Historically, intelligence has often been presented and defined as a monolith. Today, there are successful people from around the world whose unconventional education have started to break down the myths we as a society have constructed around what it means to be intelligent. While it may sound simply like the latest fad in your dad’s self-help binge, one of the subjects that has aided in opening up the discourse on intelligence is the emotional quotient - and it may just be what you’ve been looking for.
From Goleman’s seminal book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ to the dozens of articles on empathy and managing emotions by the Harvard Business Review - emotions have been increasingly on the minds of everyone from high school students to CEOs of fortune 500 companies. The reason as to why this is can be seen in how emotional understanding and self-awareness can often lead to better self-regulation, self-control, self-management and, subsequently improved life skills and job performance.
Whether or not you’ve ever been interested in getting to know yourself emotionally, this kind of intelligence meter, or quotient, can benefit aspects of life and work not traditionally tied with emotions - such as goal setting, social competence and more. If you want to find out more about how this subject can improve your life, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about developing your emotional skills.
What Does Emotionally Intelligent Mean?
From developing multiple intelligences to taking part in emotional learning, the subject of emotional intelligence is as diverse and broad as intelligence itself. If you're interested in learning about how to manage your moods better, be more empathetic and gain interpersonal skills - emotional intelligence is for you.
The theory of the intelligence quotient for emotions has been around for quite some time. Even seminal historical figures such as Adam Smith, not typically known for their discourses on emotions, have lauded the abilities to empathize with others in their infamous works of economics, politics and more.
Developing emotional intelligence deals with developing the abilities to self-report emotions, understand and perceive them. It also deals with a person's capability to measure and react to other people's emotions as well. While we traditionally tend to think of general intelligence as the only characteristic of mental processes that are easily quantifiable, emotional intelligence tests have gained traction both in popular media and in scientific communities. If you're interested in the history and concepts behind emotional intelligence, start by looking at some of the works by psychologists Mayer and Salovey - especially their development of the MSCEIT test.
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How to Develop Self Awareness
The actions behind the ability to develop a high IQ tend to be easier to follow than those behind developing soft skills such as emotional awareness, building a great professional rapport and in general, being self-aware. If you're interested in social and emotional learning, start by picking up a copy or summary of Daniel Goleman's bestseller Emotional Intelligence. There, you'll be able to find all the basic concepts of developing emotional intelligence.
Besides taking an emotional intelligence test or learning more about the subject through its literature, you can practice some emotional intelligence skills by improving skills such as:
- music comprehension
While an intelligence test for emotions or intelligence tests for self-awareness can be helpful, it might be helpful to start practicing your newfound skills with others. From gardeners to salespeople, practice your understanding of people's emotions on those closest to you.
Why Are EQ Skills Valuable?
Even traditionally intelligent people struggle with relationship management or with processing negative emotions. Learning about the theory of multiple intelligences can help you in personal and professional spheres alike. Working on EQ skills don't just improve your personal life, but can also improve things like:
- presentation skills
- communication skills
- interview skills
How Do You Start Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence?
The best way to start developing emotional skills is to start implementing them in real life. For professionals, take part in courses that improve your skills in communicating effectively. For people who want to improve their personal emotional intelligence, practice a new skill such as exercise, journaling or reading.
Best Online Resources for Self-Management, Awareness and Social Skills
From great leaders like the Dalai Lama to academic Bill George, there are countless reasons why you might be interested in learning more about general intelligence, how to improve your emotional intelligence, feelings and emotions. Now that you’re convinced that developing your knowledge on your emotional state can be a great way to supplement your general intelligence, you might be wondering how you can learn more about perceiving emotions.
With the countless number of e-books and websites available on attaining high emotional intelligence, cultivating leadership skills and accessing social emotional learning material has never been easier. The sheer amount of resources available on developing emotional intelligence skills can be enough to overwhelm anyone attempting to learn more about the new science. Here are some of the best places online that you can use to start expanding your emotional literacy.
Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence
The bestselling book that started the EQ craze, it goes without saying that Goleman’s book is a must read for anyone interested in the subject. The book, criticized by scientists the world over, did err on the pop-science side. However, Goleman addresses these issues in the preface of the 10th anniversary edition of the book, published in 2005.
This book is probably the best introduction to the subject, reviewing the literature of the field as well as recommendations on how you can implement emotional intelligence in everything from your facial expressions to gardening. This is definitely a worthwhile read for anyone looking to be an effective leader or simply a better functioning human.
Bill George’s Authentic Leadership Series
Harvard Business School professor Bill George has written two seminal books on the subject of developing diverse leadership styles and using emotional intelligence to build your success in life - Authentic Leadership and True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership.
True North is based around conversations and interviews with 125 of the world’s most successful leaders. The discussion centres around some of the qualities, mental tools and characteristics that led them to become such effective leaders. If you want to use emotional intelligence to help you advance in your career or in your personal and professional projects, this is the perfect book for you.
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Emotional Intelligence Tests Online
Because emotional intelligence is like brain science, but for your emotional abilities, you might be interested in testing these emotions like you would in traditional IQ tests. There are many different ways of assessing an emotional or social skill - some completely free to the public and others price locked. One of the tests that can typically only be taken after paying a fee is, unfortunately, the infamous MSCEIT test. Fees for taking the MSCEIT can go all the way up to 500 pounds for your test scores and analysis.
Luckily, there are plenty of tests online that are available for free and are similar enough to the MSCEIT to give you an idea of your emotional skill level if you’re on a budget. The Global Leadership Foundation as well as Psychology Today both have emotional intelligence tests that take 10 to 40 minutes to complete, respectively.
HelpGuide is a non-profit website that strives to write about all things related to mental health and wellness. Their mission involves trying to provide people with evidence-based and empowering information over psychology and general wellness.
The website is divided into four categories: mental health, wellness, relationships and family, and aging. If you’re looking for advice in any of these subjects and appreciate information that’s scientifically backed, this website can be a great starting point.
Six Seconds touts itself as the emotional intelligence network. Another non-profit organization, this website is dedicated to providing people with the support they need to start practicing emotional intelligence. The organization conducts scientific research into the subject and has offices in over 20 countries. You’ll be able to get an EQ certification as well as take part in upcoming events related to emotional intelligence in your area.
Being Well Podcast with Dr. Rick Hanson
There are many different podcasts out there dedicated to improving your emotional intelligence. There are also many projects that will help you on your journey towards developing your emotional intelligence that aren’t strictly about the subject. One great podcast that gets to the core of expanding your emotional abilities is the Being Well podcast with bestselling author Dr Rick Hanson.
In the podcast, Dr. Hanson interviews people that are experts in particular fields and want to spread their knowledge on happiness in the workplace, therapy, life and family. If you’re interested in learning how you can develop emotional intelligence in a variety of different facets of your life, this podcast is a great place to start.
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