Emotional Intelligence

Introduction to Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s).

The term Emotional Intelligence (EI) gained popularity due to the 1995 book of the same title written by the author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman; even though the term first appeared in 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance.

Although findings such as greater mental strength, job performance and leadership skills with no causal relationships have been shown attributable to general intelligence and specific personality traits rather than emotional intelligence as a construct, the studies have shown that they are more attributable to people with high emotional intelligence (EI). For example, Goleman indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ. Other research findings have shown that general intelligence correlates very closely with leadership and that the effect of EI on leadership and managerial performance is non-significant when ability and personality are controlled for! In addition, studies have begun to provide evidence to help characterize the neural mechanisms of emotional intelligence.

Criticisms have centered on whether EI is a real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over IQ and the Big Five personality traits. Review finds that, in most studies, poor research methodology has exaggerated the significance of EI. As this section is related to social fitness, it is very much interactive section.


Understanding the Five Categories of Emotional Intelligence (or Emotional Quotient – EQ)

  1. Self-awareness. The key to your EQ is the ability to recognize an emotion as it “happens”. Developing self-awareness requires tuning in to your true feelings. Emotions can be managed if you evaluate them. The major elements of self-awareness are:
  • Emotional awareness. Your ability to recognize your own emotions and their effects.
  • Self-confidence. Sureness about your self-worth and capabilities.
  1. Self-regulation. When you experience emotions you often have little control over them. By using a number of techniques to alleviate emotions such as anger, anxiety or depression, you can have some say in how long an emotion will last. A few of these techniques include recasting a situation in a more positive light, taking a long walk and meditation or prayer. Self-regulation involves:
  • Self-control. Managing disruptive impulses.
  • Trustworthiness. Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.
  • Conscientiousness. Taking responsibility for your own performance.
  • Adaptability. Handling change with flexibility.
  • Innovation. Being open to new ideas.
  1. Motivation. It requires clear goals and a positive attitude to motivate yourself for any achievement. With effort and practice you can learn to think more positively although you may have a predisposition to either a positive or negative attitude. You can reframe negative thoughts in more positive terms even if you catch negative thoughts, which will help you achieve your goals. Motivation is made up of:
  • Achievement drive. Your constant striving to improve or to meet a standard of excellence.
  • Commitment. Aligning with the goals of the group or organization.
  • Initiative. Readying yourself to act on opportunities.
  • Optimism. Pursuing goals persistently despite obstacles and setbacks.
  1. Empathy. For success in your life and career, the ability to recognize how people feel is important. You can control the signals that you send them in much better way if you are more skillful at discerning the feelings behind others’ signals. An empathetic person excels at:
  • Service orientation. Anticipating, recognizing and meeting clients’ needs.
  • Developing others. Sensing what others need to progress and bolstering their abilities.
  • Leveraging diversity. Cultivating opportunities through diverse people.
  • Political awareness. Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.
  • Understanding others. Discerning the feelings behind the needs and wants of others.
  1. Social skills. It is tantamount to success in your life and career that you develop good interpersonal skills. Everyone has immediate access to technical knowledge in today’s always-connected world. Thus, “people skills” are even more important now because you must possess a high EQ to better understand, empathize and negotiate with others in a global economy. Among the most useful skills are:
  • Influence. Wielding effective persuasion tactics.
  • Communication. Sending clear messages.
  • Leadership. Inspiring and guiding groups and people.
  • Change catalyst. Initiating or managing change.
  • Conflict management. Understanding, negotiating and resolving disagreements.
  • Building bonds. Nurturing instrumental relationships.
  • Collaboration and cooperation. Working with others toward shared goals.
  • Team capabilities. Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.

Elements of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman divided Emotional Intelligence into ‘Personal’ and ‘Social’ competences, which broadly split between personal and interpersonal skills on SkillsYouNeed. Within each of these sections are a range of skills which are the elements of emotional intelligence.

Personal Skills or Competences Social Skills or Competences
How we manage ourselves How we handle relationships with others
·         Self-awareness

  • Emotional awareness
  • Accurate self-assessment
  • Self-confidence

·         Self-regulation

  • Self-control
  • Trustworthiness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Adaptability
  • Innovation

·         Motivation

  • Achievement drive
  • Commitment
  • Initiative
  • Optimism
·         Empathy

  • Understanding others
  • Developing others
  • Service orientation
  • Leveraging diversity
  • Political awareness

·         Social Skills

  • Influence
  • Communication
  • Conflict management
  • Leadership
  • Change catalyst
  • Building bonds
  • Collaboration and cooperation
  • Team capabilities
Based on ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence’ Daniel Goleman.

Personal skills or competences

There are three areas of personal skills or competences in emotional intelligence.

  1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness encompasses:

  • Emotional awareness
  • Accurate self-assessment
  • Self-confidence

The skill of being aware of and understanding your emotions as they occur and as they evolve is Self-awareness. It is wrong to think of emotions as either positive or negative. Instead, they should be thought of as appropriate and inappropriate.

For example, anger is usually associated with being a negative emotion. However in certain circumstances it can be a completely reasonable and appropriate emotion; emotional intelligence allows us to recognise our anger and understand why this emotion has occurred.

Effective self-assessment of feelings and emotions will help to improve your confidence and self-esteem.

  1. Self-regulation or Self-management

Self-regulation includes:

  • Self-control
  • Trustworthiness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Adaptability
  • Innovation

The skill of self-regulation relates to managing the emotions appropriately and proportionately having learned to be aware of them.

Self-management skills relate to the emotions you are feeling at any given time or in any given circumstance and how well you manage them. Self-control is a fundamental part of this, but other aspects relate to what you then do: whether you behave in a way which is recognised as ‘good’ or ‘virtuous’ or not.

  1. Motivation

The final personal skills aspect of emotional intelligence is Motivation.

The personal drive to improve and achieve, commitment to our goals, initiative, or readiness to act on opportunities, and optimism and resilience is Self-motivation.

Self-motivation and personal time management are key skills in this area.  Do not make unreasonable demands on yourself, learn to be assertive rather than just saying, ‘Yes’ to the demands of others.


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