People with high EQs make $29,000 more annually than people with low EQs. Ninety percent of top performers have high EQs, and a single-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your salary. I could go on and on.1
I read an article this week1 saying EQ (Emotional Intelligence) was all very well, but to really make it stick, you had to be ‘genuine’. Which it defined as
- Genuine people don’t try to make people like them.
- They don’t pass judgment.
- They forge their own paths.
- They are generous.
- They treat everyone with respect.
- They aren’t motivated by material things.
- They are trustworthy.
- They are thick-skinned.
- They put away their phones.
- They aren’t driven by ego.
- They aren’t hypocrites.
- They don’t brag.
My observation is that if you have all these ‘genuine’ attributes, you are almost certainly in possession of a very high EQ already. These attributes describe a very well-balanced secure person who is self-reliant in terms of approval and fears little in the emotional landscape.
Does that describe you?
Not to worry, because emotional skills can be acquired and honed at any age.
I believe the points above ascribed to ‘Genuine’ people are the goals of most of us who can recognise that we’re not there yet.
Emotional Intelligence is important stuff. Why? It’s the skillset of recognising and relating effectively to the emotions of yourself and others. It’s how we play well with others. If you see any lying around, fill your boots, you’ll need it later.
The skills that build emotional intelligence are useful in all of life, but are measured and assessed mostly in the workplace, for how much they affect individual and team performance. If we all had stellar EQs, our performance would be through the roof.
What can go wrong?
Some people have difficulties relating to emotions because they learned to suppress their feelings as children, receiving cues like ‘Boys don’t cry’ and ‘harden up’. In my case it was more ‘People won’t like you if you’re angry’. If this happens, we form very strong habits protecting us from revealing how we feel. We play by the emotional rules of our caregivers, to avoid the risk of abandonment, punishment or neglect.
No surprise then that as adults we don’t question these habits. We don’t discover that our emotions are no longer that risky. We’ve lost the ability to connect in intimate, trusting and open ways with those around us. Our relationship skills are impacted, domestically, socially and at work. Most importantly, we hide our emotions from ourselves and never develop a full and robust emotional landscape, living more in our heads. We often become very hard workers, to make up for our social skills deficit. It’s a great recipe for workaholism.
But we will never become good team players, romantic partners, carers or parents, unless we choose to upgrade our emotional skills. Enter EQ (emotional quotient) – the metric widely used to assess a person’s emotional breadth, resilience and adaptability. In business it’s a reliable predictor of performance because effective collaboration and communication are such pivotal skills.
Let’s not confuse this with extroversion. Many introverts are in fact very emotionally articulate. They can be highly aware of the emotions of others, but find them draining. EQ is about recognising emotions and behaving appropriately with them, whether they’re our own or others’.
Why am I saying all this? For many people, it contributes to burnout at work. Emotional stress is very debilitating. If this applies to you, you may not have discovered the antidote.
Learn here. Make your life better.
It’s an active process to learn these skills and it’s never too late.