What’s your EQ?

If you haven’t heard of the acronym EQ yet, prepare to become familiar with it in the coming years. While IQ is your ability to process information and logic, EQ is your ability to process emotions — both yours and others. 

Let’s consider an example. We’ll call him Ron. Ron is great at his job. His skill set has helped advance his department. He’s efficient and well-rounded. But (and it’s a big “but”)…watch out for Ron in meetings. He’s likely to say something offensive, even if he didn’t really mean it. 

We all know a Ron, and we likely have one in our office. This person’s reactions are just “off”. Their voice intonation or mannerisms are a bit abrasive. This is where emotional intelligence (EQ) comes in. While we can hope that others improve their EQ, we can actively work on raising our own. When we do, our professional and personal relationships improve. Read on for some clear steps to raise your own EQ.

Make self-awareness your mantra

The thing about self-awareness is, well, the awareness part. We don’t know what we don’t know, so take a cue from friends and family. Have you been told that your reactions (verbal or otherwise) are a little funny sometimes? Carefully consider these comments. Have your relationships taken a backseat to technology? Put your phone away completely from time to time and tune into the conversation. Lastly, understand your triggers. If the conversation is edging toward an uncomfortable topic, know when to lean in and when to gracefully exit. 

Steer the ship 

While our emotions often demand an outward reaction from us, part of being emotionally intelligent is knowing when to reveal and when to conceal. Before you fire off that email calling out a coworker, give it a full night’s rest. You may find yourself in a different headspace the next day, grateful you didn’t hit send. If you’ve given it adequate consideration, have a one-to-one conversation with the person. What’s the moral of the story? 99% of the time, your gut reaction is not your friend. 

Practice empathy

Each person has their own lens. When personalities and views collide in one office space, empathy is key to keeping things on track. Avoid judgment and try to see things through the eyes of others. Remember that empathy is not agreeing; it is attempting to understand. And, it gets easier the more you practice! We don’t always get it right, so be willing to throw in an “I’m sorry” from time to time. 

While we may not have a lot of hope for Ron, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your professional and personal life from working on your own EQ; look forward to improved mental health, higher-quality relationships and many more benefits. 

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