How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?

By Desiree Yang

Imagine overhearing some water cooler talk about someone in the office whom your colleagues’ feel is bossy and an unwelcome busybody. You ask around out of curiosity but no one seems willing to divulge the identity of this person, and appear uneasy when you probe further. Then it dawns on you – they’re talking about you.

You’ve never thought of yourself as someone who’s nosy or bossy and knowing that you’re the talk of the town because of your unwitting actions leaves you at a loss as to what to do. Thus the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) – the ability to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions and handle interpersonal relationships sensibly and agreeably . EQ, which is made up of two skills – personal competence and social competence – forms the foundation for many critical skills and consequently affects a lot of what you say and do.

Key to Career Progression

In a study conducted by TalentSmart, the world’s premier provider of EQ-related tests, training and services, it was found that EQ is the strongest predictor of job performance alongside 33 other important workplace skills that can determinine how well one will succeed and how far he or she will rise in an organisation. According to TalentSmart, EQ is responsible for 58 per cent of an employee’s job performance.

Possible explanations for this lie in the fact that individuals with high EQ are able to manage stress well and are able to collaborate better with their colleagues, which in turn affects their individual performance and the company’s productivity in positive ways. In addition, because individuals with high EQ are intuitively aware of how their colleagues or subordinates feel and are cognisant of their own emotions as well, they have the makings of a good leader.

High-EQ individuals are able to keep their cool, trust and listen to their team and are easy to approach and talk to, thus making them attractive candidates for promotion. These individuals are also likely to do well in tricky situations like negotiations which require subtlety and finesse. Their instinctive grasp of social situations and others’ emotions will bring them success in their interpersonal relations and make them highly effective managers of people, eventually helping them establish their place as key assets in any company.

EQ Can Be Developed

Impulses produced by emotional stimuli always pass through the frontal lobe of the brain, which is where emotions are generated by the limbic system, before reaching the left side of the brain where rational thinking processes take place. EQ is hence the product of effective communication that exists between both the left and anterior parts of the brain. Hence, while some individuals are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, EQ is something that can be developed or improved.

It all starts with your ability to be in touch with your emotions and involves learning a variety of skills that can be picked up by anyone at any time. Examples include learning how to reduce your level of stress in different settings, recognise your emotions and keep them from overwhelming you, and interact with others effectively using nonverbal communication. The key is to progress from learning about EQ to being able to apply what you’ve learnt. These pointers that help to increase an individual’s EQ will eventually become habits that will in turn help to boost your EQ as well.

Learn more about emotional intelligence in the workplace from SG Story's Aaron Kong!

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