What’s Your Emotional Intelligence? Part 1

You might be book smart, but what about your emotional intelligence (EQ)? Here are some symptoms: You know you’re brilliant, yet you find yourself reacting with impatience to others who just don’t get it. Maybe your feedback to a teammate failed to come across the way you had intended. If you show signs of these symptoms, you’re possibly suffering from low emotional intelligence.

Promotional Consultant Today takes a look at emotional intelligence and how lack of awareness can hinder your success.

Why should you care about emotional intelligence? This can limit a person’s career and influence more than IQ. What indicates good emotional intelligence? It’s really about being aware of and responding effectively to emotions–our own and those of others.

In many ways, good EQ is similar to the common courtesies that were emphasized in previous generations. After all, the sage advice about “counting to 10” when you feel anger is about as scientific as you can get. We now know that the emotional part of the brain (the amygdala–pronounced a-mig-da-la) reacts four times faster than our cognitive quarterback in the pre-frontal cortex. In simpler terms, learning to slow down our response to emotional situations can keep us out of trouble.

The amygdala is part of the limbic system and is the source of our natural protective response for flight or fight. For many who train regularly for combat–military, law enforcement, athletes–tapping into this source of high energy for a crisis response helps performance. To some degree, all of us use and misuse this natural instinct to fight or flee–to dominate or withdraw.

So, the key to good emotional intelligence is awareness. Until we become aware of our emotions and predict where they will take us, we’re clueless as to how to manage them; and that’s what we really want to do. Likewise, an awareness of the emotions of others helps us manage our response to facilitate the most effective interaction. Having good EQ may sound somewhat soft, but it’s actually very powerful because it’s about being the most effective we can be. It begins with awareness–we can’t manage what we don’t recognize–and then it’s about managing our own emotions and responses to others.

Now that you are aware of emotional intelligence, read tomorrow’s PCT to learn four ways to manage it.

Source: Lee Ellis is a speaker and the author of Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, in which he shares his experiences as a Vietnam POW and highlights leadership lessons learned in the camps. As president of Leadership Freedom, a leadership and team development consulting and coaching company, he consults with Fortune 500 senior executives in the areas of hiring, teambuilding, executive development and succession planning.

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