Today we are going to discuss about how to manage your emotions. For that we would have dive deep into understanding what emotional intelligence is, what emotional quotient is. What are its components and much more? This podcast is about exploring what Emotional Intelligence is. How we can acquire it and achieve further growth towards our goals using higher Emotional Quotient (EQ) as a tool.
So, lets dive straight in.
What is Emotional Intelligence: Going by the definition, “Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” Now, let’s understand this little better. There are two primary factors that affect any results that you want to achieve. First is how you are performing. Your work or your behavior. Your decisions. What you do as an individual. Second is your relationships around you that enable you to achieve your results better. Can be your team or colleagues, can be your friends or family members can be your network or social circles. Your achievements are not just your efforts alone. Its always supported or enabled by other people. And your relationship with those people decides how much would they support or enable. Now, your behavior and relationships that affect your goals are dependent on your awareness and management of your emotions. How well you understand and manage your emotions, how well you can utilize this to manage your behavior and relationships is your emotional intelligence.
Before we understand the definition and the components of Emotional intelligence better, let me share with you some statistics so that you understand why Emotional intelligence is so important:
· EQ does not have any correlation with IQ.
· EQ accounts for about 58% of performance in most jobs.
· People with high EQ make significantly higher salary than people with low EQ, on average.
· People with average IQs outperform people with high IQs 70% of the time due to their higher EQ.
Now, it is believed that people are born with their IQ. Learning facts over the years of life does not change their IQ. Meaning your IQ at the age of 15 would be like your IQ at the age of 35 or more. Unlike IQ, EQ can be substantially increased with your efforts. Our brains are wired in such a way that our first reaction to any event would be an emotional one. Only about 36% of people in the world can accurately identify their own emotions as they happen.
Now, there are four main skills that make up Emotional Intelligence. Its pretty straight forward. In the broader category, it can be divided into two main components called the Personal Competence and the Social competence. Personal Competence consists of Self Awareness and Self-Management. Social Competence Consists of Social Awareness and Relationship Management. Imagine a graph if you may.
Let’s understand the first skill, Self-Awareness. People who are high in self-awareness understand what they do well, what motivates and satisfies them, and which people and situations push their buttons. They are aware of their emotions. What causes those emotions. How they react to the triggers. This is the foundational emotional intelligence skill. Now, the important thing to pay attention here is, not to judge any emotion as good or bad. Happiness or Anger, to be aware of what emotion you are going through without labeling it as good or bad is what makes you self-aware. Let’s take a baby for example. The baby can be happy or sad. That emotion can’t be forced or removed. Observing what makes the baby happy or sad is important. Labelling either emotion good or bad may not be the best thing to do. In the same way, observing your emotion is important instead of judging whether it’s good or bad or forcing to have or not have a particular emotion.
The next component of EQ is Self-Management. By definition “Self-management is your ability to use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively.” This involves you to focus on your long-term goals and having the ability to put your immediate needs aside for those long-term goals. So, once you are aware what emotions you feel and what triggers those emotions, you can train your mind to prioritize how to allow some emotions to take charge and some emotions to be handled later. Let’s take an example. Imagine you have a colleague or a team member who you like a lot, but he/she isn’t great at the job. You are considering firing him/her, and you can use the emotion vs reason list to sort out what the best course of action is. Now, Self-management comes into play how well you can deal with such sensitive situation of termination. To be sensitive, yet direct and to the point. To be patient with high standard of conduct yet doing the required difficult step.
A big part of self-management is learning to balance your logical and emotional sides. One way you can do this is by making an emotion vs. reason list. You may draw two columns. In the first column, write what your emotions want you to do. In the second column, write down what logical reasoning tells you to do. This exercise will help you keep both sides balanced so one doesn’t dominate over the other. When you compare them, take note of which side has the stronger points. You might realize maybe your emotions are clouding your judgment. Or other times, there can be holes in your logic. Either way, you would be making better decision.
Coming to the third skill. This is the first skill of social competence. The skill of Social awareness. It is the ability to recognize the emotions in other people and understand what is really happening in a situation. So, the normal tendency can be to think what you want to say next or to try to anticipate what the other person will say, however when you have high social awareness you would have the ability to objectively observe and understand human behavior. a perspective much like an anthropologist. Let’s take an example. Imagine you are in a meeting. A room full of people attending and you are the one presenting. Now you may be the most talented or the most knowledgeable person presenting, but if you fail to understand that the audience is not interested or not paying attention to your presentation, it would be failed, no matter how well you presented. On the other hand, if you can sense the emotions in the room, connect with your audience and deliver the presentation that they receive, that means you were socially aware to understand their emotions. In this case, even if you presented slightly poorly, you successfully did the job well.
The next skill and most complex skill of Emotional Intelligence is Relationship management. It is using your self-awareness and social awareness of emotions to successfully manage your relations with others. To manage your interactions with other, both in the moment and over time. For example, if you recognize your colleague reacts badly to criticism, you can give him/her feedback in different ways. Instead of making it negative feedback or complain you can share it as a scope of improvement. Feedback for rectification. This will in turn improve your relationship.
Another example, say you need to thank your colleagues or team members for all the hard work they’ve done. But this morning you and your spouse got into a big fight. You don’t really feel like smiling. You might rush through your speech without smiling, you probably won’t come across as sincere. Even though you want to thank your team, your body language and the message won’t match.
Now, the question arises, how to increase your EQ. The answer to that is simple. You would need to improve each of the four skills of EQ. How to do that? You should focus on only one EQ component at a time. Pick one skill that you want to work on first. Observe, practice, and improve that skill. While you do that, recognize relevant emotional patterns being formed, create new habits using the improved skill. If you try to simultaneously implement more than that, you probably won’t be able to focus enough to recognize the relevant emotional patterns and create new habits. Keep assessing your progress and changes in your way of behavior, reactions, way of thinking. You could also have a buddy or a mentor to constantly track your progress.
Overall, there are three lessons to take away-
Lesson 1: Become emotionally intelligent by developing self-awareness, self-management, emotional understanding, and connection skills. If you want to improve your EQ, you need to know there are four basic components.
Lesson 2: Balance your logical and emotional sides to become excellent at managing yourself.
Lesson 3: A core part of EQ is the ability to build maintain strong relationships. One way you can do this is by checking your body language to make sure you aren’t sending mixed signals. Not just your voice but your body and your behavior convey a lot about how you feel, so make sure you’re sending the right signals. Great communication means saying the same thing with your body that you are with your mouth.
There are various strategies that can be used to improve each of the respective skills. To learn more about those strategies, do leave your comments.
P.S. This article is based on inputs from the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.