We often hear that intelligence leads to success in life, but what does intelligence really mean?Is it being able to resolve an equation faster than the average person or is it being able to understand and react mindfully to emotions?
Intelligence Quotient (IQ) has been the major indicator of success for many years. Firms were looking for leaders with a high level of hard skills such as logic, languages or mathematics, and were not interested in people skills.
The question is, how can you be successful if you don’t know how to use your talents? How can you be a good leader if you are not able to recognise your strengths and weaknesses? If you are not capable of understanding your emotions and the impact they have on your team?
It’s not always the smartest people that are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Psychologists generally agree that among the components of success, IQ counts for roughly 10-20%; the rest depends on EQ and other factors.
The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) englobes five main competences which have a direct impact on the work climate:
People with high emotional intelligence master these different skills. They understand their own emotions and know how to react to them, but not only! They also have the ability to understand other’s feelings and to adapt themselves to the people around them.
While working in the service industry, especially when having high contact with the clients, you are asked to manage your emotions, to hide them and to keep smiling whatever happens; the client is always right. During my first internship working as a waitress, I found it very hard not to show my emotions, not to make difficult clients feel that I wasn’t happy with the way they were talking to me or with what they were requesting. You know why it was hard? Because I was trying to hide my emotions without first taking the time to understand them.
The first step in improving your EQ is to recognize your emotions, understand the root cause of your feelings and how you react to them. Once you understand that, you can start working on improving your self-regulations, not before.
People with high EQ are usually successful at managing. Why? Because they’re the ones that others want on their team. When people with high EQ ask something, it gets answered. When they need support, they get it. Because they make others feel good, they go through life much more positively and easily than people who get quickly angry or who openly react to their feelings.
And now think about it… Think about the people I just described; someone who not only knows himself but who also tries to understand others. Isn’t it the perfect leader? Don’t we all want to work for this type of person? For someone able to increase trust and commitment amongst his employees, to foster motivation and innovation?
EQ is a strong indicator of the level of success one can attain in life, both in the personal and business realms. If IQ tests measure logic, mathematics and reasoning, EQ determines how you will use these gifts. Of course, as in all aspects of life, you need a balance. You cannot be successful by only having high IQ or by only being emotionally intelligent. You need to find the right combination.
The good news is that you can develop your EQ!
Once you train your brain by repetitively using new emotional intelligence strategies, emotionally intelligent behaviours become habits.