BY KIM WALTMAN | Owner, FullCIRCLE Creative + Coaching LLC
Emotions are something each of us has, whether we want to admit it or not. They affect the way we think and act.
At a biological level, emotions are chemical information and energy. They are released into the pituitary gland and travel into every living cell throughout the human body. They are part of a feedback loop between the brain and body, body and brain and between people. One part of your brain has the sole purpose of monitoring emotional interactions around you. You automatically, instantaneously and continuously send emotional messages to others in your space -- all the time. In other words, your emotions are being broadcast.
Are you aware of the emotional messages you're sending? Are those messages the ones you mean to be sending?
Your ability to both identify and manage your own emotions, and to pick up on the emotions of others, manage them and, in so doing, build trust, grow influence and achieve better outcomes is the definition of emotional intelligence (EQ or EI, depending on whom you ask). While this may sound overwhelming, trust me when I say it's worthwhile.
Decades' worth of research points to EQ as the single factor that is most influential in differentiating average performers from extraordinary ones. The most fascinating part about this revelation: EQ, unlike IQ, is a flexible, learnable set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. It improves with age (how many things can we say that about?) and is a skill women excel at. On the other hand, IQ is a measure of your intelligence and ability to learn; it's the same at age 15 as it is at age 50.

How exciting and empowering is it to know that you can take ownership, grow and implement EQ skills to increase workplace success? 
And because EQ skills are transferrable to real life, investing in them becomes a win-win in your professional and personal arenas. It almost seems too good to be true, but I assure you, it's possible!
Did you know the Carnegie Institute of Technology discovered that 85 percent our financial success is due to skills in "human engineering," personality and the ability to communicate, negotiate and lead? Only 15 percent is due to technical ability.
Additionally, TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills and discovered (among other findings) that 90 percent of leadership success is attributed to a high EQ. Furthermore, growing EQ skills empowers you to cope with pressure, build trust, negotiate, influence without authority, navigate workplace politics, take smart risks, avoid reckless risks and handle life's myriad of curve balls with resilience.
What further proof do you need to illustrate the value of investing in growing your EQ skills? The bottom line: EQ trumps technical skills!
Reading this far into the article reveals you've taken the first step: choosing to be mindful of EQ. Well done! The next step is understanding what qualities emotionally intelligent people possess and determining where you fit on the skill set spectrum. If you're emotionally intelligent, you are:
  • Self-aware: You know your own emotions, your strengths and weaknesses, and what drives you.
  • Able to self-regulate your emotions: You manage emotions so they don't control your words and actions. By self-regulating you respond to whatever shows up in your space from a place of reason.
  • Empathetic: You are aware of others' feelings and consider them in your words and actions.
  • Able to exhibit social skills: You embrace a high level of the other skills while relating to and identifying common ground with a variety of people.
  • Authentic: You have high self-esteem; embrace vulnerability; share true thoughts, beliefs and opinions; openly give and receive compliments; genuinely listen and prefer meaningful conversation; and are driven by what's inside you vs. your surroundings.
How many of these qualities do you possess? Are you curious about how to increase your EQ quotient? What are you waiting for? Take action and invest in growing your emotional intelligence skills to catapult you to new levels of personal and professional leadership.
On April 15, Kim Waltman led an energetic, interactive discussion with the Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce's 2016 LEAP series participants on the need for and benefit of emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace. In addition to empowering LEAP participants, Waltman seeks to encourage Lift IOWA readers to take ownership of and invest in growing their EQ skills.
Kim Waltman is owner of fullCIRCLE creative + coaching, LLC, a marketing communications firm based in Waukee. Waltman combines her lifelong obsession with horses and passion for communications into a business that guides clients to be more effective verbal and nonverbal communicators. Waltman's community involvement spans nonprofit boards and membership in numerous organizations. She is an agricultural "agvocate." Her peaceful place is among the remote, hilly expanses of southern Iowa land on her family's cattle and row crop operation where her horse herd resides.

Connect with Waltman on LinkedInTwitter or via her website.