You won’t have to look far to see how much insanity is in the world today. Bombings, terrorism and the threat of nuclear war are often the headlines of lunacy on a daily basis. As big and frightening as those events are, there are many more subtle acts of craziness that could be prevented with a little EQ: Emotional Intelligence.

But first, what is Emotional Intelligence? Most of us had a fairly standard, mainstream education that included reading, writing, math, science, government and humanities. But who had relationship skills, conflict resolution or assertive communication in their schooling? I suspect few, if any. The emotionally intelligent person knows how to handle emotionally charged relationship situations and works towards the best possible results.

Consider the following as a working definition for emotional intelligence: The ability to detect and perceive emotions in others that can be used to build a better relational connection; to understand, harness and direct one’s own emotions to be able to improve problem solving ability; the ability to manage emotions both within one’s self and with others; all to create optimal group and individual performance and the best possible social cohesion.

Or more simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions.

This is true at home as well as in the community and at the workplace.

So how do you evaluate your emotional IQ? Consider the following questions:

1.)   Do you know what you’re feeling?  This may sound simplistic; however, typically, people deny, minimize or confuse their feelings. Some people are emotionally “ignorant” and just don’t know what their feelings are.

2.)   Do you know how to control your emotional impulses?  Many people either avoid emotional situations or react to them angrily or defensively.

3.)   Do you know how to connect with others?  Another simple sounding task, but many people don’t know the basic skills of relationship building, especially if there’s some emotional charge involved.

4.)   Can you readily adapt to changing circumstances?  Change is another variable in life that most people have very little training in and, therefore, lack the skills to respond optimally.

5.)   Are you able to read, understand and accept the emotions of others?  This is both the spoken and unspoken word. Body language and tonality make up the bulk of communication and most people either miss or misread these cues.

6.)   Do you understand group dynamics and know how to interact accordingly?  One truth of groups: The larger the group, the more complex and probably dysfunctional the dynamics become. This is why families and workplaces can set off multiple emotional reactions in a very short period of time.

7.)   Can you communicate clearly, even in the face of changing emotional states?  Its one thing to manage one set of emotions but when you are faced with changing emotions it can make the situation much more difficult.

8.)   Can you manage, influence and inspire others in spite of conflict?  One of the goals of emotional intelligence is to be able to lead people through the maze of emotions. Most people get caught up in the conflict or completely avoid it.

How did you do in these 8 areas? If you’re doing well, please pass on your knowledge and tools. If you’re not doing so well, now would be a good time to get some education and coaching to improve your emotional intelligence. Your friends, family and co-workers will be happy you did. And so will you!

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