent—in one way or another. The architect uses a different kind of intelligence to a neurologist; a master carpenter is different to a scientist; a concert pianist to a mathematician; a motivational speaker to…well, you get the point.
There are different ways of acknowledging and measuring intelligence and the idea of a fixed IQ (Intelligence Quotient) as a way of determining how bright someone is has long been discarded. A high IQ does not necessarily translate into getting a great degree or running a business empire.
There’s one key intelligence, however, that I believe all successful individuals require—and that’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Studies have shown that people with high EQ are not only more likely to enjoy positive mental health, but also deliver superb, dedicated job performance, and rise to the top as powerful and skillful leaders.
Emotional Intelligence involves possessing and improving the following behaviors.
1. Self-Awareness. When your day is crammed with meetings and decisions it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of knee-jerk reactions and losing sight of your emotions. But if you take time to pause and reflect on your feelings about people and situations you will have an entirely new perspective. You’ll be able to identify the role that emotions are making in your decision-making process and pinpoint those that are good for you and that those that need to be moderated. The bottom line is that you want to avoid making decisions based on your emotion of the moment. Connect with the inner you. Work out who you truly are.
2. Empathy. Empathy is having the capacity to comprehend, appreciate and share the feelings of others. If you can develop this attribute you will find it is an extremely powerful force in your life. Once you are able to demonstrate to other people that you are considerate of their emotions and feelings you will find that they are much more willing to be supportive of you. You will earn their respect.
3. Happiness. Being happy—and spreading happiness—is at the core of emotional intelligence. Today’s society has many false yardsticks for measuring happiness—usually focused on money and power. But people with high levels of emotional intelligence are happiest when they are contributing to the happiness of others. Happy people work harder and more successfully than unhappy people. It costs nothing to spread a little happiness around—and to emotionally intelligent people it just comes naturally. Emotionally intelligent, emotionally secure human beings invigorate others.
4. Self-Regulation. Self-Regulation basically means that you become aware of the way you react emotionally, that you understand yourself to such an extent that you can honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. You take responsibility for your behavior and learn how to control your impulses for more favorable relationships in the future. People who self-regulate learn how to stop their emotions from taking charge and take time to think before they act. They accept that they are responsible for their emotions. They can calm themselves down when they’re angry and rally and get back into good spirits when they’re depressed.
5. Motivated and self-confident. Emotionally intelligent individuals can be decisive leaders who often believe in trusting their instincts. They’re motivated to seek success in the long-term and make short-term sacrifices en route. They’re motivated to evaluate challenges and calmly and quietly put solutions together. Emotionally intelligent entrepreneurs are motivated and driven in their quest to become number one. They relish their successes and are so confident about what they’ve achieved that they refuse to allow anyone’s negative opinions to get in the way. Their feelings of self-worth cannot be vanquished.
6. Social Skills. People who are emotionally intelligent have developed advanced social skills. They find it easy to interact with other people, genuinely wanting to discover what makes them tick and what they’re passionate about. Having good social skills also gives you the opportunity to be a person of influence in the community. If you’re socially responsible you show that you are concerned about everyone’s welfare—not just your own.
7. Forward-looking. Emotionally intelligent people don’t dwell on the past. They are secure in the knowledge that future success will stem from their remarkable gift to rise up again after failure. They can’t do this if they get bogged down in recriminations and reliving the past.
So, do you think your Emotional Intelligence is good enough? Which of these traits do you exhibit? Embrace as many of these behaviors as you can and you won’t be a slave to your emotions. You’ll find that your professional (and personal) relationships will mature and your likelihood of success will improve.
To become a winner you need to understand and, if necessary, change the way your emotions and actions impact those who work with you and for you. Emotional Intelligence requires honing interpersonal skills; the better able you are to relate to the needs of others the more successful you will become.
Intelligence is a form of art. You decide how to create your masterpiece by absorbing all the variables you can.