EQ can be defined roughly as emotional awareness and control that translates into strong people skills. “Understanding emotion in oneself and others is at the root of good people skills,” observes Dr. Vanessa Urch Druskat, associate professor of organizational behavior and management at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. “EQ helps you to recognize how your own emotions impact the people with whom you interact.” While aspects of EQ had been studied sporadically for years, it was Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, and a Time magazine article on the book, that popularized the concept.

Dr. Druskat, whose award-winning research has examined how teams and leaders effectively manage complex interpersonal challenges, explains, “Emotion is present in every interaction we have with another human being. Stopping this emotion is harder than stopping a sneeze. The passing back-and-forth of emotion conveys subtle messages such as when a conversation should begin and when it should stop. Emotionally intelligent people are more aware of emotion and the signals it sends. They treat it as information, which allows them to manage the conversation in a way that produces mutually positive outcomes. This all happens so quickly that it isn’t always fully under our conscious awareness. Building one’s emotional intelligence requires slowing down the process and making it more conscious. Our research ...

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