Can I Really Improve My EQ?

There is a growing recognition of both the elements and benefits of emotional intelligence. However, there is often a disconnect between a desire for greater EQ and the path toward developing these important skills.

What has been needed are practical steps that a person (or group of people) can follow to develop specific EQ competencies and improve their personal success at work and elsewhere in their life.  In an article in the Harvard Business Review “Can You Really Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?” author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic looks at the pros and cons of EQ-building efforts emphasizes key points that are consistent with TRACOM’s own research into EQ development.

“Who wouldn’t want a higher level of emotional intelligence?” says Chamorro-Premuzic. “Studies have shown that a high emotional quotient (or EQ) boosts career success, entrepreneurial potential, leadership talent, health, relationship satisfaction, humor, and happiness. It is also the best antidote to work stress and it matters in every job…”

“Whereas IQ is very hard to change, EQ can increase with deliberate practice and training” says Chamorro-Premuzic.

The author lists many key points to consider when understanding how to progress your emotional intelligence. 

The first key point is “Your level of EQ is firm, but not rigid.” How you behaviorally express your emotions and deal with stress is very habitual. Although some of it comes from our biology, it is also partly due to trial and error we learn as we grow up. In childhood, we observe and learn what behaviors work the best for us, and get us what we want. We develop habits as to how we react to situations, and these habits can be broken and also re-assembled to form new habits.

The second key point is “Good coaching programs do work.”  Dr. Casey Mulqueen, headed up the research team that led to TRACOM’s Behavioral EQ Model, assessments and courses.  The found that earlier EQ programs were so broad that it was difficult to pinpoint the most important success factors and even harder for individuals to work on those skills.

“We found that by focusing on the behavioral components of EQ, a person can take practical steps to quickly improve their performance,” says Dr. Mulqueen.  “Rather than take what was essentially a “grab bag” approach to measure anything that might matter, the new emphasis is on understanding and developing a much smaller number of high-impact behavioral skills. These are the best predictors of job performance and success.

Chamorro-Premuzic’s third key point is also consistent with TRACOM’s work.  “You can only improve if you get accurate feedback,” the author wrote. TRACOM also believes the best way to start the BEQ skills training process is through feedback to develop insight. All of TRACOM’s courses including Behavioral EQ, include an assessment which provides a benchmark measurement and serves as a foundation for building the desired skills over the short and long-term.

As Chamorro-Premuzic states, “there is strong evidence that using reliable and valid assessment methods… produces the best outcomes.”