But many leaders are still confused by emotional intelligence and its importance to the workplace. They are asking:
“How do I know if I am emotionally intelligent?”
“How can I measure it in myself and what do I look for in others?”
In order to answer these questions, it helps to first understand the main traits of emotional intelligence. Once you know these, you can start looking for them in yourself and others and assess how you measure up. You can then take steps to improve those that you are weakest on, if you want to raise your EQ.
Below are 15 initial questions you can ask yourself to self-assess your level of emotional intelligence:
- Do you have the ability to listen to others?
Blindly ploughing your own course with no regard for others is no sign of EQ! Instead, emotionally intelligent people are able to listen and take in the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others. They actively seek these out and are able to process them without judgement.
- Can you identify and express emotions?
We all experience a multitude of emotions – but people with EQ recognise what these emotions are and are able to label them and express what they are. Labelling emotions has the effect of diminishing their intensity and creating clarity – which can lead to better decision-making in the workplace.
- Are you curious about others?
Because you have the ability to empathise with others, you are also curious about them, if you have high emotional intelligence. This connects with the first above: you listen and care about the responses of others – which makes you curious about what they’re going through.
- How self-aware are you?
People with EQ are comfortable in their skin. They know what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. They certainly don’t think or act like they are the best at everything. They are also better able to handle situations when their weaknesses may be exposed – because they are prepared for them.
- Do you display confidence?
Because of high self-awareness, emotionally intelligent people have a confidence about them – but not excessive or misplaced confidence. It comes across as an air of authority and balance.
- Do you view change as threat or opportunity?
Emotionally intelligent people don’t feel threatened by change; because they are comfortable, aware, prepared, and confident in their abilities, they are flexible enough to approach change as an opportunity. They can help others to see it positively too: partly for this reason, high EQ points to strong leadership qualities.
- Are you easily upset – or unruffable?
People with EQ are thick-skinned and can take a joke; that of course doesn’t mean that they are immune to emotion – they are just not offended easily or over-sensitive to criticism and can control their emotions. The balance and confidence that they exhibit makes them seem more ‘unruffable’ than most.
- Do you build strong relationships?
Another trait is the ability to build strong, lasting relationships. Emotionally intelligent people don’t waste time with partnerships that won’t bear fruit; instead, they focus on working on the relationships that do matter.
- Are you good at finding compromises?
Every social situation has people we don’t get along with. The difference with emotionally intelligent people is that they don’t get angry, irritated, or frustrated by them. Instead, they are able to recognise emotions brewing up and to then rise above them. This makes them better able to see the other person’s point of view and more likely to find a compromise.
- Are you a good judge of character?
Being aware of your own traits and emotions also helps you see qualities in others. This can make you a better judge of character. You are able to scratch the surface and to see what really lies beneath with other people: a very useful skill when you’re a leader hiring employees, for instance.
- Do you find the positives in all situations?
Emotionally intelligent people are able to get over mistakes, negative experiences, and setbacks more easily than others. They see things positively and realise that most events in life are learning experiences; so they pick themselves up and get on with it. This also makes them more likely to take calculated risks – because they are less fearful of making mistakes.
- Can you say NO?
People with EQ know where to draw the line and realise that saying ‘yes’ to things actually means saying ‘no’ to other things (which may be more important). They are clear about priorities and so are not scared to say ‘no’ when necessary. This avoids the stress associated with agreeing to things just to please others.
- Do you know when to disconnect?
Emotionally intelligent people may often be hard-working leaders – but they also know when to switch off and disconnect from the working world. They know that family time, rest, and ME time is important to their wellbeing and they will make time for it. They have work-life balance.
- Are you usually in a good mood?
You’ll usually find emotionally intelligent people in a good mood and pleasant to be around; they don’t get too stressed and seem generally content with life. This is because deep-down they are in a ‘good place’ and the day-to-day stresses don’t get to them too much.
- Do you trash talk?
Finally, you won’t find people with a high EQ talking people down; they avoid negative conversations about others and don’t indulge in gossip. They implicitly know that focusing on the negative actions of other also brings your own energy down – so they prefer to focus on the positives.
Hopefully the above questions help you get clearer on the attributes of emotional intelligence. Apart from these observational measurements, there are validated tests you can take that will provide an indication of your level of emotional intelligence.
Want to assess emotional intelligence in your workplace? Or measure your own EQ?
I can help you both measure and take steps to improve your emotional intelligence. Start by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org