The so-called emotional intelligence (EQ) is very popular nowadays and IQ solves this. In fact, recent research shows that employees with high levels of emotional intelligence advance faster in the company than those who are supposedly “very smart.”
Improving emotional intelligence
According to surveys on the importance of different types of intelligence, 62 percent of respondents consider emotional intelligence and IQ to be equally important. 34% of those surveyed even consider emotional intelligence to be more important.
But where did this sudden surge in emotional intelligence come from? The experts are perplexed, but make a plausible assumption: at a time when most of the interpersonal communication takes place through digital portals or mobile phones, more and more people have difficulty with direct social contact. Chatting with strangers, figuring out their needs, or being successful in a team are skills that are currently lacking.
In addition, the rapidly increasing number of mental illnesses such as burnout raises awareness of interpersonal relationships and factors that go beyond balance or performance optimization. Companies need highly intelligent people to support interpersonal relationships, mediation and sustainable team building. But it is this much-needed emotional intelligence that seems to be lacking right now. Thus, it is at the same time a new key to professional success.
What does “EQ” mean?
EQ describes emotional intelligence and is comparable to IQ. However, while IQ mainly includes skills such as memory, fast data processing, logical thinking or reasoning, EQ describes a person’s ability in the following areas: humanity, self-confidence, empathy, compassion, communication skills, tact , politeness, teamwork and so on.
Emotional intelligence cannot be measured using numbers or tests. Consequently, it cannot be certified or obtained at school. Therefore, more and more companies are trying to develop a score for finding employees with high levels of emotional intelligence. This is necessary for a good working atmosphere, as well as for effective and well-coordinated teamwork.
Although in the 1980s science considered IQ to be the most important factor in professional success, it now believes that emotional intelligence matters much more. However, this is not really a new development. Rather, it now seems to be finally seen and integrated into day-to-day business life.
When is emotional intelligence useful?
Emotional intelligence may not have been as important in the 80s as it is today. But it turns out to be especially useful in a new, digital and complex world. Permanent stability or security is a thing of the past. People need to cope with the rapid development and at the same time be able to cope with higher levels of stress, instability and lack of job security. This ensures that emotions find their place in daily work.
At the same time, there is no place in business for feelings or human weaknesses. The vicious circle that manifests itself in disease today is mainly due to psychological complaints. Therefore, we are looking for emotionally intelligent employees who are aware of their own feelings, as well as those of their colleagues, and can deal with them, rather than add fuel to the fire.
The main reason for the high number of mental illnesses is not an increase in deadline pressures or job complexity, but rather that employees fall into unhealthy selfishness, no longer support each other, or even begin to express their frustration with bullying. Everyone is worried about their job, and everyone is fighting for themselves.
What happens if emotional intelligence is absent?
In theory, this all sounds very abstract. In practice, however, this mechanism is very shocking: for example, 80 percent of all plane crashes are due to pilot errors that could have been avoided. They could have been prevented if the crew were more coordinated in their work. This also happens in everyday work, when a project fails, the number of orders drops. If there is no EQ at top management, productivity drops, high turnover, high sick leave, addiction problems and low team spirit begin.
Five components of emotional intelligence
Science divides emotional intelligence into five distinct components. The first three relate to oneself, the last two to the outside world:
- Self-confidence: People can only be socially competent if they are able to first sense their own feelings. It is about self-perception, observing feelings and reactions to them. As a result, emotionally intelligent people can make better, faster decisions, act more objectively, more purposefully, and appear more confident. In the long term, people with high EQs are healthier due to their self-confidence and are less prone to mental illness.
- Self-regulation: The second factor builds on the previous one because only those who are aware of their own feelings can react accordingly. It is based on the knowledge that we ourselves can control our feelings and that we always unconsciously react in the same way as in the case of our past experiences. Consequently, if you can make decisions independently and by adjusting to the situation, and not let your emotions deceive you, you will make better decisions.
- Self-motivation: The third factor can also be termed enthusiasm or passion. It’s about the ability to set personal goals, enjoy work, and stay motivated over the long term. To do this, a person must be able to suppress negative feelings and mobilize positive feelings from within and without external pressure. By the way, this is the secret of the success of every famous athlete.
- Empathy: Now about two external factors. A high level of emotional intelligence also includes a high level of empathy. It describes the ability to perceive the thoughts and feelings of others and respond to them accordingly. It is based on knowledge of human nature and interpersonal sympathy. Especially in professional life, it is unusual to express in words how you feel about your coworkers or your boss. Instead, an emotionally intelligent person can interpret the gestures, facial expressions, posture, and sound of the other person’s voice. Scientific tests show that empathic people are more popular, more successful, and emotionally stable.
- Social competence: This should be understood as a response to empathy. Now you know how the other person feels. Socially competent people also know how to react to this. It is easier for them to establish and maintain relationships. An important characteristic at a time when networking can lift a company or destroy it.
Can You Learn Emotional Intelligence?
Opinions were divided on this issue. Most people believe that emotional intelligence is either learned in infancy or not. However, experts also believe that it can at least be trained and optimized. Better emotional management ultimately leads not only to greater professional success, but also to better well-being and a healthier and happier life. Here are some tips for boosting your EQ:
- Train your self-awareness! Practice perceiving yourself and your feelings and reflecting them daily at specific times, such as when you wake up in the morning or when you go to bed in the evening.
- Identify your patterns, such as early warning systems or angry reactions. Read a good book! Yes, reading teaches. Look for a novel, not a popular science book, and try to put yourself in the shoes of the characters. Enter into an internal dialogue!
- Learn to relax, consciously control your thoughts, and dose your reactions accordingly. To do this, you can try different relaxation mechanisms such as meditation, yoga, or autogenic training. Psychotherapy can also help with difficult cases.
- Do not doubt! React more consciously and only make a decision once before responding. During a certain period of time, for example, a day or a week, ponder each of your answers, your actions, your reactions – soon you will begin to live much more consciously.
- Do not hurry! It makes sense to schedule a fixed schedule on your calendar. Just ten minutes a day can go a long way.
- Exercise! Physical activity is always associated with mental activity, so sports can help replenish your energy reserves and at the same time become more aware of yourself, your body and your thoughts.
- Become an actor! In fact, even being a part of a small acting troupe can already work wonders, because here you learn to put yourself in the shoes of another character.
Even in personal life, emotional intelligence is an extremely important factor. Emotional intelligence is the decisive criterion for choosing a partner. So go for it – knowing and working with your EQ can do wonders in your life!