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The Importance of Developing Your EQ

By Crystal Shepherd

The business world has officially begun to see an “EQ Revolution.” Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is one’s ability to understand, evaluate, and manage emotions. This includes both one’s own emotions and others’, which requires one to read signals and respond appropriately. Employers have shifted the conversation regarding intelligence (IQ), with a new focus on the development of EQ over IQ.

Why are we seeing a new emphasis on EQ? Companies want to hire relatable employees who are successful negotiators and who work well within their company’s culture. Businesses want a team that works well together, that is open, engaging, and motivated. A well-developed EQ displays these abilities much more so than a high IQ, which means that focusing on your EQ is essential to your professional success.

In order to improve your EQ, it’s important to understand what it’s all about. According to Howard Gardner, an influential Harvard theorist, there are five major categories of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Howard says, “Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them.”

Self-awareness is key to developing a high EQ because it reflects your ability to recognize your own emotions in real-time. It means you are in-tune with your true feelings and self-confidence.

Self-regulation is the next step in advancing your EQ: Evaluating your emotions enables you to manage them. You may not be able to control when you experience certain emotions, but you can regulate their impact by controlling how long they last. Learn what you need to alleviate negative emotions whether that’s a long walk, meditation, or talking with a professional. Regulating your emotions is important to long-term alleviation of negative emotions.

Motivation is the key to achieving your goals. Boosting your motivation means clear goals and positive thoughts. Optimism comes when you are confident that you can achieve your goals; this allows you to stay committed and driven toward those ambitions. It inspires you to take initiative and have a healthy relationship with stress triggers and full schedules.

Empathy is your ability to discern others’ emotions and signals. Empathy requires you to be service-oriented, to support others, understand a variety of point-of-views, and be able to relate to a group’s emotional or religious beliefs. If you are skilled at understanding others, you can better understand how you influence the people around you, and control the impact you have.

Social skills are in reference to developing superior interpersonal skills. Your ability to lead, communicate, manage conflicts, build relationships and connections, and influence others, are all reliant upon the quality of your social skills.

Development in these five categories will not only lead to a higher EQ but also success in your professional and personal life. When you break down the qualities of EQ, it’s clear how growth in these areas can have a direct impact on your success. For example: Improvement of your social skills will improve your ability to negotiate, which will give you more opportunities for interviews, raises, and promotions.

Emotional Intelligence has been proven to be more important than one’s intelligence (IQ) in achieving success, both professionally and personally. You must be able to adequately understand others, to empathize with your colleagues, bosses, and clients. When you shift your focus to value emotional intelligence, rather than just your IQ score, you’ll find success in many aspects of your life. Your self-confidence will grow when you are in control of your own emotions and your impact on others. You will find that more doors are open, more connections are made, and more joy is around you.


April 26, 2020

  1. Brittani says:

    I can identify with this in my own career, in reflecting upon the people whom have made the greatest positive impact and/or impression on me, it’s those whom seemingly have high EQ attributes (over IQ). Great article and pause for own internal reflection!

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