11 Signs You Are Lacking Emotional Intelligence
Unlike IQ, QE is very malleable. Emotional intelligence is that intangible "little something" in each of us.
By Dr. Travis Bradberry, Author of #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and president of TalentSmart, world's leading provider of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is a choice and a discipline, not an innate quality specific to the lucky few. Dr. Travis Bradberry explains how to spot the behaviors characteristic of low EQ and take advantage of this ability.
When the existence of emotional intelligence (or EQ) was first revealed, it appeared as the missing link to explain this strange fact: in 70% of cases, people with average IQ are more efficient than others with higher IQ. This anomaly completely challenged the generally accepted idea that IQ was the sole cause of success.
Today, decades of research have identified emotional intelligence as the critical factor differentiating the best from the majority. The causal link is so clear that 90% of the best performers have a high emotional quotient.
"Of course emotional intelligence is rarer than conventional intelligence, but in my experience it is actually more important in shaping a leader. You can't just ignore it." - Jack Welch
Emotional intelligence is that intangible "little something" in each of us. It affects how we behave, manage the complexities of social life and make personal decisions that will lead to the best results.
Despite the great importance of QE, its intangible aspect often prevents us from knowing whether we have it and how to improve it if not. You can still take a scientifically validated test like the one I provided with the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0.
Unfortunately, quality (scientific) QE tests are not free. So I analyzed the data concerning the subjects tested by TalentSmart - more than a million people - in order to identify the behaviors characteristic of a weak emotional intelligence. It is these reactions that it would be wise to eliminate.
1. You stress easily
Repressed feelings quickly tend to generate tension, stress and anxiety. The emotions that are suppressed put the mind and body under pressure. Developed emotional intelligence helps manage stress by allowing you to spot and manage difficult situations before they escalate.
Those who don't use their emotional intelligence may use less effective ways to manage their moods. They are twice as likely to experience anxiety, depression, addiction and even suicidal thoughts.
2. You have trouble asserting yourself
People with high QE have a good education, empathy and kindness, but also the ability to assert themselves and set limits. This delicate balance is ideal for managing conflicts well. Most people, when thwarted, automatically adopt a passive or aggressive attitude. Emotionally intelligent people remain firm and calm, avoiding excessive emotional reactions. This allows them to neutralize individuals with a difficult, even toxic, character without making them enemies.
3. Your emotional vocabulary is limited
We all feel emotions, but only 36% of people can identify them precisely as soon as they happen, according to our studies. This is problematic, because ill-defined emotions are often also misunderstood, which leads to irrational decisions and counterproductive actions. People with high QE control their emotions because they understand them, and use an emotional lexicon developed to describe them. Where the majority will simply say that they feel "bad", emotionally intelligent people will be able to define whether they are currently "irritable", "frustrated", "oppressed" or "anxious". The more precise the chosen terms, the more one is able to understand what exactly one feels, why and what to do to remedy it.
4. You make quick judgments and vehemently defend them
People with low QE very quickly form an opinion, then show a confirmation bias, that is to say that they only pick up the arguments going in their direction, ignoring any contradictory element. Most often, they will defend their tooth and nail position. This trend is particularly dangerous for leaders, whose irrational ideas define the strategy of an entire team. Emotionally intelligent people allow time for their thinking to mature, aware that their first reaction is emotionally driven. They allow their thinking to develop, taking into account the consequences and possible objections. Then they communicate the idea thus developed in the most effective way possible, without forgetting to consider the needs and opinions of their interlocutors.
5. You are resentful
The negative emotions caused by a stubborn grudge are really just a reaction to stress. The simple fact of thinking back to a specific event causes an alarm reaction in your body, a survival reflex which, when faced with a threat, pushes you into battle or flight. When the threat in question is imminent, this mechanism is essential for your security; if it is already old, nourishing this stress is harmful to your body and can even have long-term serious consequences for your health. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that nurturing feelings of stress can raise blood pressure and cause cardiovascular disease. Hanging on to your grudge is hanging on to your stress, which emotionally intelligent people are always careful to avoid. Turning the page, on the contrary, offers not only relief, but also health benefits.
6. You never forget your mistakes
Emotionally intelligent people take a step back from their mistakes, without forgetting them. By keeping a reasonable distance, but not to the point of losing sight of the facts, they are able to adapt their behavior in order to be more successful in the future. It takes a great deal of self-awareness to find this balance between memory and rumination. Too much ruminating on your mistakes will make you anxious and fearful, while forgetting them completely will condemn you to repeat them. It is your ability to change your mistakes into opportunities for progress that will allow you to find a happy medium. It will make you all the more apt to get up immediately after each fall.
7. You often feel misunderstood
When we lack emotional intelligence, it is difficult to understand how others perceive us. If you feel misunderstood, it's because you can't get your messages across intelligibly to others. Emotionally intelligent people know that even with experience they cannot communicate all their ideas perfectly. They notice that their interlocutors do not understand what they mean, adapt their approach and express their thinking more clearly.
8. You don't know your sensitive points
We all have sensitive points: certain people or situations push us to the limit and provoke in us impulsive reactions. Emotionally intelligent people analyze these factors and anticipate them by avoiding "at risk" people and situations.
9. You never get angry
Emotional intelligence is not about being nice. It is knowing how to manage your emotions to obtain the best possible results, which sometimes involves showing it when you are sad, frustrated or upset. Hiding your emotions constantly under a happy and positive mask is neither sincere nor constructive. Emotionally intelligent people know how to express their negative or positive emotions, depending on the situation.
10. You blame others for the reactions they cause in you
Emotions are an internal process. It is tempting to point the finger at the actions of others to justify one's emotional state, but it is better to take responsibility for it. No one can force you to feel anything against your will. Believing the opposite will only slow you down.
11. You get offended easily
When we know exactly who we are, others have a hard time saying or doing anything that can get us out of our hinges. Emotionally intelligent people have confidence and openness, which makes them much more resilient. It even makes it possible to be self-deprecating or to accept more easily the jokes of others, if one is able to make the difference between humor and humiliation.
Lessons to be learned
Unlike IQ, QE is extremely malleable. When we train our brain through the repeated practice of emotionally intelligent behaviors, it builds the necessary networks to make them automatic. The more the brain consolidates the use of these new behaviors, the more the connections on which our harmful habits depended disappear. You will quickly start to show emotional intelligence in reaction to your environment, in a completely natural way.