Developing your 'EQ' - Am I emotionally intelligent?

From an early age, a great deal of importance is placed on our intelligence level – whether this is passing exams at school or demonstrating how much we know about our jobs at work.  How many times have we congratulated ourselves on an A grade?  But, no matter how much we know and how clever we are perceived to be, we have all felt emotion at some time – both positive and negative.  What’s that you’re saying? You haven’t? In that case, we’ll direct you to our next article ‘Robots in the Workplace’.  Although intelligence is relatively easy to measure, it’s not so easy to measure emotions and it’s actually the latter that can have the biggest impact on us at work.

Examining emotions in the same kind of context as intellect is a relatively recent concept, rising to prominence with Daniel Goleman's 1995 book: 'Emotional Intelligence'. However, the origins of the Emotional Intelligence theory was originally developed during the 1970’s and 1980’s by psychologists Howard Gardner (Harvard), Peter Salovey (Yale) and John 'Jack' Mayer (New Hampshire). They examined how we needed to develop both our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and our Emotional Quotient (EQ). (You might score extra points in this week’s pub quiz for knowing what the Q stands for).

The EQ concept argues that IQ, or conventional intelligence, is too narrow; that there are wider areas of Emotional Intelligence that support our success. IQ has tended to be the traditional measure of intelligence, ignoring essential behaviour and character elements. We've all met people who are academically brilliant and yet struggle to chat to people in a social setting - a high IQ does not automatically generate a high EQ.

But what does EQ mean and how can it be useful at work?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions.  The Collins English dictionary defines it as ‘a (notional) measure of a person's adequacy in such areas as self-awareness, empathy, and dealing sensitively with other people’.

Daniel Goleman states that there are two significant aspects to emotional intelligence:

  1. Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses and behaviour.

  2. Understanding others and their feelings.

In addition, Daniel Goleman identified five key EQ domains as follows:

  1. Knowing your emotions

  2. Managing your own emotions

  3. Motivating yourself

  4. Recognising and understanding other people's emotions

  5. Managing relationships (i.e.  managing the emotions of others)

By developing our Emotional Intelligence in these five EQ domains we can become more productive and successful at what we do, in addition to helping others to become more productive and successful too.

As EQ provides a way to understand and assess people's behaviours and emotions, it is becoming increasingly relevant to organisational development and exploring people’s potential.  That is because it can provide indicators to management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills and potential.  So, used proactively, it becomes an important consideration in job profiling, recruitment, management development and customer relations.

In addition to the above, by developing our Emotional Intelligence, there can be many other benefits to an organisation:

  • Reducing stress

  • Decreasing conflict

  • Improving relationships

  • Creating harmonious relationships.


How do we know if we are emotionally intelligent?

Firstly, read this scenario:
You are attending a meeting at work and find that the more senior people in this meeting are belittling and bullying a more junior colleague, by constantly commenting on their lack of experience and young age.  The junior colleague is laughing along (possibly out of embarrassment) and becomes more quiet and reserved as the meeting progresses. 

What do you do?

There is no right or wrong answer to this scenario.  We’re sure that everyone will have experienced a similar kind of scenario at some stage in their career. However, our reactions can indicate Goleman’s five domains:

  1. Knowing your emotions – do you recognise what dominant emotions you are feeling (anger towards the more senior colleagues; empathy towards the junior colleague, etc.)

  2. Managing your own emotions – how do you react; do you say something to the senior colleagues in the meeting which could result in you losing your temper; do you do nothing and regret it later, thus suppressing those emotions?

  3. Motivating yourself – you may recognise your main emotional drivers in this scenario and know what you would like to do but there’s something holding you back.

  4. Recognising and understanding other people's emotions – do you acknowledge the emotions of all parties in that meeting (not simply the person who is being singled out)

  5. Managing relationships – how do you approach the other colleagues?  Is this something you find difficult?  Would you approach them but not sure how to handle it?

Footprint use an emotional intelligence tool called ‘Emotions and Behaviours at Work (EBW)’ to help understand your EQ and start to think about how you can turn these emotions up and down depending on what scenario you are facing.
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