Do you know someone who frequently interrupts others and always seems pre-occupied with their own self-interests?
Or maybe you reluctantly recognise these characteristics in yourself?
If so, you may have discovered one of the main reasons why you are not achieving the success you’d planned and hoped for: emotional intelligence (EQ).
Don’t worry – this is not intended as a post to blame and shame anyone; there’s no finger-pointing. It is designed to help you recognise some of the limiting factors that may be impeding your success.
I know I’ve used the following quote before from Daniel Goleman but it’s poignant:
“The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence.”
This demonstrates the importance of EQ to your success. Previously, there was heavy emphasis on the importance of IQ (intelligence quotient) but emotional intelligence is increasingly regarded as the common ‘connector’ between successful people.
So, if you are displaying any of the following 10 signs, you may need to work on your own level of EQ:
- You’re easily stressed and irritated
A strong feature of emotional intelligence is the ability to understand emotions and recognise when you are feeling them. This enables you to better control emotions and not get overly stressed.
If you get easily irritated and lose your temper, without consideration of how this may affect behaviour towards others, you may want to take some steps to raise your emotional awareness, such as meditation and self-reflection.
- You treat people rashly and unfairly
An inability to control emotions can lead to irrational behaviour. The stress-response emotions take over and may cause unfair or rash decisions when dealing with other people and problems in the workplace.
The key to improving this aspect is, again, raising self-awareness of how you react in situations; and recognising the emotional triggers so that you can exert more control over them. Becoming more empathetic towards others will also help – more about that below.
- You are wrapped up in your own world
People with low emotional intelligence often appear wrapped up in their own little bubble. They are not very social, not curious about other people, and do not seem to identify with others. They seem obsessed with their own self-interests.
This is obviously problematical if you are a leader. Listening to and taking an active interest in people is very important and comes from developing empathy: we all have the power to empathise with others. It’s a case of treating others as a priority and placing ourselves in their shoes for a while.
- You are over-confident
Emotionally intelligent people are confident and authoritative because they are comfortable in their own skin – but they do not brag, assume they know it all, or appear over-confident. The latter is often a sign of insecurity and low EQ.
Work on this by increasing self-awareness and being honest with yourself: understand your strengths and weaknesses and be better prepared for situations when these will be exposed.
- You fear change
Do you instantly try to resist planned changes to systems, processes, or procedures? This inflexibility is a sign that you may need to work on this aspect of your personality.
Flexibility comes with the confidence of knowing exactly who you are and what you are capable of; many people fear the thought of change and are more adaptable, in reality, than they suspect. People with EQ embrace change and are ready for whatever is thrown at them.
- You take failure badly
If you perceive every small mistake or failure as a big problem, it can hinder your progress. Usually, it’s not the end of the world and the ‘roadblock’ is a temporary setback at most, if you have a positive mind set.
Work on your sense of resilience and you will find that you start to treat failure less as a permanent obstacle and more as a temporary opportunity to improve.
- You get into conflicts easily
Because of a lack of awareness of, and empathy for, other people, those with low EQ are often easily upset and get into conflicts easily.
Do you take jokes about you badly or fly off the handle when someone says something you don’t like or agree with?
Raising your awareness and empathy towards others increases your EQ and actually makes you more thick-skinned; you are better able to read other people’s emotions, more likely to consider their feelings, better able to reach compromises, and less likely to be surprised by others. This will naturally reduce conflict.
- You interrupt and don’t listen
Poor listeners often lack emotional intelligence. When someone is speaking, unless you give them your undivided attention, it is unlikely that you will really take in what is being said. This suggests a lack of care or interest in the other person.
People with high EQ practice their listening skills and body language, ask open questions, avoid distractions, and display a genuine interest in the other person. They don’t interrupt and are often able to ‘read’ the emotions behind the words.
- You find fault with others easily
Another trait of people with low EQ is easily finding fault with others; sometimes this extends to gossip or ‘trash talk’.
This is because they lack the empathy, listening skills, and awareness to appreciate the positive side of another person; they only see the negatives. People with high emotional intelligence are able to remain positive, avoid unconstructive and negative conversations about others, and surround themselves with other positive people.
- Your relationships break down
Because of a combination of all the above, relationships often break down. While some put this down to bad luck, it’s usually within your control.
Strong relationships need a healthy dose of emotional intelligence. So, unless you work on improving all the elements outlined in the first nine points above, it’s likely that relationship ‘problems’ will be common. Building rapport will be difficult and people may even start avoiding you.
Those with high EQ know how to build strong relationships based on mutual trust and respect and understand that, without emotional intelligence, relationships invariably suffer.
You should now have a good understanding of whether you need to work on your emotional intelligence.
If you need assistance with this, I can help both you and your organisation take steps to improve your levels of EQ. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org