EQ is the game changer

by Stacey Mason ([email protected]) 1,138 views 

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the game changer.

I routinely tell folks that if you only invest in one area of personal development, please spend that time growing your EQ. It is that important. Learn to pay attention. Notice.

Become infatuated with noticing. Not to get all metaphysical here, but a fanatical level of noticing allows you to examine yourself, your actions and everything happening around you while also being yourself and performing those actions. Wow, that got deep fast. Let’s back up.

Twenty-five years ago, Daniel Goleman wrote a book on emotional intelligence that remained on the New York Times bestseller list for a year and a half and is currently in print worldwide in 40 languages. It was a game changer.

In this seminal book, he argued that existing definitions of intelligence (IQ) were inadequate, redefining what it meant to be smart. While IQ was still important, intellect alone was no guarantee of expertise in identifying the emotional constructs of humans. It appeared it took a different type of complementary intelligence — emotional intelligence — to process and utilize expressive information effectively.

Although there is no punchline, I’ve heard some laugh about the following maxim. The saying goes that “You’ll get hired for your IQ and fired for your EQ .” Apparently, no one fires the best engineer, the best speech writer, the best pilot or the best programmer. But you will be asked to leave if you can’t get along with others. It seems playing well with others trumps smarts. And whether you can get along well with others has a tremendous amount to do with your level of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence, in its simplest form, is a four-box grid. It’s an understanding of yourself and others in terms of awareness and regulation. The definitions are as follows.

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your behaviors, moods, emotions and what drives them and their effect on others. It’s understanding how you’re wired (your core personality) and how that wiring works for or against you. It’s about tuning in and paying attention to your inward self. [Noticing emotions]

Stacey Mason

Self-management is regulating or redirecting disruptive impulses, outbursts and moods. The ability to manage yourself to a productive outcome. The propensity to suspend judgment; to think before acting. It’s paying attention to your outward self through your actions. [Noticing logic]

Social awareness is the ability to accurately recognize and interpret the emotional currents of other people — often through non-verbal cues — and the skill of treating them according to their emotional reactions. Empathy plays a key role here, as does intently listening at a deeper level. On a larger scale, it’s being able to read the room in an organizational setting and adjust accordingly. It’s about approaching situations more strategically. It’s paying attention to your surroundings that your impact on them. [Noticing environments]

Relationship management is the proficiency in managing relationships and building networks over time and distance. The ability to find common ground and build rapport with others. Acting in ways that are harmonizing, inspiring and influencing. It’s paying attention to the bigger picture. [Noticing humanness]

Notice the number of times paying attention was mentioned. Heck, notice the number of times noticing was repeated. That’s by design and not by accident. Being able to notice and pay attention — whether to yourself, others, situations or relationships — is at the core of emotional intelligence.

It bears repeating. If you only study one thing now until the end of time, please spend your energy developing greater EQ. It is that important. Learn to notice. Pay attention. Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to. Then apply intellect to what you’ve noticed. IQ shows off your smarts; EQ makes you more human. And being more human is the game changer.

Ancora Imparo… (Still, I am learning).

Stacey Mason is the founder of The Improv Lab, a professional development business in Bentonville. More information is available by calling 479-877-0131. The opinions expressed are those of the author.