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7 Traits of Highly Emotionally Intelligent People

Emotional intelligence (or EQ) is a hot button topic these days, especially in the workplace. It is widely believed, and rightly so, that individuals with high emotional intelligence tend to better manage the rigours and stresses found regularly in the workplace. Some people even argue that having a high EQ is more important than having a high IQ.

After reading an article by Matt Valentine of Goalcast, he suggests there are seven traits that are common among emotionally intelligent people. Being able to harness these traits and utilise them daily can help a person succeed where others come up short. According to Valentine, these highly emotionally intelligent people...

1. Possess self-awareness

Before someone can be effective interacting with others, they need to have a conscious knowledge of their own character, feelings, motives, and desires. The “feelings” part of this equation is very important. When those feelings are not positive, having the ability to control emotions is paramount to managing interactions successfully. When a person is self-aware and able to employ self-regulation under stress, they tend to have more successful outcomes (and less regret).

2. Are in tune with how others are feeling

People with higher emotional intelligence seem to be much more in tune with the mindset of those around them. They can quickly sense whether a person is in a positive or negative state of mind, and they have the smarts to act accordingly.

If someone seems to be in a negatively-charged emotional state, the highly intelligent person will know not to argue a point of view or ask for a favour when waiting for a better time will likely provide a better outcome. They simply seem to understand the pulse of those around them, specifically how others are feeling.

3. Are great listeners

Those with high EQ have developed the ability to listen well. They take a genuine interest in the person with whom they are communicating. Importantly, they absorb the information presented to them before formulating their own response. Doing so allows them to be fully enveloped in the conversation, which, naturally, produces a better outcome.

The key to human interaction is communication, and communication begins with good listening skills. Without those, communication becomes limited and less effective.

4. Have environmental awareness

According to Valentine, environmental awareness is the ability to go beyond simple feelings and actually pick up on moods and energy levels in groups. He states:

This is one of several qualities that makes emotionally intelligent people great leaders; they can pick up on the energy of their team and steer them in the right direction as well as offer encouragement and motivation when the mood is low or call a team meeting when frustration is running high.

5. Anticipate and respond effectively

While many people go through life reacting to what happens to them, those with high EQ think proactively and develop a keen sense of anticipation. Being able to anticipate allows a person to keep control of a situation, as they’ve had a chance to already mentally prepare for it. The more anticipatory the person, the more likely they will remain in control.

6. Are empathetic

Before you can truly understand what another person is feeling, you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes. You have to be able to feel the same emotions that they feel. Only then can you truly be able to relate to them on a level that will resonate meaningfully with them. This is what it means to be empathetic.

You don’t have to have a lot in common with a person to be able to relate empathetically with them. You just have to understand their point of view, where they are emotionally, what is important to them and how you may be able to assist them at this moment in time.

7. Act calm under pressure

Everyone deals with some form of stress in their daily lives. No one is immune to stress. Yet, some people seem to be cool and calm in virtually all situations while others seem to be frazzled at the slightest distraction. Those who keep their cool have developed the skill of learning to manage stress when the pressure rises.

Doing so is not always easy and sometimes a person may have to bite their tongue hard to stop from saying something they’d later regret. But those that do, tend to get through stressful situations much easier than those who haven’t developed this skill. The more times a person can successfully navigate through a pressure-filled situation, the easier it becomes to do so the next time they find themselves in the same situation.


Emotional intelligence is not something you can pick up at the drive-through or at your local convenience store. It does not come with a side of fries. It is developed over time and it takes a lot of work. But the payout is well worth it.

While our tendencies toward higher EQ may have been put in place during our formative years by our parents and/or guardians, it’s a skill that we all have the ability to develop and hone. The more work we put into raising our EQ, the better our social experiences will be and the less stressful our lives will feel. Once you learn how to combat stress, it doesn’t seem anywhere near as daunting of an adversary as it may have once been.

About the Author - Dave Clark

Dave Clark is the staff writer and editor at TTI Success Insights. He enjoys writing on a wide variety of subject matter in multiple formats. Also a performing musician, Dave is primarily driven by his Intentional and Harmonious Driving Forces.

This post originally appeared on the TTI Success Insights Blog and has been republished with permission.

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