What Is Emotional Intelligence And Why Is It Important?

We all know someone like that in our lives. Someone who's cool, collected, and empathetic even in stressful circumstances, who understands non-verbal communication and makes everyone around them feel comfortable. That's an example of someone with a high emotional intelligence, otherwise known as emotional quotient (EQ). A person with high EQ, per Verywell Mind, is someone who is not only able to understand and control their emotions but also able to tune into other people's feelings and express empathy for others.

Many psychologists believe that good emotional intelligence is more valuable than IQ, or intelligence quotient, a metric used to quantify an individual's intellect. While IQ has more to do with logic and problem-solving skills, EQ is about understanding yourself and others and mastering the art of saying the right word at the right time. Not only does a high EQ make your daily life and social interactions better, but it also makes a more accurate indicator of success in the workplace, per Diffen. In other words, the world will become a much more humane place if everyone is endowed with high EQ.

Let's dive into the benefits of emotional intelligence and how you can use it to lead a happier, more successful life.

Benefits of emotional intelligence

EQ plays a vital role in solidifying both personal relationships and workplace connections. Family might be home to our closest allies, but it's also a breeding ground for misunderstandings and conflicts. Family life comes with responsibilities and expectations, and it's hard not to feel misunderstood and buckle under pressure at some point. Because of this, it's crucial to practice active awareness and empathy, without which maintaining familial ties become a cross to bear. In order to do this, you must learn how to regulate your emotions, make an effort to understand other people's points of view, and make your loved ones feel accepted even when you disagree with them, HelpGuide points out.

At the workplace, EQ is an indispensable skill to effectively support your co-workers and lead your team in the right direction, per In Professional Development. An office is where both work-related and personal conflicts take place. Some "pressure cooker" environments produce healthy productivity, and some turn people against one another. A leader or colleague with high EQ knows how to stay calm, help his or her colleagues navigate tense moments with tact and clarity, and foster supportive relationships. With low emotional intelligence, a workplace will become a hotbed of miscommunication and conflicts where employees operate in their silos.

Although some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence is innate, it can be acquired through observation and practice.

How to develop emotional intelligence

To improve self-awareness, the foundation of EQ, Goverb recommends the practice of recognizing, reframing, and rationalizing. First, you identify your hot buttons and recognize your feelings about a certain event. It's okay to have emotions but learn to control them. Then, you reframe your response by considering the possible outcomes of the interaction. After that, you rationalize the way you respond by analyzing whether it is called for. Only when you understand how you feel and why you react the way you do can you not be controlled by other people's emotions.

Another practical approach to honing your emotional intelligence, per Mind Tools, is to look at the way you react to people. Are you responding, or are you reacting? Responding factors in long-term consequences before replying. When you react, you simply meet one action with another one. To better your EQ in social interactions, listen to people with a receptive mind, acknowledge their perspectives, and refrain from jumping the gun. You might have a lot of wisdom, but if you want a few friends, in the end, you might want to resist the urge to straighten out everyone's affair. To use empathy effectively, be helpful but not bossy, humble but not servile.

Emotional intelligence is an essential part of becoming an all-around better human and leader. A high degree of emotional intelligence enables you to empathize with others, communicate tactfully, and deal with your relationships both at work and at home effectively.