Emotional intelligence (EQ) is one of the most important skills to develop for success in the workplace and in life. Many benefits come from being high EQ and there are plenty of ways to stretch your EQ muscles. Working in businesses for over 30 years that required making deep connections with hosts of people has made me sensitive to when you know you’re really getting EQ right.
What follows are seven signs that you’ve achieved a high level of emotional intelligence. Identify with these and you’ll get your “80 for the 20” benefit of having developed your EQ (not that you shouldn’t strive to grow it even more).
1. People come to you with their problems.
I realize this isn’t always a good thing –you can get overwhelmed with the constant flow of people looking for you to rescue them. I’m talking about the fact that you have empathy and wield it in a way that draws people to you (at a welcomed frequency). This requires you to be a good listener, thoughtful responder, and warm advice giver when required, all practices of someone with high emotional intelligence.
2. You’re clear on what you’re good at and not so good at.
High EQ means high self-awareness, especially around things some aren’t so good at admitting/facing, like their faults. It can be hard for us to face what we don’t excel at; it takes bravery and understanding that nobody is perfect. It works the other way too, highly emotionally intelligent people are also in tune with what they’re good at and seek to leverage those strengths to their advantage and in service of others.
And they remain open to new discoveries on strengths and weaknesses. When I left my corporate job and became an entrepreneur, I was amazed and what I became really good at and what soon emerged as new weaknesses. Onward and upward.
3. You welcome feedback. No, really.
This one’s related to the above; it’s one thing to be aware of your needed improvement areas, it’s another to act on them by seeking and accepting feedback. You’re far more advanced in the EQ area than you think if you truly like getting feedback of all kinds (or at least aren’t afraid of it).
The highest EQ people see feedback as a gift, a precious opportunity to learn and grow. They know how to take criticism in stride and how not to get too bloated from positive feedback, taking that in stride too.
4. You’d rather give praise then receive it (but when you get it you’re gracious about it).
Emotionally intelligent people are confident enough in themselves that they openly give credit away and move to the background when it’s time to receive it. They realize their praise lifts others up, but wisely know it also reflects well on them for having given the praise (as long as it’s genuine and deserved).
On the other hand, high EQ’ers also know that when they do get praise, it’s important to be appreciative in receiving it and to not dismiss or downplay it too much.
5. People like to bounce their ideas off of you.
This goes beyond you being a problem solver. You’ll know you’re high EQ if people like leveraging you as a sounding board. Why? Because playing the role of a good sounding board not only requires listening skills, but also the ability to thoughtfully build onto others ideas to further fuel their excitement, to provide honest feedback to help improve the idea without demoralizing the sharer, and to show genuine interest in the idea to begin with.
6. You can’t think of the last time you held a grudge.
You deserve credit if you can’t recall your last grudge. It takes emotional intelligence to know when to forgive and forget, when to let go and move on, especially if it means you having to be the bigger person. So don’t begrudge yourself the credit here.
7. Saying “I’m sorry” comes easy.
I don’t mean because it’s easy you can continually do dumb things since you know you’re comfortable with making up for it afterward. This is about knowing that when push comes to shove, you’re willing to admit to mistakes or that you were wrong. It doesn’t pain you to admit to being in the wrong because you know doing so will help make it right. That takes humility and vulnerability, two core traits of the most emotionally intelligent people. And being able to apologize reaps so many benefits; this is a power packed high EQ skill to have.
So know that if these seven signs apply, you’re getting the most out of your emotionally intelligent efforts. If you miss a few, keep at it and you’ll soon have even more people drawn to you.
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