What Is Emotional Intelligence — and How Can You Improve Yours? Resources

Everyone knows about IQ, or intelligence quotient, that famous measure of how smart a person is. Less attention is given to EQ, or emotional quotient, and according to author and psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, that’s unfortunate. EQ, Dr. Goleman says, might actually mean more in terms of career success.

In a Black Enterprise post titled “5 Strategies for Building Your Emotional Intelligence,” writer and WordSmithRapport founder Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. looks at how we can boost EQ for the good of our jobs. She begins by using one of Dr. Goleman’s articles to define EQ as “our ability to be aware of, influence, and express our own emotions, in addition to perceiving and influencing those of others.” Straight away, it’s clear why emotions are so vital in the workplace.

Mariama-Arthur’s first tip is to “pay more attention to your emotions on a daily basis.” By becoming more attuned to how you’re feeling, you’ll learn to differentiate between similar emotions and discover what triggers you to feel certain ways. This will make you “sharper and further develop your emotional wheelhouse,” Mariama-Arthur writes, and that’s sure to be advantageous.

You should also become more aware of non-verbal communication. According to Albert Merhabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA, 55 percent of communication comes from body language. Naturally, there’s a lot of room for miscommunication — things getting “lost in translation,” as Mariama-Arthur writes — but by focusing on how you send and receive signals that aren’t related to words or how they’re spoken, you’ll enjoy more meaningful interactions with those around you.

Another way to better connect with others: “practice empathy.” As Mariama-Arthur explains, empathy isn’t the same thing as sympathy. The latter is about feeling “for someone,” while empathy is the ability to feel “with someone,” and it’s not something you can fake. Developing empathy is a challenge for some people, as is the next item on the list: “exercise self-regulation.” This one is all about not being uninhibited in our behavior and submitting to our typical way of doing things. Instead, you want to use “focused behavior that serves a higher purpose,” and as Mariama-Arthur writes, self-regulation can only come after self-examination.

While many of these points have to do with looking inward and making adjustments, Mariama-Arthur’s final suggestion is to hone your social skills. By nature, she says, humans are social creatures, and by having conversations, collaborating, negotiating and — get this — actually listening to what other people have to say, you’ll kick your EQ up to that next level.

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