When it comes to leading yourself and others, emotional intelligence -- the ability to understand and manage our own emotions and understand and influence the emotions of others -- is just as important as IQ, if not more.

Here's why: When you get good at being aware of your emotions and the emotions of others, you can connect on a human level with others much more cohesively to reach solutions faster. A person's IQ, while certainly required in the role of a leader, cannot travel the same road as fast. It needs to partner with EQ.

If you're convinced, mastering your emotional intelligence to become a more effective human being doesn't happen overnight. It takes practice. Here are five things to help you get started. 

1. Be curious

Speaking to students at his high school alma mater in 2019, Bill Gates stressed the critical importance of curiosity as a framework for acquiring knowledge. Gates said that it will help prepare future workers for the immense changes that will take place. Not only is curiosity key to the learning process, it's also great for overall life satisfaction, according to science. Several research studies suggest curious people have better relationships, connect better, and enjoy socializing more. In fact, other people are more easily attracted and feel socially closer to individuals who display curiosity.

2. Grow from your mistakes

Get into the habit of "failing forward." As you experiment, fail, try again, and learn from your mistakes, accept that it's all part of the process to grow, without any shame attached. We need to redefine failure and making mistakes through new lenses and see it as a critical part of learning a new way of life. 

3. Address your blind spots

To raise your emotional intelligence means to acknowledge your blind spots. These insights may not come from you, so be brave enough to consider that what others speak to you is true. Look at this as an opportunity to address whatever is holding you back. Now you can do something about what others are saying is a problem. Take heart in knowing that this is for your own greater good. It will make you a truly better person in service to others.

4. Hold your tongue in the heat of the moment

A good sign of someone with high EQ happens in conflict. When buttons are pushed and you're tempted to "stick it to the man," your best course of action in the heat of an argument may be to hold your tongue. This requires keen self-awareness and self-control (two tenets of EQ), but you'll thank yourself later.

Taking this approach doesn't mean you suppress your emotions when being wronged. But it will help you to probe your emotions in any given situation to understand what you're feeling and why before spouting off at the mouth in a fit of anger.

This is key for understanding how to appropriately respond, rather than impulsively react to a situation going south. So that when tomorrow comes, you may not feel it necessary to tell someone to go "f" himself (and thankfully save yourself from burning a bridge or worse, losing your job).