What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ), is a recent behavioral concept. In contrast to intelligence quotient (IQ), which is a measure of intellectual ability of a person, emotional intelligence (EQ) measures the ability of a person to perceive, understand and manage the emotions of self and others.

It refers to an individual’s ability to understand others and communicate with them. For some people, emotional intelligence is more important than intellectual ability in the success of one’s professional career and personal life. For others, there is a consensus that emotional intelligence is just as important as intellectual ability in one’s success.

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In today’s world of global businesses, communication, and the ability to interact with others, plays an important role in determining success. It depends on the ability to read other people’s gestures, understand them, and then appropriately respond to them. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that a person must develop the skills required to improve emotional intelligence, and be able to empathize, motivate and negotiate with other people.

What exactly is meant by having a high emotional intelligence? Every person must have met someone who is a good listener, who is a polite speaker, who cares for others, who is considerate of others’ feelings when conversing, who is calm, who is optimistic, who doesn’t get angry, who always stays calm, who is honest, who takes criticism positively or who respects the viewpoints of others. These are the traits of a person with high emotional intelligence. Such a person knows himself well. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, and is able to constructively work on them to improve himself. He also understands the emotional needs of others, and communicates with them accordingly.

Others generally, like people with high emotional intelligence. They are also, usually, more successful than people who lack emotional intelligence. The reason is simple. People with high emotional intelligence care about the feelings of others and respect their viewpoints. People with high emotional intelligence are highly demanded by others, because they are the ones that others want to work with. People with high emotional intelligence will easily get answers to their queries; they are the ones that will get help whenever they need it. People will tend to listen to those individuals more often who have high emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence can be broken down into five categories.

Self-awareness is the ability of a person to recognize and understand his own emotions. They are self aware of how they feel, and what those emotions are indicating. Once an emotion is completely understood, it is easier for it to be managed. A person can then manage his emotions according to his needs.

This is the most important part of emotional intelligence. People who are self aware are also confident in themselves. Since they understand their emotions, they are able to trust on their importance and potential. They are able to follow their instincts and, eventually, are better decision makers.

Self-regulation is the ability of a person to control his emotions. When a person has strong emotions, he is, usually, not able to control them and think straight. People are also not able to control how long the emotion lasts.

There are a few methods that a person can use to control the time those strong emotions last. Positive thinking, reflection on the subject matter and praying are some techniques that a person can use to reduce the emotions. Self-regulation helps a person control these emotions, so that it does not hamper his thinking ability. It helps him maintain his integrity and take responsibility. It also helps him to keep his mind open and flexible for innovation.

Motivation is the ability of a person to maintain a positive attitude, with clear and specific goals. It helps a person remain productive and achievement-driven. Motivation shows optimism in a person, regardless of difficulties or hindrances. It allows a person to take initiatives and be committed in whatever he is doing. People who are motivated are creative, effective and love challenges in whatever they do. These traits help them in being successful in their professional careers and personal life.
Empathy is the ability of a person to recognize and understand the emotions of others. This helps them in determining how others feel, and, consequently, determines how they respond and communicate with others. An empathetic person is, usually, liked by others, since he understands their needs and can manage the relationship accordingly. A person with high empathy will listen to others, relate to their problems, be very honest, avoid making judgments, and, therefore, will have a large social circle, with strong relationships. After self-awareness, empathy is the most important part of emotional intelligence.

Social skills are the ability of a person to develop good interpersonal skills. People with social skills are good to talk to and easy to understand. They are better influencers, and have flair of being leaders and change agents. People tend to get inspired by individuals with good social skills, and will, usually, listen to and follow them. They work with others, and put the interest of the group before their self interests. They nurture relationships and are liked by other people.

As mentioned above, emotional intelligence is one of the most important determinants of success in life, whether it is professional or personal. It defines how people should be managed and relationships cultivated. High emotional intelligence is, surely, a sign of a successful and likable leader.

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