You’ve heard of IQ but have you heard of EQ? EQ is the measure of your emotional intelligence—your awareness of your actions and feelings and how they affect those around you. Having a high EQ is key to being successful in life, including in the workplace, as it helps you relate to others.
Our emotions drive our behavior, and, according to a Gallup survey, the culture we’re from plays an important role in what emotions we feel. Gallup asked people from 151 countries whether they had experienced a set of ten different emotions on the previous day (five positive and five negative). They then ranked the countries for EQ. The countries with the highest EQ?—the Philippines, El Salvador, and Bahrain. The countries with the lowest EQ included Lithuania, Georgia, and Singapore. You can see the differences in cultures’ EQ in the way people act. For example, those from Brazil wear their emotions on their sleeves. In Germany, they like to discuss different opinions.
Learning how to steer our own emotions while navigating the myriad of others takes skill. But, luckily, it is a skill that can be learned. Here are four ways to help you raise your EQ.
Test your EQ. Get a baseline of your emotional intelligence. There are many online tests, such as this EQ quiz. Find out your weaknesses and learn strategies to improve those areas.
Pay attention to your own reactions. Notice when you rush to judgment and ask yourself if you know all the facts? Are you stereotyping? Try to put yourself in the other person’s place and be open to their point-of-view.
Press pause on your actions. Before you do something, think about how it might impact other people. Will it hurt their feelings? Would you want to be in their shoes? If you must take this action, think about how can you help other’s deal with its effects. If you hurt someone’s feelings, be sure to take responsibility and apologize.
Take a stress test. Not the kind that puts you on a treadmill but instead examine how you react to stressful situations. Do you get angry? Do you place blame? Staying calm and in control of your emotions is highly valued—especially in the business world.
More and more countries around the world are placing importance on EQ. Many are now using it as a gauge when hiring new employees. Being self-aware and emotionally intelligent is a powerful tool in cultivating relationships inside and outside of the workplace.