Emotional Quotient (EQ) has been in the forefront of research on human performance for at least two decades, yet many still haven’t heard the news: EQ is more important than IQ. In other words, caring, compassion, and the desire to invest relationally counts more in creating success than grades, degrees and diplomas.
What is EQ?
Let’s start by clarifying exactly what Emotional Quotient is. Harvard researcher Howard Gardner defines it as the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them. It has a tremendous bearing on your personal and professional success and happiness. In fact, 90% of top performers are also high in Emotional Intelligence. People with a high EQ make an average of $29,000 more per year than those who score low. Since the quality of one’s life is dependent on the quality of his/her relationships – we’d better be paying attention to EQ. Travis Bradbury, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 calls it “the other kind of smart”.
Emotional Intelligence, IQ and personality are all different. You are born with basic personality characteristics that for the most part, remain with you throughout life. IQ is also relatively stable. IQ indicates your ability to learn. For most people, their IQ at age 55 is the same as when they were 15.
The need for meaningful human connection is what makes Emotional Quotient so important in our lives. The good news about EQ is that it can be developed. You can actually retrain your brain. Scientists call the ability of your brain to form new neural pathways, neuroplasticity. It’s never too late to learn something new.
Key Traits of People with High EQ
Consider some of the characteristics of highly emotionally intelligent people. This list is by no means comprehensive, but offers ways to recognize those with a high EQ and helps you cultivate these desirable traits yourself.
- They are self-aware without being self-absorbed.
- They have relinquished the need to be right.
- They listen and pay attention to how others are feeling and acting without owning the behavior of others.
- They are accountable for their own actions and don’t cast blame.
- They are respectful of others and can disagree without being rude or hurtful.
- They are authentic in their expression of themselves.
- They are not easily offended and are quick to forgive.
- They are relentlessly positive.
This infographic from Initiative One Leadership Institute packs a ton of great information into an easy-to-read format.