We all know what IQ stands for, right? It’s short for Intelligence Quotient, a measure of our cognitive and intellectual intelligence. But how about EQ? This lesser-known acronym stands for Emotional Quotient, a measure of our emotional intelligence.
At a pre-holiday in-service training for GLCYD staff, we learned all about emotional intelligence or EI, for short. The ever-delightful Don Grisham of Marquette, a man who obviously practices what he preaches, helped us explore this idea of EI and how we can build it in ourselves in order to be happier in the workplace as well as in our personal lives.
Don is the owner of Northstar Employee Assistance Program, which provides counseling as a benefit of an employee’s workplace. The organization’s mission is to be an advocate of wellness and to increase awareness on how to improve one’s overall well-being. It has locations all around the U.P. As someone who has used this benefit, I can attest to its value.
But back to EI… Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others in order to self-motivate. People with high emotional intelligence realize how their emotions impact others and act accordingly. The cool thing about EI is that it can be developed. You can practice it and get better.
Think about a time when you were involved in a disagreement that turned into a yell fest. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. When we rise to the level of someone else’s excitability, we tend to lose our logic. A person with high emotional intelligence will talk slower, softer and lower during a disagreement in order to avoid escalating and losing control.
With the holidays fast upon us, this is a strategy we might want to try when cranky Uncle Harry gets a little too much eggnog and starts lipping off. Or when that one co-worker makes a snide comment about the crappy Christmas present his secret Santa got him.
There are five elements that make up our emotional intelligence:
- Self-awareness—recognizing and naming what you’re feeling
- Self-regulation/management—keeping your emotions under control
- Social skills/communication—being assertive, a good listener, saying what you want without attacking
- Empathy—understanding others and putting yourself in their shoes
- Motivation/passion—keeping an optimistic outlook and embracing the idea that you can always improve
To improve your EI, it helps to keep in mind that every moment has a meaning. And be mindful of how you act toward others. Here are some steps you can take to raise your EQ:
- Take responsibility for your actions; apologize when you’re in the wrong.
- Practice moving the light off you. It really isn’t all about you.
- Think of others before you act.
- Be aware and empathetic. Try to look at things through someone else’s eyes.
As Don explained, IQ+EQ= Success, with success defined as health, love and peace of mind.
That’s something worth working toward this holiday season and beyond. Happy holidays, everyone!