In a previous post, What is EQ, and What’s in it for You?, we looked at the difference between EQ and IQ, and what that difference means for people at work. It’s true that more research supports the existence of an “EQ edge”. To go a little deeper, EQ isn’t something that can be learned in one sitting. You don’t get a pass or fail grade on EQ and then move on to fractions. EQ development is more of a journey that you’ll need to revisit as part of your commitment to being your best self. Here are the three biggest reasons to make a habit of studying EQ.
Have you ever found an old email you wrote from years past and as you read it, thought to yourself, “Wow, I sounded so green!” Whether it’s the word choice or the subject matter, you notice obvious immaturity that isn’t present in your current communication. That’s because in those few short years, you grew much more than you probably give yourself credit for. The mind is a part of the body that keeps developing through much of our lifetime. In teenage minds, the hippocampus isn’t even fully formed yet! Even when all the parts are fully formed, our brain keeps learning and making sense of new information, actually growing new neural connections. The growth doesn’t stop when we reach adulthood or get promoted. Even if ten years back you were in the middle of your career, successful, and making an impact on people around you, you’re still a more advanced version of yourself now.
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Today’s workplace demands emotional intelligence. The more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous our working environments become, the more critical a truly agile workforce is to success. Each day, we’re called to make progress faster, while pivoting on short notice. To stand firm in our ideas while remaining open to new perspectives. Staying agile demands that we develop and use our emotional intelligence (EQ)—a level of sophistication that has never been demanded before. Learn to thrive in an agile workforce with these key EQ skills:
1. Read between the lines and solve complex people
2. Become more agile to increase performance and enhance your leadership style
3. Be more effective in assessing business situations and other people’s perspectives
Each year, you’re only equipped to apply EQ to what you’ve learned up to that point. But each year, time and experience cause your brain to grow new connections, and you are constantly becoming more equipped to handle a wide variety of challenges.
That’s why it’s important to revisit your EQ at different stages of your life. In doing so, you’ll be able to make sense of past experiences in a profound way. History is full of lessons, and EQ turns those lessons into concrete wisdom you can use now.
People naturally tend to operate at their best when they have the luxury of being in familiar environments. If you’ve been working in the same company or industry, in the same type of role with the same type of people, you’ll soon learn the rhythm and approach your position with much more finesse than when you first started. Whether it’s a company or an industry as a whole, once you learn the general culture, skill set, language, and core competencies, you can finally focus less on those things and more on delivering your best self into your role.
That’s a fantastic place to be! But realistically, circumstances out of your control will inevitably come into play a handful of times in the course of your career. New leaders come in, mergers happen, consumer trends change, competition emerges, technologies are adopted. And oh yeah, there could be an unforeseen economic stall out due to a global pandemic…
Through no fault of your own, changes will happen that will shake up the pieces of your puzzle. You’ll need to rely on your emotional intelligence to remain calm, interpret new surroundings, and respond in the best way possible. Some changes offer lots of potential and excitement for what’s to come. Other changes come with a block of cement and a rope to sink your heart to the bottom of the ocean like a bad mafia movie. EQ can carry you through to the other side in the midst of instability and uncertainty, and allow you to pull the most valuable bits from every experience, especially the unpleasant ones.
EQ is a performance-enhancer.
Suppose someone approached you in the parking garage one day and offered you a 100% verified, Ph.D. approved, performance-enhancing pill that would elevate your career and relationships with no ill side effects. Would you take the pill? Many of us would not, simply on because we have been warned against sketchy people in parking garages.
EQ is essentially that magic pill that can elevate virtually every other competency you’ve accumulated up to now, and its impact on your health is positive. People with more developed EQ are better at communicating what they really want to say. They know how to sidestep their automatic tendencies that can put other people off, and how to help other individuals hear them in their own person-specific language. They also know when to communicate, and when to shut up and listen. Working on EQ is like pouring your other skill sets and intellectual abilities through a distillery that cleans out unintentional messaging so you and your colleagues can build a trusting relationship with you. It starts by purifying your internal messaging, then it works its way out to impact your communication with the people around you.
The best part about EQ? It’s transferable. Emotional intelligence is another way to refer to your character development. While different roles in different companies and different industries will require mastery of the specific skills you need to perform your job, your character transcends any of life’s destinations and serves you well no matter where you happen to be.
Now more than ever before, the world needs people with high EQ to step in and lift others up. Yes, it’s amazingly helpful in furthering your career. But, it’s also essential for furthering humanity. So, don’t take a class on EQ and check the box. Make EQ development part of your integral success strategy as a professional and a human being.