By Dr. Travis Bradberry

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Emotional intelligence (EQ) is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. Research with more than 500,000 people worldwide has shown that:

  • 90% of top performers are high in EQ.
  • EQ is responsible for 58% of job performance, yet just 36% of us can accurately identify our emotions as they happen.
  • Anyone can increase his or her EQ with perspective and practice.

Emotional intelligence is comprised of four skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.

The best performers have high EQs and the way to develop a high EQ is by following these simple steps:

  1. BEGIN WITH A TEST: Self-awareness is the catalyst for increased EQ. You can’t improve without an objective understanding of where you stand today. The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal® test is included with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book for this very purpose.
  2. CREATE AN ACTION PLAN: A conceptual understanding of EQ isn’t enough. You need real, specific advice to follow. The 66 strategies from the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book are great for creating action plans. Your Emotional Intelligence Appraisal® test results will actually pinpoint which of these strategies will increase your EQ the most.
  3. PRACTICE: Practicing new, more effective behaviors actually builds new neural pathways in your brain. These pathways make it easier to repeat these emotionally intelligent behaviors in the future. Without the repetition that comes with practice the pathways will not form and you will not change.
  • Have everyone in your team, department, or company read Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Reading together facilitates open and constructive EQ discussions.
  • Everyone should keep their test scores private, but make their goals public. Research shows that goals stated publicly are achieved at a much higher rate than those kept private. When people know which strategies their colleagues are working on they tend to share insights that help their colleagues along.
  • Consider providing formal training and executive coaching to advance people’s development of their EQ skills.
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