EQ Emotional Intelligence

Your guide to EQ

How is EQ emotional intelligence defined?

There are several different types of emotional intelligence. Specifically, EQ is an emotional quotient of emotional intelligence which means that a score is made of various types of emotions in order to measure and compare them. More widely, EQ is an ability which allows someone to distinguish between multiple emotional states and act accordingly. For example, an emotionally intelligent person would be able to differentiate between feelings of frustration and anger. Crucially, EQ means adjusting your behaviour in response to your own emotional state as well as recognising the feelings of others and adapting to them. In this regard, emotional intelligence is closely linked to empathy.

 Can emotional intelligence be learned?

 Many people regard EQ as a set of skills which can be acquired. Of course, like any skill set, some people are more adept at it than others. For those who are not naturals with emotional intelligence, a greater focus on self-management and self-awareness are key skills on which to brush up. Learning more about relationships and social theories will also help you to use what you have learned of your own emotional intelligence in more constructive ways.

Is EQ important for leadership?

In business and other areas where leadership is important, many people now recognise that emotional intelligence can be useful. In short, it helps leaders to manage their own emotions even in stressful circumstances by identifying their own emotive reactions more readily. Even more importantly, it means being able to recognise the emotional states of others, thereby allowing for improved team management of individuals within a wider organisational structure.

Where is emotional intelligence used?

As mentioned, EQ is often used by big corporations to improve the performance of both senior and middle managers, especially those who manage lots of staff. In addition, it is increasingly utilised by civil servants in government departments and even the military. Emotional intelligence is, therefore, often used as a tool to deal with job performance. In other situations, it is applied to areas like bullying, health and well-being as well as matters relating to self-esteem, such as those associated with drug and alcohol dependence.

What criticisms of EQ are there?

Some people claim that because EQ cannot be measured in a cognitive manner, then it is necessarily not a form of intelligence. In fact, some argue that it is not a skill at all but something that is more akin to a moral quality, such as honesty. One key factor in why all EQ models receive academic criticisms is that they are subject to self-reporting. As such, there is no way to independently verify the accuracy of someone's claim to a greater emotional understanding of themselves. That said, it continues to be used in many areas of human interaction regardless of those who doubt its utility.

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Empathy is best described as the mental capacity to understand what someone else may be feeling. Empathy is, therefore, often picked up on via visual cues, such as seeing the distress of someone else. In other cases, it can be much more intuitive, however. The ability to show empathy is desirable because it means being able to create a deeper bond with others. When someone is empathetic towards you, it can be a comfort. Remember that empathetic thoughts mean you put yourself in someone else's shoes and see it from their point of view. It is not simply the ability to spot a different emotional state in someone else.
Kindness is often described as a series of ethical behaviours that show consideration and goodwill to others. It is also sometimes seen as a virtue, something that is morally good of itself. Although it can be reciprocated, in its purest form it is often given without altruistically any thought for a return. An act of kindness might be showing compassion for someone or loyalty towards them. In many studies into personal relationships, it is how kind an individual considers their partner to be that usually plays a big part in their decision to get together. Some psychological studies seem to indicate that kindness might be an inherent behaviour in people. However, some people believe that is learned in early childhood about the same time that toddlers begin to get to grips with the concept of empathy.
Often regarded as something that is related to empathy, compassion is the feeling that comes when you notice someone or something, that is suffering. You may not be able to put yourself into the shoes of the person you are feeling compassionate about. However, having compassion for them means that at least you understand that they in difficulty. What happens after this feeling is felt does not necessarily flow from the sense of compassion. One might, for example, feel compassionate about a child that is in anguish but do nothing about its suffering. On the other hand, if it leads you to comfort the child or to alleviate its pain in some way, then this would be rightly regarded as a compassionate act. Compassion is first and foremost an emotional response, therefore, but it can lead to compassionate actions being subsequently taken, too.
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