Emotional intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to manage your internal emotions and identify the emotions of the people surrounding you. Emotional awareness is a proven quality of highly successful individuals.

According to the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), emotionally incompetent individuals struggle with change, team building and interpersonal relationships. A study by the Carnegie Institute of Technology showed that 85 percent of financial success is attributed to a high EQ, while only 15 percent is due to technical skills.

Some of the most important qualities specific to real estate agents relate to EQ aptitude. Negotiation skills, likability, trust, sales tactics, and regular, clear communication are all EQ characteristics.

Unfortunately, most EQ proficiencies can’t be learned from a book. Experience, practice, failure and awareness will develop your emotional skills. But to start off on the right foot, here are the four habits emotionally intelligent individuals practice regularly.

1. Showing empathy

Working alone most of the time, it’s sometimes difficult to recognize feelings in the people who surround you. But that doesn’t make it any less important to consider your impact on others’ lives.

Being empathetic toward others’ feelings goes beyond simply comforting someone when they’re feeling down or treading lightly when providing constructive criticism. Rather, having empathy means you understand how your actions and words affect others, and enhancing your communication skills to better represent your point of view. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t speak the truth, but you understand how important it is to choose your words wisely.

Empathy is highly important in successful negotiations. Our natural inclination is to benefit our clients and ourselves, but a successful negotiation is when all parties walk away feeling like they’ve won. Taking time to consider all viewpoints, or being empathetic, increases the odds of a successful deal.

Not only can you create mutually beneficial outcomes, but others will be more open to work with you, you can build a stronger reputation and subsequently better your business.

2. Being relatable

Finding common ground is the easiest way to make friends. Agents with high EQs are more in touch with the importance of social skills. Just because you can chat it up with strangers at a party, though, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re relatable. In fact, active listening will help you find similar qualities in other people so you can respond with confidence and assuredness on various situations.

If you struggle with your social skills, step out of your comfort zone once in a while. It gets easier with practice.

Expand your circle by meeting new people and developing your existing personal relationships. Practice these interpersonal skills both internally (brokerage) and externally (clients).

3. Practicing self-awareness

People who are highly self-aware know their strengths and weaknesses very well. They take the time to analyze shortfallings and actively work on bettering themselves as individuals and as professionals.

Most self-aware agents are also able to regulate their emotions. Internal discipline leads to reflection rather than irrational reaction.

Self-regulating individuals don’t get defensive or show hostility toward others when an issue arises because they have the ability to discuss their business in a straightforward, nonpersonal way.

A lot of people struggle with not taking criticism personally. Even if you do get offended easily, work on avoiding knee-jerk reactions. Taking time to think about something creates a level-headed attitude. Always allow yourself a moment to digest someone’s words before responding — it shows thoughtfulness and care.

4. Learning from mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. Even the most popular individuals commit social faux pas once in a while.

However, agents with high EQs take these slip-ups seriously and use them as learning experiences. Rather than allow awkward encounters to ruin a relationship, they’ll work harder to regain lost trust or mend broken ties.

It’s important to analyze your failures, but also to move forward with your life. Harping on embarrassing situations won’t help you grow internally. You could end up fearing repeated encounters and avoid social gatherings altogether.

If you’re interested in developing growth skills, look into attending an emotional intelligence workshop, a seminar that explains why the aforementioned skills are vital to success and provides you with the tools to implement them properly.

Being smart isn’t all about graduating with high honors, or being financially apt, or even making money in your industry. No matter how good you are at what you do, lacking emotional skills will set you back in your career — in one way or another.

Email Jennifer Riner.

Inman Connect San Francisco is right around the corner — register now and save $200!

Attend Agent Connect to learn the secrets of top agents!

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription