What's my EQ?
….Um, I have no idea!
But I can tell you about emotional intelligence, and recommend a few starting places if you want to learn to use emotions wisely with all your relationships.
First, a word about sources
There are SO many! What I’ve learned has come from a great edX.org course called “Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work.” UC Berkeley professors Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas provide an overview of empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence, drawing from pioneers in the field like Daniel Goleman, who so many have heard of, as well as Peter Salovey and John Mayer and others. If this is a topic you’re interested in, there are PLENTY of opportunities to learn from masters. Seriously. An an example - look up Daniel Goleman on LinkedIn!
By the way, emotional intelligence and EQ are technically different things, like, to a researcher - but it’s easier to use them interchangeably, as I will here. EQ is simply the measure of one’s emotional intelligence, and there are several psychological evaluations out there.
The Four Components of EQ: Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, using emotions wisely
You can’t gain the ultimate goal of managing relationships well using what you know about emotions without starting at the most basic level. Be aware of your own emotions! Being able to name what you’re feeling is a basic skill, and many of us do not pause to use it in our every day lives. Doing this in any situation - parenting comes to mind, but also, when having a difficult conversation with a work colleague - can help you in the next component…
Self-management or self-regulation - it’s not about control! Emotions should not be controlled. But, they can and sometimes should be managed. When you’re feeling angry, especially at work or with a loved one, it’s helpful to name it, at least to yourself, and try to find a way to diffuse the intensity of the emotion. Even happy emotions may sometimes need to be regulated - if you’re feeling ecstatic but your friend just got some terrible news, you probably want to avoid having a gigantic smile on your face.
But you might not avoid having that smile if you don’t realize the news is bothering your friend! Being self-aware and being able to manage your own emotions (and emotional expression) won’t get you too far if you cannot name and understand others’ emotions. Whether you feel empathy for them or not, intellectually understanding what they’re feeling is important, and then you can decide what to do with that information.
I love the phrase Kelter & Simon-Thomas use for this - “use emotions wisely.” Emotions are the building blocks, the grammar of every social interaction. The more you understand your own emotions, and the more you learn about emotions, the more you’re able to use emotions kindly, wisely, intelligently!
The great news about EQ is that it is a learnable skill. There are apps, there are books, there are blogs devoted solely to this topic. There are classes! And if you want some help with where to start, let us know - we can help.