12 secrets of EQ, Emotional intelligence for professionals

Henk Veenhuysen
by Henk Veenhuysen

Emotional intelligence (EQ) you may be familiar with as a counterpart to IQ. EQ is the lubricant in collaboration between professionals. In this article, 12 traits that strengthen your EQ as a professional at work.

In the early days of EQ, EQ was seen as the “missing link.” It was seen as an explanation of why some professionals with lower IQs were smarter or “did it better” than those with high IQs. IQ was seen at the time as the only source of possible success.

Today, EQ in particular is seen as the critical success factor for the successful functioning of a professional. Research shows that this connection to success is so strong that 90% of top performers appear to have strong emotional intelligence.

What is eq?

Emotional intelligence has everyone but it is sometimes a bit elusive. It has to do with how we manage our own behavior, the degree to which we can move easily in social situations and, last but not least, what personal decisions we make to achieve good results.

How do you know you are EQ proof?

Everyone agrees that EQ matters in a professional setting. As a result of the elusiveness described earlier, it is difficult to determine how good you actually are at it and what you could do to improve. What characteristic aspects/behaviors portray a highly developed EQ?

In this article, I describe 12 of those distinctive aspects I often encounter in my practice that professionals are good at or want to strengthen in.

Put 6 smart heads (high IQ) together to solve a particular problem and the guarantee of success disappears like snow before the sun if these smart heads turn out to be hornets in cooperation (EQ).

1. Strong emotional vocabulary

We will have little discussion about the fact that people have and experience emotions. Where there is a difference is in how you are able to properly recognize and put these emotions into words. If you cannot properly recognize and/or articulate your own emotions you will not always be understood or you will make awkward choices.

People with high EQ are better able to understand and put into words their emotions/feelings. Example: for example, you can describe your own emotion on any given day as “not good.” Emotionally intelligent people will describe this differently. They use words like “irritated, frustrated, agitated or dejected.”

The more specific you are in the choice of your words the better the understanding of yourself what is going on inside you and, not least, what you can do about it.

2. Natural curiosity for other people

Emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. Introverted, extroverted, they don’t really care. This curiosity stems from a high degree of empathy. Increasing your empathy is perhaps the most important factor in moving toward a higher EQ.

The key?

The more you show interest in other people and what they are going through the more curious you become.

3. Change is your personal friend

People with high EQ are very flexible and constantly adapt. They understand that fear of change can paralyze you. This paralysis can be a major obstacle in achieving success but also (life) happiness.

People with high EQ are looking for change, know that change is always coming, and prepare for it by thinking about what they will do when it comes.

4. Strong awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses

If your EQ is highly developed then it’s not just that you understand emotions well per se. You also know very well about yourself what you are stinking good at or horribly bad at. Emotionally intelligent people also know perfectly well which people or situations bring out the best in them. If you have a high EQ, you know better than anyone how to use your strengths.

5. You can judge other people well

Much from the field of emotional intelligence has to do with your ability of social awareness. The ability to read others. You quickly understand how they are put together and what drives them. So over time, you can almost perfectly judge another person. People then no longer constitute a mystery to you.

6. Not easily upset

If you understand yourself well and you have a solid foundation of self-confidence then it is not easy to offend you. Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware and “open-minded. That fact makes for a rather thick skin. This also makes you able to make jokes about yourself because you are able to draw a mental line between humor and “being offended” like no one else.

7. You know when and how to say NO.

Being emotionally intelligent means knowing how to control yourself. You know what it is to delay reward and you avoid impulsive behavior. Research shows that the harder you find it to say no the more likely you are to experience stress, or worse, face burnout.

Saying no is a big deal for people. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people will not use phrases like, “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not sure. By saying no to a new commitment you can better fulfill what you agreed to before, that’s fair don’t you think?

8. You dare to let go of your mistakes

If you are emotionally intelligent you distance yourself from your mistakes. You don’t experience them as personal failures. Note: you don’t forget them, that’s something else. By taking some emotional distance from it, you are able to deal with it more easily and learn from it for future new situations.

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12 secrets of eq
Giving without expecting anything in return.

9. Giving without expecting anything in return

Personally, I think this is the most beautiful aspect of emotional intelligence. You can imagine that when you spontaneously give something to someone without expecting anything in return that it comes across as very powerful to someone. You make an unforgettable impression as a result.

10. You don’t hold grudges

Negative emotions resulting from holding grudges is actually a form of stress. You think of an unpleasant event and boom … your body sets itself up for the familiar flight or fight mode. This is a natural survival mechanism we inherited from ancient times when tigers and dinosaurs used to chase us for their lunch.

If you cannot let go of this resentment/stress then it can have a rather large effect on your health. For example, high blood pressure or heart disease. Thus, continuing to harbor resentment means that you continually allow your body to operate at too high a stress level. Shouldn’t want to ….

11. Being able to say goodbye / distance yourself from ‘toxic’ people

Dealing with difficult people is extremely frustrating and exhausting for most people. Emotionally intelligent people do not ignore these people. They just deal with it by keeping their emotions and feelings balanced and constantly checked.

They also approach such a situation somewhat rationally. Emotionally intelligent people are able to keep out their own feelings such as anger or frustration. They can also resolve conflicts better this way.

12. Perfection does not exist

Emotionally intelligent people do not take perfection as a measure to achieve their goals. They know that perfection does not exist. Everyone is vulnerable and you are certainly not infallible. If you bother yourself with the search for perfection then it can start to gnaw a little.

A feeling that it just didn’t work out or isn’t right yet. Emotionally intelligent people look ahead and are proud of what they have already accomplished.

So Emotional Intelligence ….

Great if you get started with 1 or maybe more of these eq tips to strengthen your own emotional intelligence as a (leadership) professional.

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