Is Your Emotional Intelligence (Eq) Advancing Your Career?

You’re in a meeting when a colleague takes credit for your work. What would you do: 1) Publicly confront the colleague over ownership? 2) After the meeting, request she gives you credit when discussing your work? 3) Nothing? 4) Publicly thank her for referencing your work, and give the group additional information?

If you selected # 4, you've demonstrated emotional intelligence or EQ. Studies show that emotionally intelligent people are more successful in their careers than people who possess only intellectual smarts. Daniel Goldman, who popularized the EQ concept, identified five interrelated EQ competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Motivation, Empathy, and Effective Relationships.

What’s your EQ?
Answer “yes” or “no.”

1. I recognize my feelings and differentiate among them.
2. I know and accept myself.
3. I need to discuss my problems with others.
4. I’m realizing my potential.
5. I hang up on angry clients.
6. I get facts before reacting in an uncomfortable situation.
7. My life is stressful.
8. If I don’t get the promotion, I’ll continue to perform well, believing I’ll get the next one.
9. I get depressed regularly.
10. I usually reframe bad experiences.
11. I don't handle adversity well.
12. I’m persistent.
13. I’m sensitive to others’ feelings.
14. If a colleague has a problem, I’d volunteer to help.
15. l share my thoughts.
16. I value others’ viewpoints even though I disagree.
17. I’m dependable, cooperative.
18. My conscience guides my actions.
19. I’m comfortable with people.
20. I have good communication skills.

Scoring: One point for each “yes” to all items except 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. A high score suggests you may be emotionally intelligent. (The items listed are only examples of emotional intelligence.)

Strengthening Emotional Intelligence

1. Self–Awareness. Items 1 to 4 measure competencies such as self-understanding, confidence, and self-reliance. To enhance self-awareness, know and accept yourself. Be yourself, not who you “should” be.

Clarify your purpose, and commit to at least one goal that enables your to express your purpose. Tips for clarifying purpose are found in

Build on your strengths. List proud personal qualities and accomplishments such as confident, caring, optimistic. Each week, enhance a previous performance related to one strength. For example, list what else can you do to become more optimistic, resilient or other?

Recognize feelings such as sadness and anger. Note what triggers these feeling and subsequent successful and unsuccessful consequences.

2. Self-Regulation. Items 5 to 8 measure self-management skills such as self-control, flexibility, and tact. Learn to manage emotions and negative thoughts and feelings. Restructure negative thoughts so they’re more positive. Recognize time wasting habits and modify your schedule accordingly.

Minimize fear by identifying worrisome issues, and using appropriate information and resources to minimize these. Live in the present. When angry, take time out before acting. Go to a quiet place and breathe deeply, or wait a few days to cool down. Engage in physical activities to reduce stress.

3. Self-Motivation. Items 9 to 12 measure competencies such as optimism, drive, and inner-directedness. To strengthen self-motivation, develop positive thinking patterns. Focus on opportunities. Practice positive self-talk. Believe good things will happen. Begin each day by smiling at yourself in the mirror.

Take charge of your career. Experiment with new ideas, strategies. Think and talk about things you want. Define success personally. Persist in achieving goals. View mistakes as leaning experiences.

4. Empathy. Items 13 to 16 measure empathy, awareness and appreciation of others’ feelings. Strengthen empathy by listening. People feel reassured and understood when others pay attention. Listen to peoples’ needs and perspectives.

Summarize what you hear the person say. Let them know you hear and understand their thoughts and feelings. Listen between the lines. What’s the person feeling but not saying? Ask questions when unsure.

Build rapport and trust. Be genuine, approachable, open to suggestions. Make people feel physically and emotionally comfortable. Demonstrate appreciation.

5. Effective Relationships. Items 17 to 20 measure interpersonal skills such as friendliness, communication, teamwork, and leadership. Cultivate friendly relationships with co-workers. Know peoples’ names and special strengths. Develop ‘small-talk’ skills. Celebrate peoples’ accomplishments.

Develop a social conscience. Volunteer for company-sponsored or community projects. Get involved in hobbies that involve social interaction. Practice communication skills. Read, take courses. Join Toastmasters.

Success and satisfaction in our global workplace require emotional intelligence in addition to technical and professional skills. Identify one EQ trait to strengthen each week.

Chapter 3, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, provides additional ways to strengthen EQ or Quester traits.