What is emotional intelligence? Why is emotional intelligence important? What are the types of emotional intelligence? What are the signs of emotional intelligence? Can one learn how to control own emotions? If you find yourself seeking answers to these or more questions, this article is for you.
My name is Sean Galla, a men’s group facilitator for more than ten years, and I know all about emotional intelligence. Part of my facilitating work involves introducing men to emotional intelligence, which is vital in everyday life. In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about emotional intelligence, including how to become emotionally intelligent.
Table of Contents:
About Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, commonly abbreviated as EI or EQ, can be defined as a person’s ability to recognize, control and evaluate their emotions. Wikipedia defines it as ‘the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions.’
If you are keen to observe people, you have probably met people, whether co-workers or family members, who are empathic, excellent listeners with excellent communication skills. They seem to know the right thing to say in every situation and even have the right words to ensure the right delivery, even when using body language. These people are often caring, compassionate, and considerate and strive to leave you feeling optimistic.
Others always seem to have control over their emotional state. They will seldom show anger or frustration no matter how difficult a situation is. Instead, they work calmly to find a solution. These types of people are excellent at decision-making and trust their intuition. Regardless of their self-confidence, they take criticism positively and always look for growth opportunities.
These two illustrations describe people who practice emotional intelligence and social intelligence. These people are self-aware and aware of other people’s emotional needs. They can be described as emotionally intelligent.
People who exhibit high emotional intelligence can recognize their emotions and the emotions of others. They often see emotional information as a guide to their thinking and behavior, discerning different feelings and labeling them appropriately, and adjusting emotions to adapt to different environments for their well-being.
While the term emotional intelligence has been them since the 60s, it became globally popular thanks to Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence. In this book, Goleman defines emotional intelligence as a range of skills and characteristics that drive performance and leadership.
It is essential for humans to master the art of emotional awareness while still possessing competencies like the ability to interpret, understand and respond to other people’s emotions. Some specialists argue that high eq is more important than IQ (intelligence quotient) when it comes to leading a successful life.
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How Is It Measured?
Just like IQ tests, numerous assessments have been developed to measure emotional intelligence. Generally, these tests fall into one of two categories, ability tests or self-report tests.
These are the most common tests used to measure emotional intelligence and are easier to administer and score. One is asked to answer a series of questions or confirm statements by rating their behavior on these tests.
On the other hand, ability tests require individuals to respond to situations while assessing their imagination, and cognition skills. These tests need the person to use their abilities and interpersonal skills, rated by an observer, sometimes a mental health professional. Two standard measures used for ability testing include:
This is an ability-based test that assesses the four branches of Mayer and Salovey’s EI model. The test-taker performs some tasks designed to rate their ability to identify, perceive, understand, and manage emotions.
Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI)
This is based on the Self-Assessment Questionnaire answered by people who know the individual by rating a person’s abilities in different emotional competencies. This test evaluates social and emotional abilities that distinguish people as strong leaders.
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Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?
While it is a common misconception, the smartest people are not always the most successful or enjoy a more fulfilled life. Some brilliant academic individuals are unsuccessful in their job performance or personal life because of a lack of social awareness and self-management.
Having a high IQ alone is not enough to achieve all-rounded success. While it makes it easier to attain academic scholarships and accolades, it is not helpful for emotional and stress management.
On the other hand, having high emotional intelligence skills can go a long way in making it easier for individuals to manage their emotions and stress levels even in the most challenging circumstances. The good news is that IQ and EQ can co-exist and are, in fact, most effective when used together.
The Five Components
In his Amazon bestseller book, Daniel Goleman states that emotional intelligence comprises five important components:
This refers to a person’s ability to understand their moods and the effect they have on their surroundings. Self-awareness can manifest as self-control, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humor.
A person’s ability to redirect or control disruptive moods and impulses. It is also the inclination to think before acting.
Motivation is a man’s driving force besides status and money. A deeper motivation pushes you to continue going even when faced with challenges. It is a dedication to succeed.
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The proverbial ability to walk in someone else’s shoes is Empathy. Empathy allows you to see things from another’s point of view and emotional standpoint.
refer to your ability to meet and build relationships around you and not just on social media. Your ability to find common ground and motivate others to join in.
When someone masters these five categories, they can be said to have achieved emotional intelligence.
Proficiency in emotional intelligence has become an important skill for people interested in working with people. Career options that involve management and teamwork, like social work, nursing, management roles, and the service industry, require candidates to exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence.
Signs of High Emotional Intelligence
You can tell whether someone is emotionally intelligent by following a few verbal and non-verbal cues. The five common traits of emotionally intelligent people include:
Emotionally intelligent people have learned their triggers. This makes it easy to avoid or overcome them.
Ability to self-regulate
Emotionally intelligent people register their emotions and make decisions based on emotional information.
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Ability to listen
People with high EQ have mastered the art of listening, which helps them read non-verbal cues to understand the message and speaker more.
Responding and not reacting
Emotional intelligence makes you better at assessing situations and exploring feelings before responding with logic.
High EQ people are effective communicators. They articulate their thoughts, emotions, and feelings while maintaining appropriateness in different settings.
Low Emotional Intelligence
The opposite of high EQ is low EQ. To improve your emotional intelligence, you first need to know your level of emotional intelligence.
Low emotional intelligence is the inability to perceive emotions accurately in yourself and others. People who can sense their feelings and others’ but do not know how to use the emotional information to guide their actions and thinking can also have a low emotional quotient or EQ.
Signs of low EQ include:
- The need to always be right and refuse to listen to conflicting ideas even when confronted with proof.
- Blaming others for their shortcomings instead of holding yourself accountable for your deeds
- Lack of understanding of appropriate and inappropriate timing.
- Inability to recognize other people’s feelings or emotions.
- Poor coping skills when confronted with emotional situations and preferring to hide emotions to avoid confrontation or addressing an issue.
- Emotional outbursts lead to regular outbursts as a way of coping.
- Struggles with relationships caused by emotional unavailability
- Wanting to dominate conversations while making everything about themselves.
Low emotional intelligence can cause numerous issues in one’s life. If you feel that you may have low emotional intelligence, there are skills and behaviors you can adopt to increase your EQ.
How To Improve Emotional Intelligence
Become an active listener
Emotionally intelligent people listen for clarity while waiting for their turn to speak. They take time to understand what is being communicated before responding while paying attention to the nonverbal details of a conversation, like facial expressions and body language.
Practice assertive communication
Assertive communication is the ideal way of earning respect without coming off as passive or aggressive. Emotionally intelligent people can effectively communicate their opinions while maintaining respect for others.
Be open to constructive criticism
Part of growing your emotional intelligence is learning how to take a critique. While most people would get offended or defensive, high EQ people strive to understand where the issue is coming from and how it affects others. This way, they can resolve issues constructively.
Utilize your leadership skills
Emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with excellent leadership skills. People with high emotional intelligence set high standards for themselves and strive to be good examples for others. Learn how to take the initiative and cultivate excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills. This will propel you to a higher and more productive level of performance in life and at work.
Practiced the five categories of emotional intelligence
The five categories of emotional intelligence are the roots on which the whole practice is based. You need to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.
Join a support group
Sometimes the best way to cultivate new skills is to have someone holding you accountable. To master emotional intelligence, you can consider joining a support group like Men’s Group. This group comprises like-minded men interested in self-improvement and personal growth. By joining a support group, you can work on your communication and social skills while making new friends in an all-male environment.
There are numerous benefits associated with having high emotional intelligence. This article highlights all the critical aspects of emotional intelligence, including how to cultivate the skills. By utilizing the steps highlighted, you will be on the right path to higher emotional intelligence.
If you are a man interested in emotional intelligence, Men’s Group is one of the best support and accountability forums available for men today. The support and push you get from being part of a group will ensure you attain your goal in no time while making new male friends.