I didn't learn about the tenets of emotional intelligence until well into my 30s. Whatever your age, however, it's never too late to grasp the key behaviors of what has been called one of the most desired job skills in 2020.
In countless studies, exemplary employees exhibiting emotional intelligence (EQ) improve teamwork, communicate better with team members than those who are not in tune with their emotional intelligence, share ideas, and are open to others' ideas.
They are also highly adaptable and adjust easily to change and challenging situations. In practical terms, employees with high EQ know how to handle unhappy customers, disgruntled co-workers, or managers not pleased with their work.
Daniel Goleman, the emotional intelligence expert and author of many important books on the topic, suggests that EQ makes the most impact once you move into leadership positions.
So that begs the question: Is there a good metric for getting started in the right direction toward building up your EQ skills?
5 questions to assess your EQ skills
You start by asking a few look-in-the-mirror questions to help you determine where you measure up against the principles of EQ. Answering each question with a 'yes' will reveal your EQ aptitude. Give it a run.
1. Do you respond rather than react?
High-EQ people typically respond, rather than react, with a more patient, "keep calm" approach. They'll process a situation, get perspective, listen without judgment, and hold back from reacting head-on.
2. Do you practice self-control?
People with high EQ maintain control over their emotions. Self-control is a learned skill to help you be more present, calmer, and focused during times of high stress. It's a necessary emotional skill with a long-term payoff.
3. Do you exercise self-awareness?
People with high EQ are adept at self-awareness and are able to see both sides of an issue to choose a different, and better, outcome. Daniel Goleman says, "If you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far."
4. Do you adapt well to change?
Adaptability is a hallmark of people with high EQ. They are able to recognize when to stay the course and when it's time for a change. In other words, when one strategy is not working, high-EQ people evaluate and determine a different course of action.
5. Do you serve the needs of others?
Besides focusing on their own success, people with high EQ also maintain a strong desire for wanting to see the people around them succeed.