As we mentioned in our last post, emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the awareness of one’s own and other people’s emotions. EQ involves being able to understand and label emotions accurately, and use this information to guide one’s actions or navigate social situations. EQ shouldn’t be mistaken for optimism or happiness. People with high EQ don’t float through life on cloud nine. On the contrary, they express their emotions openly with consideration to others in a way that leads to resolution rather than lashing out or resorting to passive aggression.

Here Are Some Characteristics of People With High EQ

They do the following:

  • Take a step back to understand what exactly it is they’re feeling instead of reacting immediately
  • Use a variety of words to explain their feelings
  • Understand their weaknesses and what they need to work on
  • Are aware of the impact their mood has on others
  • Accept that perfection isn’t possible
    • Emotionally intelligent people don’t forget mistakes, they learn from slipups and leverage past failures for future success. However, they also let mistakes go and aren’t ruined, defined or paralyzed by them for future endeavors.
  • Stop negative self-talk in its tracks
  • Don’t let others limit their joy or satisfaction
    • People with high EQ take charge of their happiness and don’t let the opinions of others get to them. Their self-worth comes from within.
  • Understand their emotional triggers and use this info to avoid certain situations before they get the best of them
  • Don’t run from conflict
    • They don’t mask emotions; they know how to appropriately communicate them.
  • Work collaboratively with teams
    • They realize that success should come as a result of working with co-workers and building teammates up, rather than coming at the expense of others.
  • Take responsibility for their emotions and don’t attribute them to others
  • Honestly express their feelings and opinions with consideration and respect to others
  • Show empathy
    • This ability to relate to others is a key component of EQ. Empathetic people seek to understand another’s perspective even if it contradicts their own. Being able to recognize, understand and consider others’ feelings, and take action based on that information, is a valuable skill for navigating interpersonal relationships.
  • Are difficult to offend
    • When confronted with someone in a bad mood, emotionally intelligent people give them the benefit of the doubt and understand there is probably an underlying issue that’s driving the person’s negative behavior.
  • Are agents of change
    • Rather than complain or accept the status quo, they make things happen. People with high EQ know change is necessary at times and aren’t afraid of it.
  • Assert themselves and establish boundaries while balancing kindness and good manners
  • Gather evidence before forming opinions instead of jumping to conclusions
    • People too often are quick to form an opinion and then gather evidence that supports their opinion.
  • Avoid holding grudges
    • A grudge is a stress response that sends your body into fight-or-flight mode. Holding on to stress can wreak havoc on your body, contributing to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Reframe negative thoughts or situations as they arise
  • Can say no to themselves and others
    • This involves self-control. People with high EQ focus on following through with the commitments they have already made and doing them well. They know when to say no, which can reduce stress and prevent burnout.
  • Deal with toxic people rationally and don’t let them get under their skin
  • Admit when they are wrong
    • This demonstrates character and an ability to learn from one’s mistakes.

This is the second article in a four-part series about EQ. In our next post, we’ll discuss strategies for building EQ.