Why Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Is So Important And How To Improve It

 Emotional intelligence is the capability to accurately identify and monitor your and other people’s feelings, as well as the ability to effectively manage your emotions.

You may know that general intelligence (IQ) can be important for success. But did you know that emotional intelligence (EQ) is equally, if not even more important?

Emotional intelligence is a key element of success in the workplace, as well as for happy and healthy relationships. Research shows that high EQ leads to better communication, effective conflict management, and empathy toward others. It also helps us connect with our feelings and live in tune with our true selves.  It is, therefore, not surprising that emotional intelligence is essential for reaching personal and career goals and for building successful professional and personal relationships.

In a similar way IQ reflects how you process information, EQ refers to how you process emotions. However, EQ  is much more flexible than IQ which means that it can be trained and improved.

The term emotional intelligence first appeared during the ’80s and was later popularized by psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman. He suggested there are 5 elements of emotional intelligence. Each of these elements can be developed and improved, and the more you have them in check, the higher your EQ should be.

high EQ leadership

5 Important Elements of Emotional Intelligence

  1. Self-awareness – A critical part of emotional intelligence is being able to understand and monitor your own emotions. It also refers to the capability to recognize the relationship between your behaviours, motivations, and feelings. Being self-aware means you are in tune with your emotions and values and see yourself realistically. It also means you’re aware of how others perceive you and understand how your moods and emotions affect other people.
  1. Self-regulation – Another important part of emotional intelligence is being able to think before you act, to control your impulses and direct your emotions appropriately. This means you are flexible and able to modulate your feelings when facing change or stressful situations. Good self-regulation also refers to having integrity and taking responsibility for your actions.
  1. Motivation –People with high emotional intelligence are pretty good at motivating themselves without relying on external sources such as money or recognition. What drives them is a higher purpose, internal values that move them forward. They set goals that they see value in and combine inner drive and discipline to reach those goals. Correspondingly, they have the ability to motivate others.
  1. Empathy – The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and act accordingly is a big part of emotional intelligence. When we recognize how others feel and approach them with something they can relate to, we are creating a connection. This plays an important role in building relationships, managing conflicts, motivating people or helping them see the bigger picture.
  1. Social skills – The capability to communicate well and find common ground with others is crucial for creating good, stable, and meaningful relationships. Crucial skills in this domain include, for example, active listening, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, leadership, and persuasiveness.

How Does Emotional Intelligence Look Like In Practice?

In everyday life, we can see emotional intelligence in someone’s sensitivity to the moods of others and the ability to grasp the point of view of other people or as readiness to see what is going on with them beneath the surface. High emotionally intelligent people can, for example, recognize that someone’s angry outbursts may come from the feeling of helplessness or fear. Thus, they can act accordingly instead of jumping into defense mode immediately. Similarly, emotional intelligence allows us to recognize emotions and motivations behind our own behaviours or behind some other emotions that may mask the real feelings. From there, high EQ helps us manage those feelings and direct them appropriately.

Some signs of high EQ:

✔️ You are able to stop and think before you act

✔️ You are able to objectively watch your thoughts

✔️ You show empathy and understanding for others

✔️ You recognize your mistakes and offer a genuine apology

✔️ You have a moment-to-moment connection with your emotional experience

✔️ You know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your values

Emotional intelligence is about being open and ready to connect – with others and with yourself, practicing and balancing both is the key to raising your EQ.

Would you like to test your EQ and learn more about your personality characteristics? With our highly trained professionals, you can assess your Emotional Intelligence through Profile Evaluation System (PES) to get an extensive, well-rounded, and comprehensive description of different aspects of your personality, including your EQ.

 

Sources:

http://internationaljournalofcaringsciences.org/docs/Vol1_Issue3_03_Ioannidou.pdf

https://repositorio.iscte-iul.pt/bitstream/10071/16583/1/A%20model%20of%20emotional%20intelligence%20and%20conflict.pdf

motivation for keeping new years resolutions

How to Get And Stay Motivated This Year

January is the month of new beginnings, new decisions, new choices. For many, the month of January, looking from the distance of December, feels like it’s going to be a fresh start, a blank page that will be filled with great choices we missed to make in the previous year. This time is going to be different. Right? But, with the year 2020 unfolding, it’s not uncommon that people struggle to keep up with their New Year’s resolutions. Somewhere along the way, they realize that sticking to their decisions is too difficult, or that those goals are not that important, or that “they just don’t feel like it”. What happens?

That strong urge for change that pushed us to make New Year’s resolutions – called motivation – faded away. This is not surprising – keeping high levels of motivation, in the long run, is tricky. Knowing a little bit more about how motivation works might help you achieve and keep your resolutions.

A Closer Look Into the Nature of Motivation

There are different definitions of motivation out there, but the majority basically boils down to this:

Motivation is a desire to act in pursuit of your goals. It pushes you to act, to behave in a certain way to get what you want or need.

You certainly felt this drive before, this urge to move and take action. It felt awesome, it pushed you toward reaching your goals, you felt energized and willing to engage – yes, in short, you felt motivated. But motivation is not easy to maintain. That initial spark fades away after some time and is, typically, not enough. That’s because motivation consists of three components:

  • Activation – the initial decision to make things happen
  • Persistence – the continued effort toward a goal despite the obstacles
  • Intensity – how hard you work for your goal

motivation

Further, there are basically two types of motivation:

Extrinsic motivation comes from an external source – to get a reward or to avoid punishment.

Intrinsic motivation comes from the inside, from within us – we do something because we enjoy it.

Both types of motivation are important. However, it turns out that intrinsic motivation is more powerful.

What does this mean for you? Only knowing that something is good for you is not enough to push you to make a change; a considerable reward has to be in play. This can be something external, like social recognition, money, or approval for example, or internal, like a sense of purpose or the feeling of deep fulfilment that comes from acting in accordance with your core values. Ideally, both should be present, but even one can be enough to push you forward through all three above mentioned components of motivation.

Staying Motivated Throughout the Year – Action Plan

In terms of New Year’s resolutions, if you want them to stick, the first crucial step is to turn them from a wish/decision to a goal. But it’s not just any goal; to keep you motivated, your goal needs to be a certain way to enhance the energy you need to get to the destination:

  • Optimally challenging – meaning you need to put the effort in, but it’s realistic and not too hard,
  • Specific – meaning your energy is directed toward a particular outcome,
  • Congruent with self – meaning your goal is in line with your values.

Once you have that set, you’ve established a strong foundation for working up toward the goal. Even if you slip up, it will be easier to bounce back from there.

stay motivated this year

Additionally, here are 4 additional hacks that can help you get and stay motivated throughout the year:

1. Find your why

Nothing drives us like a strong feeling of purpose. The question WHY we do something is crucial, and if the answer is in line with our personal values, it is a huge push forward. To find out what your personal core values are requires tapping into your deepest self and asking: “What kind of life do I want to live?”. If you can connect your work and goals to your core values, it becomes a powerful source of motivation.

2. Focus on who you want to become

People interpret situations and difficulties in accordance with how they perceive themselves, and choose actions that feel congruent with their identity. For example, if someone believes that they’re a “loser”, sometimes they will choose actions that will reinforce this belief, and not choose actions that are incongruent with this picture of themselves because “it’s not for people like me”.
Thus, for increasing motivation, it can be more effective to focus on the identity – who you want to become – than on the ability – what you want to achieve. If you want to, for example, start going to the gym more often, the reason: “Because I’m (becoming) an athlete/healthy/good looking person” might be more motivating than: “Because I need to exercise more/have a healthier lifestyle”.

3. Set small milestones

Sometimes, setting a goal can feel intimidating because it looks too big to achieve. A crucial thing to not crush your motivation down is to divide large tasks into small, manageable parts, and do one at a time. Your brain will get a hit of dopamine every time you tick one small task off of a list, which will keep you motivated.

4. “CHOOSE” instead of “MUST”

A slight shift in the language can make big changes in the mindset. Sometimes the things we’re not motivated to do and see as a chore are, if we stop and think about it, the things that we are grateful for. “I have to go to work” and “I get to go to work” sound very different, don’t they?

 

And don’t forget – motivation is not a one-time thing. It has to be reinforced day after day. As Zig Ziglar wisely said: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

How do you keep yourself motivated? Share it with us in the comments. Additionally, if you like this post, please be free to share it with your friends and family.

Happy new beginnings!

 

Sources:

Armstrong, M., & Taylor, S. (2020). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Hockenbury, D. H., & Hockenbury, S. E. (2010). Discovering psychology. Macmillan.

job loss

How to Deal With a Sudden Job Loss: Emotional Survival Kit

Let’s be honest – losing a job can wipe you out emotionally. That huge wave of sadness, anger, blame, fear, anxiety, and a whole bunch of other unpleasant feelings might be incredibly confusing and difficult to deal with.

If you’re going through a rough patch after losing your job, know that you are not alone. In fact, dismissal from work is often cited as one of the top ten traumatic life experiences, along with divorce and death of your spouse. For example, according to the famous Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale, it is one of the top ten most stressful life events you can experience in your life.

So, in short, losing a job hurts. Here are some guidelines on handling the emotional challenge of the job loss and, eventually, bouncing back from it.

Losing a Job Is Not the Reason to Lose Yourself

How many times did you say something like “I am a [job title]” when asked to tell something about yourself? The deep-rooted western-culture question: “What do you do for a living?” testifies of how significant a job title is for describing a person today. A professional role, for many of us, became an important part of how we see ourselves (and others). It became a part of our identity. For some, work is central for defining their self-image and self-worth. This is known as a “work-role centrality” – when you’re defining yourself mostly through your job role.

Looking from this perspective, losing a job, for some, is not only about losing financial safety but also can mean losing a part of an identity. It’s like losing a part of yourself, as well as direction and meaning. A layoff, therefore, can result in confusion on who you are and how you feel about yourself. Identity problems that emerge after a job loss are upsetting, and it’s important to recognize and address them.

It might be helpful to have one truth in mind:

Your job is what you DO, not who you ARE.

Personal identity is far more complex than your professional role. Yes, you might loved your job and contributed to society in amazing ways through it, but that is only one small part of who you are as a person. There are other parts of who you are as well that you may be overlooking. Your relationships, your core values, skills, passions, interests, they are all a part of your identity. All those traits may have influenced the career path you’ve chosen and the role you’ve taken on your former workplace. When you lose that job, these qualities are not gone with it – they are still yours, a part of who you are.

Feel the Feelings but Also Seek Support

As you can experience a layoff, as previously explained, as a loss, what often naturally follows is a grieving process. You may cycle through a range of different emotions, from anxiety to sadness to anger to vengeance to liberation and back again. It’s uncomfortable and distressing, but it’s normal and even necessary in order for you to process your new situation. Let yourself be sad about all the things that you have lost with your termination. You’re allowed to feel the anger for the unfairness of the circumstances you’re in. Give permission to that unsettling feeling of uncertainty about the future to be with you. Don’t suffocate your emotions because it will eventually only lead to more confusion and stress. Know that this unpleasant mix of emotions is normal and passable, and you’re able to handle it.

In fact, did you know that letting your emotions out on the paper after you lose your job can be healing and stress-reducing? What’s more, it may increase the odds of you finding new employment more quickly!

James Pennebaker, a reputable Texas-based social psychologist, has shown the powerful effect of expressive writing on the well-being and even reemployment of those who lost their jobs. In his research, 63 recently laid-off, unemployed individuals were separated into two groups. The experimental group was asked to write about their feelings and thoughts about the job termination, while the control group avoided the painful topic of their past job and wrote about job-seeking strategies, or did not write at all. The surprising result? 53% of those who wrote about their feelings landed jobs in the next few months compared to 18% of individuals from the control group. They all went through approximately the same number of interviews.

What’s important in this phase is that you don’t go through it alone. Reach out for support from your friends or family, your significant one, your therapist, someone you trust. Be clear about your needs and the type of support you need, and genuinely ask for it. Sharing your struggles with someone lessens the weight of stress and isolation you may be feeling and strengthens the connection with people who care about you.

Time for Self-discovery

It’s possible that you spent most of your time on your job, working for years with little to no rest. Even if you loved your job and enjoyed making an impact through it, maybe some other aspects of your life or other interests got a little neglected. It might be a good time to give yourself some space to rest and gain some clarity. This gap between jobs can serve as a valuable time for you to rediscover your interests and introspect about what you really want your career and your life to look like. It can be also a good opportunity to set priorities, learn from your past mistakes, make a plan and, eventually, when you’re ready, take action. But don’t rush yourself through this process. Give yourself some time to figure out your next step.

And don’t forget to be kind to yourself. It’s okay to pinpoint your past mistakes, but don’t criticize or bury yourself with dwelling on “what if…” and “if only…”. Instead, remember everything you appreciate and like about yourself and what you do well. Keep your strengths in focus, set goals, and gently move forward.

 

Have you or someone you know ever unexpectedly lost a job? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Also, if you like this post, please share it on your social media – you might help someone going through a hard time of losing their job.

 

Sources:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/256708?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents