My daughter is not yet skilled at reading the room. She is only 3, so I suppose she still has time to develop the relational savvy to catch what is happening beneath the surface. Perhaps it is a gift to adults that a toddler can walk into a room and interact without concern for the emotional temperature in the room. If for nothing else, it can provide some fantastic comic relief when tensions are high.

You see the thing my daughter currently lacks is in many ways a difference maker when it comes to healthy relationships. I don’t fault her for lacking this skill at a young age. However when I connect with adults who lack this competency it can become an issue pretty quickly.

The relational skill I am referencing is emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence, or “EQ”, is in my opinion the greatest help or hindrance in any relationship. The ability to connect, understand and relate is essential to our human experience. (Click to tweet) Emotional intelligence refers to our capacity to manage our own emotions and stay aware of the emotions of others.  It is the one competency that rules them all – because it has the ability to make or break relational bonds no matter what other skills we bring to the table.

Emotional intelligence is the x-factor when it comes to building healthy, thriving relationships. (Click to tweet)

I will venture to say that right now at least one of two things is true of you:

  1. You are struggling to grow your emotional intelligence
  2. You are struggling with someone around you who has low emotional intelligence

Growing Your EQ
For those of us who struggle with emotional intelligence, the battle is to be aware of what is happening in the moment. Mistakes are easy to see in the past – grow emotional intelligence by working on awareness and management of emotions in the moment. (Click to tweet) If you struggle with EQ here are 3 questions to help you stay aware and attentive to the emotional temperature in the room:

  • What is happening inside of me?
  • What is happening within those around you?
  • What is happening between me and those around me?

Yes those are simple questions – however often our breakdown in emotional intelligence occurs when we stop asking or stop caring to answer those 3 questions in the moment.

Helping Others Grow Their EQ
Now some of us struggle with a friend, boss, employee or teammate with low EQ. What do you do in those situations? You might not like the answer.

Emotional intelligence is a relational competency, and you do not learn relational skills in a void. When you find yourself struggling in a relationship because a person lacks emotional intelligence, it is likely that God wants to use you to help that person grow. You might ask, “how the heck are they going to figure this out?” You are part of the answer.

A person grows their emotional intelligence by spending time with people who have a strong EQ. Perhaps you can think back to a time when you were a tad more emotionally immature and someone spent time with you navigating through the “mess” as you became a more emotionally intelligent person.

Whether it is for someone around you or for you personally, tend to the work of emotional intelligence today.