Enhance your own emotional quotient

By Dr Peter Chew, Specialist in behaviour

This is the final article in a six-part series on understanding EQ and making it work for you

It is the combination of EQ and IQ that defines our overall intelligence

Albert Einstein would probably be the first to admit that true intelligence is not just a matter of doctorates, diplomas, or being a member of Mensa. Admittedly, these do all represent significant achievements and demonstrate undoubted brainpower, but the common tendency to define intelligence by IQ alone overlooks one very important factor.

If you have a high IQ, it simply means you are good with book knowledge and have powers of deductive reasoning. You can grasp complex theories, memorise facts and interpret figures. Having a high IQ shows unequivocally that you are "head smart".

There is, though, another way of being smart and that is by having emotional intelligence, or being "heart smart". In the past decade, we have generally become far more aware of this concept and now realise that emotional quotient (EQ) is a key factor in determining the level of success that individuals achieve in both their work and personal lives.

People with a high EQ are what we can call emotionally mature. They handle themselves and others with finesse and possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills. They can deal with conflict and have no difficulty in getting on with new acquaintances from diverse backgrounds. What it comes down to is that they are able to manage their emotions.

The truly smart person has learned that emotions roll in and out like waves on a beach and that they are always changing. A single emotion should never be allowed to predominate, especially if it is a negative one. Instead, the mind must be trained to turn towards positive thoughts which, in turn, generate a more uplifting set of emotions.

Clearly, when aiming for career success, you need both EQ and IQ. It is often said that IQ will get you the job, but EQ will make sure you can keep it, and there is a lot of truth in that. You will, of course, get nowhere without the basic qualifications and technical skills required. However, knowing how to work effectively with others is equally important for getting things done and getting ahead. In any job, once your feet are under the desk, most of your book learning starts to become irrelevant. From day one, you are being judged solely on your performance in the workplace, and much of that relates to how well you get on with others and how they perceive you.

In today's world, however, EQ is also needed to get a good job. You will see recruitment advertisements repeatedly referring to team players, flexibility and good communication skills. These are not code words; they make it clear that EQ is vital.

In fact, with ever more companies using group discussions and team-based activities to judge candidates, the assessment of EQ is now a critical part of the recruitment process. Companies deciding between two candidates with the same qualifications and similar experience will always choose the one they can see will "fit" best in the organisation. Why should they do anything different?

In order to give yourself the best possible chance, there are four ways you can enhance your own EQ:

  • Be yourself at all times - be who you really are and learn to respect your own abilities
  • Become a conscious communicator - choose your words carefully, listen more than you speak, and ask powerful and empowering questions
  • Know your personal value system - live by it so as to align who you are with what you do
  • Add value to your life- if you live authentically and strive to communicate effectively, you will honour what is important and become a person of quality and character.

    Albert Einstein himself said our primary objective should be to have values rather than to strive for success. People of character are often not concerned about external motivations such as titles, fame or money. Instead, they are more likely to concentrate on self-improvement and finding ways to help others, which are signs of advanced EQ.

    Think for a minute about the people you admire and would most like to emulate because of the way they handle themselves. Ask yourself why you respect them and what qualities they exemplify? These people are your role models and you can learn to be like them by enhancing your own emotional intelligence.

    Read the signs

    As a general reminder, here is a summary of signs to be seen in someone with a high EQ :

  • Expresses feelings clearly and directly in three-word sentences beginning with "I feel ..."
  • Does not disguise thoughts as feelings by using phrases such as "I feel like ..."
  • Is not afraid to express feelings and is guided by them
  • Is able to control negative emotions like fear, worry, guilt and disappointment
  • Can read non-verbal communication well
  • Balances feelings with reason, logic and reality
  • Is not motivated by power, wealth, status and approval
  • Does not internalise or personalise failures
  • Is interested in other people's feelings and talks about them
  • Is able to identify multiple concurrent feelings.

    Founder of Best International Group of Companies, Dr Peter Chew is a psychotherapist, motivational specialist, author, lecturer, international keynote speaker, and consultant with over 20 years of vast experience. For information, please contact Peter Chew at

  • Taken from Career Times 23 October 2004
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