What is Emotional Intelligence?
IQ is to ‘Intelligence Quotient’, as ‘EQ’ is to ’emotional quotient’ or ’emotional intelligence’ (Psyche Central, 2018). Put simply, this measure represents your ability to understand other people, and to connect with their decision making processes and motivation. It involves the ability to unambiguously discern not just your own, but others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence involves understanding emotional signals within relationships. It also involves managing your own and others’ emotions. Qualities or traits it does not involve however, include confidence and optimism. One can be optimistic, yet be lacking in emotional intelligence (Review, 2017). Emotional intelligence is beneficial as an aid in the development and strengthening of relationships and to help you to get on with other people.
The Power of EQ
In a health service setting or in many other arenas, emotional intelligence can actually be more valuable than IQ. Think about it for a moment: as a person accessing a health care provider, who would you rather talk with? Someone who is attentive, who listens to what you have to say, who can communicate well, and someone who has an ability to empathise? Or someone who is great academically, but can’t get along with others? Or someone who is academically gifted, but just can’t relate to others? A major factor in health care service delivery is to do with communication. There is no doubting, emotional intelligence is a highly valuable skill.
Emotional intelligence is also a significant factor in effective parenting. Goleman (1996) referred to emotional intelligence as a reflective, cognitive skill used in monitoring and self-regulating affect. Emotional intelligence involves recognising how emotions affect your own behaviour and other people’s behaviour. This is very important in building and maintaining relationships, and to become socially competent. (Howe, 2005, pp. 13-14).
Emotional intelligence is also a factor that makes someone a great parent – the ability to empathise with their children and to motivate them to behave in particular ways. Likewise, it is also undoubtedly a huge factor when it comes to finding and securing a romantic relationship.
Measurement and Training
It is interesting to compare and contrast IQ and EQ. which are actually related. There is a correlation between IQ and EQ, meaning that someone generally more intelligent may end up being more emotionally intelligent too (though not in every case). This is because someone intelligent will be better able to predict the actions, emotions and motivations of others. Other studies have shown that intelligent people are more trusting for the same reasons.
This suggests that emotional intelligence can be ‘learnt’ to an extent. While our own emotions might be heavily influenced by our genetics and neurochemistry, learning how others act and increasing our memory and attention can help us to improve our EQ.
Measurement of emotional intelligent is then also possible in order to get an idea of just how adept any given person is at understanding emotions. Many tests exist however and the practicality of each is something that is fairly controversial – which is a whole topic of its own!
All-in-all, emotional intelligence is quite a large topic of discussion. Here are a couple of resources/links which may be interesting to you:
Howe, D. (2005). Child abuse and neglect. Hampshire and New York: Palgrave MacMillan
Review, H. B. (2017). Hbr guide to emotional intelligence (hbr guide series). Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.usq.edu.au
Psyche Central, (2018). What is emotional intelligence (eq)? Retrieved November 7, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-intelligence-eq/
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