What is the Emotional Intelligence Quotient

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IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is used to measure a person's intellect - or their ability to reason, to solve problems and to think creatively and artistically. EQ (Emotional Quotient), on the other hand, is a measure of a person's ability to appropriately react in social situations. Despite the fact that emotional intelligence is a fairly new term, coined in the 1980's by psychologists at the University of New Hampshire and brought into mainstream use by psychologist Daniel Goleman a decade later, measures of emotional intelligence have proven to be very useful predictors of success in both personal and business relationships.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a behavioral theory that describes the way that individuals perceive and assess situations and how they manage their emotions in those situations. EI dictates how individuals motivate themselves, how they handle interpersonal relationships, how they deal with conflict and how well they understand their own emotions and the emotions of others. While IQ is certainly an important indicator of success because it describes the ability to learn new skills and concepts, emotional intelligence has proven to be an equally important tool for predicting whether or not a person will be successful within an organization. This theory is being effectively applied in business and academic environments, and tools for measuring EQ are increasingly being used by human resource departments as part of the recruiting process.

Many corporations have implemented internal training and coaching programs to assist employees in strengthening their emotional skills. These programs often focus on areas like change management and conflict resolution as well as team-building, leadership, interpersonal skills and executive presence. The ability to adapt to change, for example, has become a key component in corporate assessments, made even more important in today's environment of mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing and flexible work arrangements.

EQ assessments are being used in other ways as well. The US Air Force is using emotional intelligence to select recruiters, corporate executives are being evaluated on the basis of their emotional intelligence, insurance and sales companies are using emotional intelligence to predict future performance potential and middle managers are being promoted based, in part, on EQ scores. Emotional intelligence is also being used as a predictor of addiction, depression and financial difficulties. With the use of emotional intelligence gaining in popularity, it is important for individuals to understand their own EQ scores. Because emotional intelligence is largely a learned behavior that can be modified with proper training and counseling, it is also important that individuals take steps to improve their emotional intelligence as a way to gain a valuable edge in today's competitive job markets.

There are several recognized tests that provide measurements of emotional intelligence. Some tests are geared toward individual self-appraisal while others focus on emotional intelligence in groups, teams or in the workplace. The BarOn EQ-i assessment is one of the most widely used individual EQ assessments because it addresses emotional reactions in various situations as well as stress management, adaptability and mood. This is an excellent resource for individuals who want to manage and improve their EI. It provides scores on a wide range of emotions such as assertiveness, empathy, social responsibility, impulse control, flexibility and optimism. Tests like the BarOn EQ-i can help individuals identify specific areas for improvement.

Once individuals have an understanding of their emotional strengths and weaknesses, there are techniques available to guide them towards improvements in those areas. Some are simple techniques such as counting to 5 or 10 before reacting in anger or losing patience. Some exercises are meant to help empower individuals and improve their ability to work independently. EI can be traced back to childhood influences, so it can involve deep-rooted behaviors. Some behaviors take longer to change and may even require professional counseling, but research has shown that EQ scores can be significantly improved with effort, making long-term success, both personally and professionally, much more likely. Developing a healthy emotional intelligence can actually improve an individual's overall quality of life in both the short and long-term, and can not only improve the chances of organizational success, but can improve the quality of interpersonal relationships in general.

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