How’s your ‘EQ’? It’s not a question you’re probably asked very often, if at all, but it’s definitely one to consider – especially when it comes to your career.

For years, a person’s “Intelligence Quotient” or IQ was thought to determine how successful they’d be on the job and in life, however, over time, researchers began finding that emotional maturity played a key role in success as well.

In the early 90’s, Researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer published a report on the importance of Emotional Intelligence – often referred to as “EI” or “EQ” (for “Emotional Quotient”). The researchers defined EQ as the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s emotions; discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately; and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

When psychologist and New York Times Science reporter, Daniel Goleman, happened upon Salovey and Mayer’s report, he was so fascinated he wrote a book on the subject. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ was first published in 1995 and quickly became a New York Times Bestseller – introducing the concept of EQ to the mainstream and forever changing the way we look at predictors of success.

Why It’s Important

Bottom line…EQ is our ability to manage our emotions and get along with others. Since getting along in the workplace has a direct impact on our livelihood, it’s highly beneficial to understand our EQ strengths and weaknesses.

In his book, Working With Emotional Intelligence – which focuses more specifically on career – Goleman takes the four fundamentals of EQ – a person’s potential for self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and their ability to manage relationships – and breaks them down into a framework of “competencies”, both Personal and Social, to highlight the EQ skills that can lead to greater success on the job. Goleman’s framework is as follows:

Personal Competence

  1. Self-Awareness – Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions. The competencies in this category include:

Emotional Awareness – Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects

Accurate Self-Assessment – Knowing one’s strengths and limits

Self-Confidence – A strong sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities

  1. Self-Regulation – Managing one’s internal states, impulses and resources. The competencies in this category include:

Self-Control – Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check

Trustworthiness – Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity

Conscientiousness – Taking responsibility for personal performance

Adaptability – Flexibility in handling change

Innovation – Being comfortable with novel ideas and approaches

  1. Motivation – Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals. The competencies in this category include:

Achievement Drive – Striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence

Commitment – Aligning with the goals of the group or organization

Initiative – Readiness to act on opportunities

Optimism – Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks

Social Competence

  1. Empathy – Awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns. The competencies in this category include:

Understanding Others – Sensing others’ feelings and perspectives

Developing Others – Sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities

Service Orientation – Anticipating, recognizing and meeting customers’ needs

Leveraging Diversity – Cultivating opportunities through different kinds of people

Political Awareness – Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships

  1. Social Skills – Adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others. The competencies in this category include:

Influence – Wielding effective tactics for persuasion.

Communication – Listening openly and sending convincing messages

Conflict Management – Negotiating and resolving disagreements

Leadership – Inspiring and guiding individuals and groups

Change Catalyst – Initiating or managing change

Building Bonds – Nurturing instrumental relationships

Collaboration and Cooperation – Working with others toward shared goals

Team Capabilities – Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals

I hope this framework of Emotional Intelligence can be helpful in beginning to assess your own strengths and areas for improvement. In my next post, Emotional Intelligence Part II, I’ll be digging deeper into this topic with a look at the 7 Signs of Strong EQ.