How Emotional Intelligence Functions

Recent research suggests that emotional intelligence (or EQ, for short) plays an important role in workplace success. Employers look to assess their employees’ levels of empathy, motivation, and other such qualities when trying to determine if they will remain engaged with their jobs, perform well under pressure, and satisfy co-workers.

Certain studies suggest that having high EQ is more important than IQ in determining someone’s career success. This makes sense because leadership positions often require taking responsibility, motivating others around you, and understanding how people relate to each other.

While there are no official qualifications for being emotionally intelligent, some experts offer their own ideas about what constitutes a high level of EQ. These include traits like kindness, acceptance of differences, and awareness of your emotions.

Some theories about why EQ is so valuable include the following:

It helps us understand ourselves and our place in the world.

It can help us connect with and motivate people around us.

It allows us to recognize and manage our emotions, which can benefit relationships as well as work.

This article will discuss all three of these points and explore whether or not developing your EQ is worth the effort.

How it differs from mental intelligence

how emotional intelligence functions

A lot of people may know what emotional intelligence is, but they can’t always pinpoint how it functions. That's because most definitions focus only on one part of this complex skill-the understanding or knowledge component.

This limited view of EQ misses the boat in two major ways.

First, although knowing about emotions is important, being able to use your emotion knowledge effectively isn't selfless. In fact, developing strong emotional skills helps you achieve personal and professional goals by enhancing motivation, productivity, performance, and overall quality of life.

Second, just because someone has good emotion control doesn’t mean that they are living a balanced life. For example, someone who is very conscious of their feelings may be overly concerned with pleasing others at the expense of building trust or confidence in themselves.

Relationships between emotional intelligence and other skills

how emotional intelligence functions

One of the biggest misconceptions about EI is that it is only related to others’ emotions. While this theory has some truth in it, it is not fully accurate.

Emotion regulation is an important part of emotional intelligence, but it is only one piece of the puzzle.

Other key components include understanding your own feelings and how they influence you, as well as being able to identify and understand the emotions of others.

This takes practice, which is why there are many different types of training for individuals to pursue with their EQ.

There are several courses and programs designed to help people develop their emotion regulation skills, as well as strategies to use them effectively.

Most focus on teaching specific techniques or tools, such as taking breaks before coming back from something painful, using neutral expressions while trying to reduce stress, or putting yourself in someone else’s shoes when trying to understand their feelings.

Ways to improve emotional intelligence

how emotional intelligence functions

One of the most important things you can do to increase your emotional intelligence is recognize what makes you feel good about yourself and other people.

This is called self-esteem, or esteem for others. You must be aware of how you feel about yourself before you can work on improving your confidence as a person.

Self-confidence comes from within so trying to find ways to boost it will not necessarily work unless you are confident in who you are already.

It is also important to acknowledge all of your strengths and weaknesses so that they don’t get overlooked. When you realize how strong some parts of your personality are, then you can focus more on developing weaker areas.

You need to understand your own emotions so that you aren’t acting on instinct but instead using logical reasoning to determine the best action. This way, you won’t make hasty decisions with negative results.

Taking control of your emotions

how emotional intelligence functions

So how do you develop emotional intelligence? The first step is to recognize that you are not born with this ability, like having brown eyes or being tall. You must work at it just like any other skill.

The second is to acknowledge that everyone does not have the same level of emotional intelligence. This can be very frustrating as people may seem completely unaffected by events around them while they are crying inside.

It can also make you feel bad because even though they might not show it, they probably don’t enjoy watching someone else's happy moment either.

The third is to realize that things such as stress, life experiences, and genetics play a role in how much empathy you have.

You cannot change one of these factors, but you can learn how to manage the others. And once you do, then you will see changes in your own EQ.

Doing things that boost your emotional intelligence

how emotional intelligence functions

A lot of people believe that being smart is enough to succeed in life. This perception leaves out an important part of what makes someone successful — how you relate to and handle emotions of others.

This lack of understanding for EQ comes from either ignorance or skepticism about it. Some say there’s no need to invest in this quality because happiness comes naturally to some people, while other individuals are just not capable of showing emotion.

Both theories fail to recognize that we all have different levels of EMQ (emotional quotient) and that everyone needs help controlling their own feelings and those of others.

It’s like having a set amount of money but none to spend it on – you won’t be happy with your financial situation until you do something with your cash.

The same goes for emotional well-being. You will never feel confident nor happier unless you work on yours.

Practice self-awareness

how emotional intelligence functions

A key part of emotional intelligence is being aware of your emotions. This includes knowing what you are feeling, understanding why you are feeling a certain way, and recognizing it as important to learn about yourself.

This can be tricky because we sometimes feel feelings that seem out of place or unexpected. It may even look like there’s no one around you who could possibly know how you felt before so it's hard to ask.

That’s why it is very helpful to have people in your life who will make you talk about your feelings. You might want to consider investing in some self-respect and helping others by talking more about your feelings.

You don't need to always tell everyone everything, but if someone asks you how you were feeling just say "yes" and then try to describe it for them. Don't forget that they probably didn’t grow up with you either so they won’t understand all of the nuances of your emotion.

Try not to worry too much about whether other people think you're smart or stupid though! Sometimes things get blown out of proportion and it is good to be known as someone who is intelligent and able to relate to others.

Be realistic

how emotional intelligence functions

According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence is not about having lots of emotions or even being able to recognize them easily. It’s actually thinking about how you feel and using that knowledge to make smart decisions.

Emotions come with feelings, so knowing what someone else is feeling doesn’t necessarily tell you much about whether they have high levels of emotional intelligence.

It can be difficult to evaluate another person’s level of emotional intelligence because we all use different markers to define it. What one person might consider emotion control is very different from what someone else considers it.

A person may think that showing their emotions is a sign of low emotional intelligence, while others may find that behavior indicative of strong leadership skills.

So when trying to assess if someone has higher than average levels of emotional intelligence, look for things like confidence, motivation, self-control, and empathy.

Learn to be assertive

how emotional intelligence functions

Being able to control your emotions is an important part of emotional intelligence. When you are aware of your feelings, you can make more rational decisions in times of crisis or stress.

Being able to identify what makes you feel good about yourself and others is a great way to start improving your emotional intelligence. You will also need to recognize when someone else has made you feel bad and how to prevent such behavior from happening again.

Practicing self-awareness is another key element of emotional intelligence. This means being conscious of your own behaviors and thoughts.

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