Your emotional quotient plays a major role in your personal and business relationships. In fact, if you don’t work on honing the numerous skills that can boost your emotional quotient, it’s highly likely that you’ll end up dealing with a lot of unnecessary drama and pain.
The good news is that you’re not stuck with one emotional quotient from birth. Your intelligence quotient (IQ) can change throughout your life , and the same is true for your emotional quotient.
What is ‘Emotional Quotient’ ?
Your emotional quotient defines your level of emotional intelligence. If you are able to understand the motivations of others and work cooperatively with them, you are displaying a high emotional quotient. However, it’s vital to be aware that this is just one piece of the puzzle.
Psychologists have divided emotional intelligence into five major categories , according to Psychcentral. Your overall emotional quotient is determined by assessing all five of the following factors:
Your ability to understand others and be sensitive to the needs of a diverse group of people. Here are a couple of things empathetic people excel at:
- Service orientation. Empathetic people are skilled at this because they are able to anticipate and recognize the needs of others.
- Developing and understanding others. These individuals have an innate sense of what people need to advance, and they can determine the feelings behind a person’s wants and needs.
You have the initiative, drive, commitment and ability to feel optimistic when facing obstacles. Even if you lean toward having a negative attitude, you can will yourself to be more optimistic when facing hurdles in life.
Your amount of self-esteem and awareness of your own emotions, including how they impact you and everyone around you.
There are two major elements of self-awareness:
- Self-confidence or the confidence in your capabilities and self worth; and
- Emotional awareness, which means you are capable of recognizing your own emotions and their effects.
4. Social Skills.
Your success at working in a team, communicating effectively, being a leader, wielding influence, building relationships and initiating change all fit into this category.
Your ability to manage your most disruptive thoughts and feelings, along with your level of innovation, trustworthiness, adaptability and conscientiousness.
There are many tests available that can help you determine your current emotional quotient. The Institute for Health and Human Potential even offers it for free. Just click here to take the quiz.
Is Your Emotional Quotient High or Low?
There’s no shame in discovering that you have a low emotional quotient because this gives you the opportunity to work on your self-improvement skills. Remember, we’re all constantly learning about ourselves and our place in the world.
The difference between a low and high emotional quotient can be as simple as deciding that you want to work on the necessary skills to improve your relationships.
Learn From the Negatives
Self-awareness is one of the biggest factors in your emotional quotient, but for many, it’s the hardest part to work on. We all live with ourselves 24/7, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve done the deeper emotional work that is required to be truly aware of what motivates us.
You might even be doing yourself more harm than good  by taking an anti-negativity approach. The reality is that all humans have negativity in their lives, but you can learn from yours.
How do You Determine Your “EQ”?
For example, let’s imagine a scenario where you and your partner have been bickering with each other for the past couple of days. Nothing specific has happened, and you don’t feel any active negative feelings toward them, but you’re still extremely irritated.
Do you have the ability to look within yourself to find the root cause of your irritability? Perhaps even more importantly, are you able to be emotionally open and mature enough to express this to your partner and work together on finding an innovative solution?
If you answered yes to both questions, you have good self-awareness and are likely to have a high emotional quotient. If you answered no, you can learn to get more in touch with your feelings so that you can take action to make things better instead of relying on bickering to blow off steam.
Examples of a Low Intelligence Quotient
• Fighting Dirty. Name calling and destructive behavior instead of working through problems with your partner.
• Inability to Accept Criticism. Do you always become defensive and refuse to consider whether or not the criticism is valid? This is a sign that your emotional intelligence could use some work.
• A Single Moment Ruining the Day. We all have emotions, and we’re all going to say or do something that we regret from time-to-time. People who cannot bounce back from these moments and instead allow the entire day to become ruined have a lower emotional quotient.
• Racism, Homophobia, Xenophobia, etc. Part of emotional intelligence is being empathetic to the needs and experiences of others. It’s also important to be able to leverage cultural differences to achieve shared goals. Judging people based on their skin color, sexual orientation or country of origin are just a few of the many ways that people showcase issues with their emotional intelligence.
Many people have difficulty with emotional intelligence, even if they don’t realize it. If you or your partner have this problem, it doesn’t make either of you bad people. What’s important is to be willing to face the facts and take active steps to change.
One place you can start, advises Ronald E Riggio, Ph.D., is with learning more about nonverbal communication . You may also be able to work through your personal feelings more effectively by setting aside time to journal, reflect and meditate daily.
If emotional regulation is a big issue, consider trying Tai Chi. Keep in mind that some people weren’t taught the right tools during childhood, so they may need to do extensive self-work to show any major improvements.
Doing this work, no matter how difficult it is, can lead to better relationships and a higher quality of life.
These Skills Would Improve Your Emotional Quotient:
1. Taking Action with Self-Awareness
In the previous example about the couple that was bickering for no apparent reason, there was one major change in their living environment: they had recently acquired many new items, and their house had become very cluttered.
Becoming self-aware would make it much easier to determine this was the issue. From there, the couple could have sought out decluttering techniques to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
For example, if the bathroom was especially cluttered, the couple could’ve made the decision to incorporate better storage solutions in order to keep things off of the counter-top. This approach would have prevented the fighting and made both people feel less stressed.
2. Boosting Empathy
Studies have found that reading fiction can make it easier to feel empathy for people who are different from you. Challenge yourself to take this step, and open up to the idea of actively attempting to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before responding to them.
3. Learn to Use Optimism as a Tool
Optimism doesn’t mean pushing aside any negative thoughts or feelings. Sadly, people who do that on a regular basis could actually be hurting their self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
What optimism can do, though, is help you push through setbacks. Instead of wallowing in negativity, let optimism remind you that any perceived failure is a learning opportunity that can improve your ultimate results.
4. Hone Your Social Skills
This can be a tricky one for introverts, but you don’t actually have to be overly social to boost your social skills.
Instead, work on building the relationships you do have and step out of your comfort zone long enough to initiate something new such as going to a different restaurant. Small steps of this nature can help you move your social skills in the right direction.
5. Don’t Let Your Emotions Control You
We all have bad days, and everyone has yelled something they wish they could take back. When this happens, you need to take personal responsibility and work at getting your day back on track.
Learning to take three deep breaths before you explode is a prime example of improving emotional intelligence. The response from your partner is likely to be much better as well.
Start Improving Your Emotional Quotient!
As you can see, there are many skills that play a role in your ability to increase your emotional quotient. Remember that you must start with yourself before you can expand on these concepts with other people.
This means taking the time to examine personal issues such as the root cause of low self-esteem . The work may be difficult at first, but the rewards of higher emotional intelligence are well-worth the effort.