Our last post looked at the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) and how it is a key factor in the success of top performers. Indeed, EQ, which involves the ability to connect with people and form relationships, is an essential ingredient in most powerful personal brands, and is also correlated with stronger relationships, better health and a positive outlook on life.
Research has shown our level of EQ is not genetically “fixed”, nor does it stop developing beyond adolescence. Unlike IQ, EQ can be developed throughout a lifetime, and the competencies that factor into it can be learned and developed. As a result, you have the ability to strengthen your personal brand by working on your EQ.
But before we jump into how to improve your level of EQ, it’s important to get a sense of what your level of EQ is in order to know what areas to focus on. Understanding your EQ skills can also help reveal new information that can enhance self-awareness. By simply becoming aware of your weaknesses (and strengths), you are already working toward greater emotional intelligence.
Just as IQ tests were developed to measure cognitive ability, psychologists and researchers have developed psychometrics for testing emotional intelligence. These measures are often administered and interpreted by qualified professionals, and typically require respondents to rate how they would react to a series of emotional events. While I certainly recommend psychometrically sound instruments (and offer them as part of our personal branding assessment), you don’t necessarily need formal testing to gain a better understanding of how emotionally intelligent you are. I’ve therefore pulled together the following questions to get you thinking about your level of EQ, based on Garder’s five components of emotional intelligence (detailed in my last post). While these questions will provide just a “snap shot” of your general EQ skills, it’s important to answer them openly and honestly if you do intend to improve your skills. After all, the first step to developing EQ is taking a long, hard look in the mirror!
- Can you identify your emotions and understand what they are telling you?
- Are you aware of your personal beliefs about yourself, others and the world, and how they affect your feelings and behaviours?
- Are you aware of how your emotions and actions impact those around you?
- Do you know what your top values are and whether you are living in accordance with them?
- Are you aware of both your strengths and weaknesses?
- Are you actively engaging in any activities for self-improvement/ personal growth?
- Are you generally able to stay calm and in control of your verbal and physical behaviour during stressful situations?
- Do you have effective stress reduction techniques?
- Do you stop and think before you act?
- Do you hold yourself personally accountable for your behaviour?
- Do you consider yourself adaptable and flexible with change and open to new ideas?
- Do you think through decisions carefully?
- Do you generally feel energized by your day-to-day work?
- Are you striving to improve your situation or to meet a “standard of excellence”?
- Do you have short, medium and long-term goals and consistently work towards them?
- Do you have high (but realistic) standards for your work?
- Are you able to find at least one good thing in a failure or when faced with a challenge?
- Can you easily put yourself in someone else’s position?
- Do you refrain from labeling or judging others?
- Do you help others to develop and shine?
- Are you perceptive to the body language of others (e.g., crossing arms, biting lip or averting gaze)?
- Are you attentive to your own body language and the signals you might be giving to others?
- Are you a “good listener” (e.g., using reflective listening skills or allowing the person to speak without interruption)?
5. Social skills
- Would you generally consider yourself an effective communicator?
- Are you successful at getting others behind you (e.g., on a new project or mission)?
- Are you generally comfortable expressing your feelings and needs to others?
- Do you frequently give positive feedback and praise when it’s earned?
- Are you generally good at resolving conflicts diplomatically?
- Do you believe you don’t always need credit or acknowledgement for your work?
You’ve probably guessed that someone with high EQ would answer YES to the above. Take stock of your No’s. Our next post will offer specific strategies that you can tailor to your individual EQ skill set.