Some of the greatest moments in human history were fuelled by emotional intelligence. When Winston Churchill delivered ‘we shall fight them on the beaches’, he chose language that would stir the hearts of his audience.

He was ‘in full confidence that if all do their duty… people will be able to defend their Island home’. Before he thundered, ‘We shall fight on the seas and oceans... we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...'

Delivering this electrifying message required emotional intelligence - the ability to recognise, understand and manage emotions. Churchill effectively demonstrated remarkable skill in managing his own emotions and in sparking emotions in his audience to move them to action.

Such only shows the importance of emotional quotient (EQ). When it comes to happiness and success in life, EQ matters just as much as IQ. Emotional intelligence helps us establish stronger relationships, succeed at work and achieve both our career and personal goals.

There are currently three main models that explain how emotional intelligence operates; the one proposed by Daniel Goleman being the most widely used. His model outlines five main EQ constructs: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skill, empathy and motivation.

Now, let’s explore more about why emotional intelligence is so vital and how we can boost our own EQ by mastering a few key skills. As we know, it’s not the smartest people that are the most successful or the most fulfilled. You probably know people who are academically brilliant, yet socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. IQ isn’t enough on its own to be successful in life. 

Many experts believe that a high EQ will bring these beneficial effects:

Physical health

One study reveals that the leading causes of morbidity and death today are related to chronic stress and unhealthy lifestyles. Within this framework, if you’re unable to manage your own stress levels, it may lead to serious health problems. Stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility and speed up the ageing process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.

Mental health

Aside from damaging our physical health, uncontrolled stress can also impact our mental health, making us more susceptible to depression and anxiety. Sue Langley, an emotional intelligence expert, explains that poor emotional intelligence and stress are likely to lead to ineffective behaviours as well.

Social skills

People who are emotionally intelligent are able to create better relationships. Those are the people who have the social skills to get along with, have fun with and show tolerance toward others. By understanding our emotions and how to control them, we’re better able to express how we feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows us to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in our personal lives.

Performance at work

Having a good EQ can help us navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate our colleagues and excel in our career. In fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies nowadays view EQ as being as important as technical ability and require candidates to undergo emotional intelligence testing prior to a job offer.

You might be wondering how you go about promoting your own emotional intelligence. If your EQ doesn’t look so high, don’t worry, because simple things such as practicing empathy, evaluating one’s ability honestly and opening ourselves to new things can boost our EQ. If you want to learn more about managing our emotions, Philippa Perry’s article offers some helpful insights. Our emotional intelligence is what keeps us grounded, so let’s look after it.