What is Emotional Intelligence?

March 2, 2017
Working in Japan

Have you heard of IQ testing? It’s the international standard on measuring a person’s intelligence. The test covers various “types” of intelligences, typically ones learned in school, such as language, math, logic and music. When you hear of someone with a high IQ, it’s logical to think, “that person is probably successful.” While this may be true, there’s other things to consider when determining someone success in life. A person’s emotional intelligence plays a huge role in their overall success, with both personal relationships and business relationships.

How do you assess your emotional intelligence?

Similar to IQ testing, you can take a test to determine your EQ (emotional quotient). The test was designed by researchers at American universities back in the early 90s, and it’s made up of questions to assess various behavioral traits that determine 9 main skills that make up a person’s emotional intelligence. The EQ test has had many variations since it’s inception, and here in Japan, companies have come up with a Japan-specific test that analyzes the result data based on Japanese averages. For foreigners in Japan, this test gives an idea of how they may fit in with Japanese society. It’s important to note that there are no “good” or “bad” EQ scores. Emotional intelligence is a collection of soft skills, and these skills can be developed over time through practice and changing the way you think in certain situations.

developing your emotional intelligence

Your EQ test results are shown by assigning numeric values to 27 behavioral traits. The results give you the score, show you your result compared with the average (in this case, the Japanese average), and provide a detailed explanation of your behavior based on your score for each of the 27 traits. We host an EQ seminar where we go over your test results and develop an action plan for improvement in some of the areas with low scores. In Japan, many companies send their employees to EQ training to give them the tools to develop their soft skills, which in turn grooms them for management and leadership positions, and enables better communication within departments and teams at the company.

Like anything else you want to change or improve, developing EQ takes time. When trying to change a physical habit, you need to work daily to change the habit for several weeks before it sticks. Training your brain to change a way of thinking or general mindset is slightly more complicated, and takes more time. To change the way you think and the behavior associated with that in your EQ development, it’s reasonable to allocate 6 months before you see the difference. It’s recommended to take the EQ test again at that point, and then you’ll really be able to see the improvements over that period of time.

is EQ important in the workplace?

The EQ test is a way to give numeric values to soft skills. These skills include things like self-awareness, interpersonal understanding, leadership, etc. and can give employers insight to an employee’s potential to climb the ranks within a company. In Japan, it’s becoming more popular for companies to train their employees on how to recognize and improve their emotional intelligence because so much of the work depends on a good team dynamic. As a foreigner trying to enter the job market here, EQ test results can demonstrate your adaptability and motivation, and make Japanese employers more comfortable with adding you to their team. It also gives them a chance to try and understand your personality and behavior, which can make the first face-to-face impression go a little bit smoother!

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