What is emotional intelligence and why does it matter?


Back in 2018 LinkedIn published an article that referred to the following statistic from talentsmart.com;
“People with high emotional intelligence earn, on average, $29,000 more annually than those who score low on EQ — People who perform well get paid more, and there is a direct correlation between salary and emotional intelligence. For each percentage-point increase in EQ, a person can add $1300 to their annual salary.” -Talentsmart.com
That is a staggering statistic and as it was from 2018 who knows what those figures would show now. We know it makes a difference but what is it and how do you increase it?
Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ)has been defined, by Peter Salovey and John Mayer, as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour”.
In very simple terms a high level of EQ gives you the following abilities;
Recognise your emotions
Recognise and relate to the emotions of others
Actively listen to others
Understand the nonverbals cues of behaviour in active communication
Control your own thoughts and feelings
Manage your emotions and express them in a socially acceptable way
Receive criticisms positively and benefit from them
Forgive, forget and move on rationally
Now as you read through the list you may have spotted some areas where you could improve. I, for example, am not great at receiving criticism positively and this is something I have to work on. You may struggle to manage your emotions or find it difficult to read the emotions of others, whatever it is we can all work to improve our skills. Well, the good news is that unlike IQ which remains static or declines EQ can be developed and increased at any age as long as you are prepared to learn and change.
To help us to break it down further, Daniel Goleman a psychologist, science journalist and author of the best selling 1995 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ defined the 5 key components of emotional intelligence as listed below:
Self-awareness – the knowledge of what we feel and why we feel so.
Understanding yourself, how and when you react to certain triggers and how others see you are all invaluable abilities and essential for great leadership.
Self-regulation – the ability to express our feelings in the right way.
When you understand yourself and your emotions you can begin to adapt and adjust your behaviours to make sure you get the best responses.
Motivation – the internal drive to change the way we feel and express.
When you are self-aware and self-regulated you should feel the motivation to improve and to continue to get more from your communications.
Empathy – the ability to relate to others’ emotions and see the world from their perspective.
Being able to put aside your own perspective and to be able to feel what someone else is going through is a very powerful ability.
Social skills – the power to communicate effectively and build strong connections at home or in the workplace.
To be effective you must be able to take your skills out into the world socially and connect with people to help yourself and others to communicate better.

Building your EQ will be a continual process, and you will have times when you revert to a less EQ type, but every step you take to improving it will help you to be a more effective communicator and a happier person.
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing more on how you can improve your EQ skills and further ways in which they can help you and the businesses you work in.
If you want to know more then get in touch today – mhairi@tomrom.co.uk