Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
noun: your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. (Bradberry, p.17)
What Is it?
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a term that was popularized by author Daniel Goleman in the 90’s and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in October, 1995. Since then, the concept has been studied and written about extensively from the perspectives of psychology, business, relationships, family, various world religions and more. Emotional Intelligence remains deeply relevant for us today as research has only continued to reveal more and more about the importance of developing these skills … and the negative implications of ignoring them.
My journey in this area of study is drawing me closer to God. Knowing I am made in his image, and discovering more about how I was designed by him, is helping me to understand him more, have a clearer vision of what redemption looks like and his invitation to be an agent of reconciliation. So I invite you to walk with me over the next four months as we explore Emotional Intelligence.
Neuroscience (study of how the brain works) has revealed that we are created as emotional creatures. In fact, our brain is designed in such a way to ensure that we experience emotion first… before thought and reason. Because of this, our “first reaction to an event is always going to be an emotional one…you do control the thoughts that follow an emotion – as long as you are aware of it”. (Bradberry, p. 16) Emotional Intelligence – understanding how this works – has been identified as one of the greatest contributors to success in leadership, relationships, effectiveness and personal fulfillment.
There are hundreds of books and articles about EQ available on the market. One of the most practical that I’ve found is the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves so I’ll draw heavily from this resource as we continue.
Why does It Matter?
Emotional Intelligence has been identified as contributing up to 90% of success in leadership. So-called “hard skills” such as strategy development, academic achievement or practical and managerial skills are now seen as the entry-level requirements necessary for leadership, but EQ is where true success will be determined. This is relevant because as Christ followers, success is translated as effectiveness in our calling to demonstrate Christ’s love in our world!
Travis Bradberry shares 11 Signs that You Lack Emotional Intelligence:
- You get stressed easily.
- In conflict, you default to passive or aggressive behavior.
- You are not able to accurately name your emotions.
- You gather evidence that supports your opinion and ignore any evidence to the contrary.
- You hold grudges.
- You don’t let go of your own mistakes.
- You often feel misunderstood.
- You are unaware of your own emotional triggers.
- You mask your negative emotions with inauthentic happiness or positivity.
- You blame other people for the way they make you feel.
- You are easily offended.
He also identifies these signs of healthy Emotional Intelligence:
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- You have a robust emotional vocabulary.
- You are curious about people.
- You embrace change.
- You know your strengths and weaknesses.
- You are a good judge of character.
- You are difficult to offend.
- You know how to say no (to yourself and others).
- You let go of mistakes.
- You give and expect nothing in return.
- You don’t hold grudges.
- You neutralize toxic people.
- You don’t seek perfection.
- You practice gratitude.
- You appropriately and regularly disconnect from work and technology.
- You limit your caffeine intake.
- You stop negative self-talk.
- You get enough sleep.
- You won’t let anyone limit your joy.
What can we do about it?
I don’t know about you, but those lists above are pretty motivating for me! Research indicates that as much as 64% of adults score low in Emotional Intelligence and therefore suffer consequences in their relationships. I’m currently taking a class in Developing Leaders through Emotional Intelligence Coaching and our instructors are saying that the good news is EQ can be developed! We can take the initiative and make intentional progress to increase our Emotional Intelligence!
Dr. Bradberry identifies 4 components to EQ that we can approach with humble teach-ability as we cooperate with God to develop these skills in our lives, becoming more effective in our relationships and become a more accurate representation of Jesus in our world.
- Self-Awareness: “Self-awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations…staying on top of your typical reactions to specific events, challenges, and people… helps you to quickly make sense of your emotions…requires a willingness to tolerate the discomfort of … feelings that may be negative.” (Bradberry, p. 24) We’ll explore more about Self-awareness in October.
- Self-Management: “Self-management is your ability to use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively…managing your emotional reactions to situations and people.” (Bradberry, p.32) Join me in November for more about Self-Management.
- Social Awareness: “Social awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on with them… perceiving what other people are thinking and feeling even if you do not feel the same way.” (Bradberry, p. 38) Deep listening is one of the key skills necessary for developing greater social awareness. In December we’ll discover some significant ways to improve our Social Awareness.
- Relationship Management: “Relationship management is your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.” (Bradberry, p. 44) This becomes most important in times of stress or conflict. January will wrap up this series on Emotional Intelligence with an exploration in Relationship Management.
Wondering what the Bible might have to say about Emotional Intelligence? Listen to how Peter describes it:
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others… Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you… 2 Peter 1:5-9a (MSG)
Bradberry, Travis. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego: Talent Smart https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002U3CBUW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
-Submitted by: Cindy Schmelzenbach, Member Care Coordinator, Asia-Pacific