Do you display emotional intelligence (EQ) when working with others? How would you know? Over the years I've found that EQ does its best work when things get a bit hairy due to opposing personalities and agendas, a stressful work environment, or when your buttons are pushed.

As leaders, when we are being impulsive, shortsighted, reacting with anger in the heat of the moment, or not making decisions in our "right minds," we are sorely lacking EQ

People with emotional intelligence have the learned capacity to process a situation gone bad, get perspective, and hold back from going to that "bad place."

By processing over things with a rational and level-headed mind, you'll eventually arrive at another, more sane conclusion. 

That begs the question, how can you assess your own EQ as a way to measure yourself against its desired behaviors? Simple. Ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. Do you respond to people and situations instead of reacting?

There is a difference. In reacting to a stressful moment that's going south fast, you may end up clouding your thinking and judgment and escalate what should've been a manageable dispute into an all-out war. But by responding, rather than reacting, emotionally-intelligent people step back, create space to consider the situation from all angles, and decide the best approach to handle things. 

2. During conflict, are you able to cut through the drama and stick to the facts?

In emotionally-charged moments under pressure-cooker environments, a person with high EQ will explain the outcome she is hoping for and will ask for other ideas for solutions with an open mind. This typically leads to a constructive discussion that may resolve an ongoing issue to everyone's satisfaction.

3. Do you take in the whole view of the problem and look at all sides of the issue?

People with emotional intelligence look at all sides of the issue and tap into their feelings and those of others to choose a different, and better, outcome. They seek out varied perspectives and solicit opinions of others before acting.

4. Do you manage your emotions better than most people?

Self-control is a personal competence developed in every person. The question behind self-control is: Can I manage my emotions and behavior to a positive outcome? Emotional intelligence expert and bestselling author Daniel Goleman explains:

Reasonable people--the ones who maintain control over their emotions--are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high. Top performers flock to these organizations and are not apt to leave them.

Self-control gives one the capacity to be present, calm, and focused during times of high stress. It's a necessary virtue with long-term payoff.

5. Are you naturally positive and optimistic?

Emotionally intelligent people are positive thinkers who don't get caught up in things they can't control, like obsessing over politics or Covid-19. They put their energy and effort on the things within their power -- the things that matter most in life, like their business and relationships. Because they're naturally optimistic, you may find that they are physically and psychologically healthier than those with a negative outlook on life.