The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Emotional intelligence requires you to assess situations and influence others from displaying your best response.
High performing world leaders and business executives have it—so should you. Certain jobs require a higher IQ than emotional intelligence (EQ) and vice versa. Having a high IQ is very important, but EQ is held in a high regard for many leaders and high performers.
I look at Gary Vaynerchuk and Richard Branson as great examples of people with a high EQ. They were both terrible students, and may not have a high IQ from a traditional sense, but their emotional intelligence is off the charts. It’s what makes them some of the most prominent business leaders in the world.
Increasing your emotional intelligence is different than improving your IQ because working on your EQ is a very practical experience. You can read a book about physics to improve your knowledge about it but you can’t do the same with EQ. Absorbing content is only the first step.
It’s because emotional intelligence involves engagement, vulnerability, active listening, awkward silences, and uncomfortable conversations.
Why Should You Care About Developing Your Emotional Intelligence
• EQ builds leaders and influence.
• You’ll get better at developing relationships.
• It increases intimacy with your significant other.
• You’ll build charisma and confidence.
• It will help you create clarity and a sense of purpose.
• You’ll become someone people want to be around.
This is a skill that’s important for your personal and professional life. This means not letting your emotions get the best of you when you’re fighting with your significant other or dealing with stressful situations.
Traits of Emotionally Intelligent People
Emotional Intelligence is a term that was popularized by Daniel Goleman and broke it down to five components.
Has an interviewer ever asked you what your strengths and weaknesses are? How have you been able to answer that question other than the terrible answers most people give?
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is the ground to building your self-awareness.
Self-awareness is your ability to realize your skills and knowledge when it comes to your emotions. It is the foundation of confidence and self-esteem. As you grow, you’ll know the types of careers, tasks, and situations you’re best at.
Some guys are better at online dating. Some are better at face-to-face interactions. Understand where your successes have been and put yourself in those environments.
A lot of you end up in situations where you’re working on your weaknesses. You’re banging your head against the wall because you’re marginally getting better. One of the best things you can do to enhance your self-awareness is to read Peter Drucker’s Managing Oneself. Among other things, it will help you understand your strengths, weaknesses, and values. You’ll understand how you learn, and how to run your life like a CEO.
In the book, Drucker emphasizes working on your strengths rather than weaknesses. At best, you’ll become average if you work on your weaknesses, and it will not be worth the effort to get you there. Alternatively, doubling down on your strengths will make you a hyper-performer in those skills.
Quick Self-Awareness Assessment
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?
• What are your values?
• What things do you do that make you feel alive?
• Take note of your feelings. Do this by writing down what you’re feeling or by taking a moment to reflect.
Don’t be a dick.
Don’t poke the angry bear with a stick. Instead, aim to understand what is making that bear angry. Share a similar experience you had with them or better yet, don’t say anything. Just shut up and listen.
Let’s say you are a manager delivering bad information. You passed him on promotion for another member of the team. You know he’s livid. He’s probably considering cursing you out, quitting, or kicking your ass in the parking lot.
How can you put yourself in his shoes and understand how he’s feeling? A person with empathy will find a way to relate and repair the trust. You’ll have work to do to maintain the relationship and motivate him to work towards hitting his goal.
Practice empathy by listening. People listen only to respond, not to learn. Seek first to understand, then be understood, as Stephen Covey said.
Don’t do anything stupid.
Thinking before acting. Listening before speaking.
This involves holding back on emotions and impulses. Sure, flipping off the guy that cut you off in traffic might make you feel good about yourself but it doesn’t make you a good person. It makes you equally as shitty.
In a business setting and at home, bad situations will come up where you’ll end up in regret. You’ll preemptively hit “send” on an email when you haven’t carefully thought through your response—or you’ll end up saying something hurtful to your significant other in a heated argument.
Simon Sinek sums it up perfectly in this short video:
When your emotions are taking over, it can be easy to share your opinion or display what you feel but it won’t do anyone any good. Practice your poker face and rather than expressing yourself, learn to harness what you’re feeling in order to first understand.
Self-regulation doesn’t mean being dishonest. It means being thoughtful in your response.
4. Social Skills
Not all of us are the type that can befriend anyone, and no one says you have to be, but you still have to play nice with others. You might have a customer who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed on a daily basis and takes it out on you. It’s your ability to make rapport with that person that diffuses his/her temper to move the relationship forward.
Social skills aren’t only about sparking up a conversation with random people. That’s a great skill to have but you have to take it a step further. This EQ skill relates to sparking up a conversation, or better yet, developing a relationship with people that have no common ground with you.
It’s things like cracking a joke during an awkward silence or taking the high road and apologizing even if you’re not wrong.
Getting shit done on your own terms.
1. Autonomy: Our desire to be self-directed. Controlling our own destiny.
2. Mastery: Getting better.
3. Purpose: Doing something that has meaning. It aligns with our values.
No, it’s not money, fame, nor power. It’s been proven that chasing the dollar to earn another dollar is a never-ending cycle to emptiness.
Once your basic needs are met, I challenge you to learn and act on what really motivates you.
Know your why.
In all of the five components of emotional intelligence, you’re asked to do one thing.
Listen to others. Listen to yourself.
When you take the time to listen to others, you become compassionate and caring. When you take the time to listen to yourself, you become confident and clear. You lead with a purpose.
Emotional intelligence is what builds leaders. Emotional intelligence is what builds influence.