If you’re a mere (and imperfect) mortal like the rest of us, reviewing a list of the characteristics of an Emotionally Intelligent Human can be a daunting.
After all, who among us is consistently self aware, in control, aware of others’ feelings and motivations, and able to skillfully manage all our relationships?
And that list – by the way – is a short one. Individuals and organizations involved in researching/promoting emotional intelligence in business have come up with dozens of other components of Business EQ, including being able to enjoy one’s work; stay motivated; consistently pursue excellence; challenge the status quo; admit and make amends for mistakes; encourage open discussion; perceive and respond to political relationships; and serve as a model and mentor.
It’s enough to make one just want to give up on the whole emotional intelligence endeavor.
But don’t. No one is born with high emotional and social intelligence. You may be born with some capacity for high emotional and social intelligence, but experiences in your family, schools, friendships, adult relationships, and work life all shape your ability to perceive and respond to both your own feelings and those of others.
As such, cultivating emotional intelligence can be seen as a lifelong endeavor, one that has as much to do with personal growth as it does professional development.
In fact, most of us have some strengths in the EQ arena – and very definitely some weaknesses. Maybe you’re one of those people who have a highly tuned radar for your feelings and other people feelings – but you’re just enough of an introvert to not excel at, say, leadership. Or maybe you’re one of those highly persuasive visionary types who are great leaders and catalysts for change, but not so great at empathizing with others or mediating conflict. Or maybe you empathize beautifully, but are somewhat clueless when it comes to assessing power relationships within the workplace.
There are hundreds of other personality complexes, of course. The point is, none of us is perfect and all of us can improve.
Here’s one exercise to help yourself get a feel for your invididual strengths and weaknesses: Draw two large circles on a piece of paper. Divide the first one into even quarters and label them as self awareness, self control, social awareness, and relationship management. Divide the second circle into four pieces, too, but give the most space to the aspect of business EQ that you think you have developed the most, the second-most space to the aspect you think is the second-most developed, and so on.
The resulting graphic shows you the ideal (evenly distributed skills) and the reality (probably not evenly distributed). The latter is where you are; the former is where you want to go. No judgment, no shame. Just a roadmap to your own professional and personal development.
Next Up: Other ways to assess your Business EQ strengths and weaknesses.