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  • Writer's pictureDaryl Layson

Dapper + EQ = World Class Gentleman

According to the Center for Creative Leadership, 75% of careers are “derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including the inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust”. And according to a Career Builder Survey, 75% of surveyed managers said "they would be more likely to promote an employee with high emotional intelligence" and 59% of surveyed managers said "they would not hire an employee with high IQ but low EQ". These are very alarming and eye-opening statistics because it shows just how much the importance of emotional intelligence is intricately woven into every detail of our lives - both personally and professionally.

Before I dive deeper, let me explain what emotional intelligence is and why it's important. Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) can essentially be broken down into four main defining bullet points:

- The capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others

- The ability to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately

- The ability to use emotional information gathered to guide thinking and behavior

- The ability to manage and/or adjust one's own emotions to adapt appropriately

EQ is important because it assists us in looking after our physical and mental health, our overall well-being, our ability to inspire and lead, and our ability to manage effective relationships and conflict. You might be thinking this is a lot - maybe too much - to be able to think about and consider in every interaction you're in, but the truth is that the more you intentionally practice being more emotionally intelligent in your interactions with others, the more these skills will become second-nature to you. The great thing is that EQ is not like IQ; IQ is simply your ability to learn whereas EQ can be acquired and strengthened through practice.

Below are 5 tips to help you cultivate/strengthen your emotional intelligence:

Tip #1 - Self-evaluate, gain perspective, and reflect.

The first characteristic of a person with high emotional intelligence is the ability to be self-aware. A person who is self-aware knows their self i.e. their weaknesses, strengths, impulses, and triggers.

However, in order to gain a better understanding of your weaknesses and strengths and make improvements, you have to 1. Do some introspective to learn where you may lack, 2. Seek the perspective of others (because what you may think you’re exemplifying may be interpreted/perceived differently by others), and 3. Reflect on the information gathered to help lead and guide in how and where improvements are needed on your path to becoming a more emotionally intelligent person.

Tip #2 - Discover your stressors and triggers.

The second characteristic of a person with high emotional intelligence is the ability to regulate one's own emotions. A person who is able to regulate their emotions more-often-than-not are already aware of their triggers and stressors and therefore are better able to manage their emotions when in a position or situation that may activate a certain emotion.

Before you can become skilled at regulating your emotions, you have to be aware of your stressors and triggers (back to Tip #1). Do some self-discovery to learn what makes you tick, what makes you angry, what makes you defensive, and what makes you uncomfortable. Doing so will make it easier for you to react in a more efficient/effective manner should you find yourself in a situation that triggers a specific emotion. When you’re aware of your emotions and the triggers for those emotions, you can practice planning for how to react in a situation that may activate that emotion.

Tip #3 - Set personal and professional goals.

A person who has high emotional intelligence is usually also extremely motivated.

Set personal and professional goals (short and long term) for yourself because when you do, you’re more likely to comport yourself in a manner that will support the attainment of your goals.

Tip #4 - Seek to understand others beyond the surface.

The fourth characteristic of a person with high EQ is the ability to be empathetic. A person who is empathetic seeks to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of an individual.

Put in the effort to truly understand a person beyond the surface. When you seek to understand others beyond what meets the immediate eye, you gain a better understanding of an individual at their core and understand why they are the way they are or why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling. When you gain a better understanding of an individual, you become more knowledgeable and equipped on how to efficiently and effectively engage, identify, and connect with them.

Tip #5 - Practice being in social situations.

People with a high EQ have exceptional social skills; they're able to adapt, connect, and effectively engage with an individual or group of people. This is a true skill because with each and every person you interact with in a social situation, you may have to alter how you interact and engage with each in efforts to adapt based on that person(s) current emotional state in order to have the most effective interaction.

As with anything, the only way you can get better at being emotionally intelligent in social situations is by practice - it takes application. When you’re in social situations, be intentionally hyper-aware of your feelings, observe the environment and the emotions of others, and be very intentional in how you engage. The more you practice, it’ll begin to become second-nature for you to be very aware of yourself and observant of your surroundings and others so that you can effectively engage in social situations. When you sharpen your level of emotional intelligence, you sharpen your overall image as a world-class gentleman.

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