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Understanding & Embracing Emotional Intelligence (Part 2)

Updated: May 29

Although men and women are created equal, there are differences in the way we communicate with one another as well as in our functional roles at home and in the workplace. Although logical and analytical skills are important, we cannot underestimate the power of influencing others through what is known as our “emotional intelligence” or “EQ.”  Learning how to effectively communicate with people in a variety of settings is a skill that is essential in order to excel in every area of life.

According to Dr. Travis Bradberry and Dr. Jean Greaves, authors of the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (TalentSmart, 2009), “EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs. It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.”

“The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to EQ.”

“In order to be successful and fulfilled nowadays, you must learn to maximize your EQ skills, for those who employ a unique blend of reason and feeling achieve the greatest results.”

In Part 1 of Understanding & Embracing Emotional Intelligence, the practical definition of EQ was explained as well as its distinction from our intelligence quotient (IQ) and our personality. EQ is our ability to recognize and understand emotions in ourselves and others, and our ability to use this awareness to manage our behavior and relationships. IQ, EQ, and personality are separate and distinct qualities that we all possess to determine how we think and act. One of these qualities cannot be predicted based upon the two. Some are intelligent, but not emotionally intelligent and vice versa. Of the three, EQ is the only quality that is flexible and as a result, able to change.

There are four EQ skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence, and social competence. Personal competence has to do with self-awareness and self-management skills, particularly as it relates to understanding and managing our own emotions and behavior. Social competence is defined by social awareness and relationship management skills relative to the understanding of other people’s moods, behavior and motives to improve the quality of our relationships. We have already discovered the first two EQ skills and related practical strategies as outlined in the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 in Part 1 of this short series, namely Self-Awareness Strategies and Self-Management Strategies. Now, let’s discover the remaining two EQ skills and strategies to strengthen our social competency as we relate to others:

Social Awareness Strategies

  • Greet people by name.

  • Watch body language.

  • Make timing everything.

  • Develop a back-pocket question.

  • Don’t take notes at meetings.

  • Plan ahead for social gatherings.

  • Clear away the clutter.

  • Live in the moment.

  • Watch EQ at the movies.

  • Practice the art of listening.

  • Go on a 15 minute tour.

  • Go people watching.

  • Understand the rules of the culture game.

  • Test for accuracy.

  • Step into their shoes.

  • Seek the whole picture.

  • Catch the mood of the room.

Relationship Management Strategies

  • Be open and curious.

  • Enhance your natural communication style.

  • Avoid giving mixed signals.

  • Remember the little things that pack a punch.

  • Take feedback well.

  • Build trust.

  • Have an “open-door” policy.

  • Only get mad on purpose.

  • Don’t avoid the inevitable.

  • Acknowledge the other person’s feelings.

  • Complement the person’s emotions or situation.

  • When you care, show it.

  • Explain your decisions; don’t just make them.

  • Make your feedback direct and constructive.

  • Align your intention with your impact.

  • Offer a “fix-it” statement during a broken conversation.

  • Tackle a tough conversation. (Start with agreement; ask the person to help you understand his or her side; resist the urge to plan a comeback or rebuttal; help the other person to understand your side, too; move the conversation forward; and keep in touch.)

Although we communicate differently, our wiring is similar in regards to how our brain operates. Some people just stay in the limbic system longer than others do in the frontal lobe. EQ is our ability to recognize and understand emotions in ourselves and others as we embrace and implement self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management skills and strategies in our daily living.

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