I think we’ve all worked with, lived with or known someone who’s mood swings can rip through the atmosphere. And hopefully we’ve all experienced that person who changes the air for the better – one that can lift the mood and make people feel positive. These are examples of Emotional Intelligence (or your emotional quotient).

Have you ever wondered why that super smart person you went to school or university with hasn’t transferred their intelligence into career & life success?  And why, that person who wasn’t the brightest button in the box has?

It’s probable that, just as these people had widely different IQ, they also had very different Emotional Intelligence too.

IQ has long been a respected as a sign of ‘intelligence’ however it is only one aspect with tests assessing spatial ability (visualizing shapes and figures), mathematical ability (using logic to solve problems), language ability (solving word puzzles or recognizing words with jumbled letters etc.), and memory (recalling visual or aural information).  There continues to be much debate around IQ especially with the discovery of neuroplasticity where scientists have shown the brain to have enormous potential for change bringing evidence that backs up ‘use it or lose it’. However, one thing is clear – IQ shines a light on one aspect of our intelligence, how our conscious mind performs in certain areas. Emotional Intelligence is a very important other.

Emotional Intelligence is a measure of our ‘street smarts’ – our ability to use emotional information, from ourselves and others, in an effective and meaningful way.  This includes, developing and maintaining relationships, coping with challenges, expressing ourselves, recognising our own emotional states and making appropriate and effective decisions.  Emotions are the driver of behaviour in that we experience an emotion which triggers lots of neural pathways which themselves trigger a thought which activates a behaviour.  Sometimes without us being aware of what just happened and all because it’s gone on in our subconscious mind.

Developing our Emotional Intelligence helps us tap into our subconscious far more easily and as such see greater results.  It is these ‘soft’ skills that are a far greater predictor of success in life and work than IQ and the good thing is they can be easily developed.

It’s useful to get a sense of your Emotional Intelligence whether through personal research or doing an assessment such as the EQi 2.0.  Unlike IQ, it’s not so much about getting a high overall score rather about having balance. For example, you may be very objective which has the potential, as all the scales do, to be a great strength.  However, if you are also lower in empathy then you may come across as harsh and uncaring – which could lead to difficulties in maintaining effective relationships.

Another combination could be to have high flexibility (you adapt to change effectively) but combined with low self regard (self confidence) this may result in you being too amenable to others needs and agendas and not attending to your own.

It may be that after doing some reading (I highly recommend The EQ Edge by Steven Stein & Howard Book) you have a sense of areas you can develop and this book offers suggestions of activities that help. And if you are interested in exploring your EQ in more detail with a coach then please get in touch or find out more here

As always I’d love to know your thoughts so please comment below. And if you know of anyone who may benefit from this feel free to share.