Emotional Quotient – The Basics


What is EQ?

In basic terms Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the ability to identify, understand and manage our emotions.

We are adults – we know how to control our emotions, don’t we? Surpressing the urge to scream when something goes wrong is a style of management, but is it effective? Who is really being affected?

Imagine when you are in the car and the car in front does something stupid –  how long does it affect your mood? Are you still talking about it in the office or at home hours after it occurred? This is where the identifying and understanding bit comes in. If you can identify an emotion as it occurs and understand what it really means to you, you can then choose a response to your advantage – and you will have EQ nailed.

Ultimately it is all about using your emotional responses to your benefit and the benefit of those around you. For example being grumpy about something you cannot change hours after it has happened only really impacts you.  Everyone else may sympathise with your position, but only you are feeling the pain – not the guy who made a bad choice in his car this morning. In fact, he remains unaffected, only you are having these feelings.

The same goes for your work colleagues. I have seen poor management styles lead to feelings of low self worth, lack of motivation and stress both in the team and in the instigator  – all of these feelings reduce the capacity to be creative and productive. In fact I once timed the duration of the impact of one Director’s poor communication on a team.  The whole room was talking about and reacting to it for over 2 hours before normal work resumed. That one outburst cost thousands of pounds and the Director concerned spent most of the day justifying his actions to his peers.

All of the time spent attached to a negative emotion represents a lost opportunity to make a positive impact to your day.

The Theory

The theory of EQ was first introduced by Daniel Goleman in 1995 in his book “EQ why it can matter more than IQ”. He was interested to explore why it wasn’t always the academically gifted who got promoted.

He highlighted five main areas to consider :

The first two are Self Awareness and Self Management. These are primarily looking at what you do and how you manage it. In basic terms, working out what pushes your buttons and deciding a strategy to give you a positive outcome.

The next three are how you use it to influence the world around you. They are empathy, motivation and social skills. Some EQ writers such as Travis Bradbury describe these as Social Awareness and Relationship Management

The Practice

It all starts with you.

Step one is to recognise your emotions as they occur and pause before you react. Then choose a response which is measured and gives you the outcome you desire – where possible and where appropriate.

There is evidence that mastery of this skill is vital for the advancement of your career. Research carried out by the ACCA in 2016 called “Professional Accountants – The Future”  highlighted the need for accountants to cultivate EQ in terms of working practices in order to thrive in a digital world. Clearly this is not just limited to accountants, this research certainly shows a shift in opinion about what it takes to master the workplace now and in the future.

Most importantly, EQ is a way to a happier, more productive and more influencial you. 

Discover Your Bounce for Business has workshops covering all aspects of wellbeing and culture including EQ

Engage! Programme

The full report ACCA report can be downloaded here. https://www.accaglobal.com/uk/en/professional-insights/pro-accountants-the-future.html

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About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. www.discoveryourbounce.com www.time-to-change.org.uk