Not education, experience, or intellectual prowess can explain why people handle anger, excitement, fear, and other emotions better than others. Emotional intelligence could be the reason.
A man can be provoked and overlooked, while another will rage with anger and threaten to kill.
In another scenario, one can grieve and weep profusely, while another is calm and unperturbed in the same situation.
Understanding and expressing emotions is a part of human nature and helps convey meaning in both verbal and non-verbal interactions.
We live in a world where both verbal and non-verbal interactions make up our everyday communication and we need to identify, control, and express our emotions in the best possible way we can.
This identification, control, and expression of our numerous emotions can be mishandled and we are misunderstood which can lead to unfriendly interpersonal problems.
In this comprehensive article, we are going to tear through emotional intelligence, its components, and everything that has to do with it.
What is emotional intelligence (EI)?
Emotional intelligence, also called (EI) is the potential to grasp, discern, control, and analyze one’s own emotions and those of others and constructively express them in the best possible way.
It involves being able to express emotions in a healthy way, regulate feelings effectively, and empathize with other people to help build and maintain relationships.
Essentially, it helps individuals to develop positive relationships, improve communication, and make better decisions in their personal and professional lives.
It also incorporates such skills as empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, and motivation.
It allows individuals to understand and manage their own feelings and behaviors, communicate effectively, empathize with others, and navigate complex social situations.
It is associated with better mental health, improved relationships, and greater success in personal and professional life.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Personal and Professional Life
Being emotionally intelligent is a critical skill to have in both personal and professional life. It can lead to improved relationships, communication, and overall well-being.
Importance in Personal Life
In personal life, it can lead to healthier relationships and better communication with loved ones.
By recognizing and regulating one’s own emotions, individuals can avoid unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings.
Additionally, understanding the emotions of others can lead to more empathy and compassion, ultimately improving relationships and overall well-being.
Importance in Professional Life
In professional life, EQ can lead to better leadership and teamwork.
Managers with high intelligence on the emotional level can effectively communicate with and understand the needs of their employees, leading to a more harmonious and productive work environment.
Additionally, employees who are highly intelligent emotionally can effectively manage stress and conflict, leading to a more positive and productive workplace culture.
Related: Dealing with Low EQ
Brief History and Development of the Concept of Emotional Intelligence
The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) emerged in the early 1990s and was popularized by the work of psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer
They defined EI as “the ability to perceive, access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively control them so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”
This idea gained further traction with the publication of Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”.
Goleman argued that EI was a crucial factor in personal and professional success, citing research that showed that people with high EI were better at managing stress, building strong relationships, and making effective decisions.
Since then, the concept of EI has become a popular topic in psychology and self-help circles, with many researchers and writers offering their own definitions and frameworks for understanding this concept.
Some have argued that EI can be taught and developed, while others have questioned whether it should be treated as a separate intelligence at all.
Despite some controversy over the exact definition and significance of emotional intelligence, it remains widely studied and discussed concept in both academic and popular contexts, with many people recognizing the importance of emotional skills in personal and professional success.
The Four Components of Emotional Intelligence
The four components of EQ are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
- Social awareness
- Relationship management
This component involves being aware and in tune with one’s own emotions, recognizing and understanding one’s own emotional state, thoughts, and values.
Self-aware individuals are able to accurately identify and express their emotions, as well as recognize how their emotions influence their behavior and interactions with others.
We have a comprehensive article on self-awareness.
This involves the ability to manage and control one’s emotions, thoughts, and actions in a way that facilitates personal growth, achievement, and positive interactions with others.
It involves being able to regulate one’s own emotions to avoid impulsivity and negative outcomes and to maintain a constructive perspective.
More on self-regulation
This component involves understanding and empathizing with others’ emotions, recognizing and interpreting social cues, and being aware of others’ needs and feelings.
Socially aware individuals are able to navigate social situations with ease, communicate effectively, and build strong relationships.
There is a detailed article on social awareness.
This component involves utilizing emotional intelligence to build and maintain positive relationships with others.
Relationship management skills include the ability to communicate effectively, manage conflicts and negotiations, build trust and rapport, and lead effectively.
Individuals who possess strong relationship management skills are able to influence and inspire others, facilitate productive teamwork, and maintain positive collaboration with others.
Here is a comprehensive article on relationship management.
Signs of emotional intelligence
Below are some obvious signs:
- The ability to decode other people’s feelings from cues
- The ability to manage and control emotions in any situation
- Responsibility for mistakes
- Stepping into other people’s shoes (empathy)
- Adaptability and the ability to accept change
- Knowing personal strengths and where to improve
- Self-acceptance and confidence
- The capacity to get over mistakes
- The ability to accept and adapt to change
- Curiosity about others
Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Being emotionally intelligent in the workplace is essential for effective communication with colleagues, superiors, and clients.
Without this great skill in the workplace, there will be misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and conflicts.
It helps to understand the intentions of colleagues and clients even when they are poor in expression.
Additionally, it involves identifying and empathizing with the emotions of others and using that understanding to build positive relationships with colleagues and clients.
This can result in better communication, collaboration, and productivity in the workplace.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
In the workplace, EI is a critical skill and can have a significant impact on employee productivity, job satisfaction, and overall business success.
Here are some reasons why it is important in the workplace:
- Improved Communication: Employees who are highly intelligent emotionally are better communicators. They are able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly and empathize with others.
- Increased Teamwork: Being emotionally intelligent leads to better teamwork as individuals are more able to work effectively with colleagues and work towards a common goal.
- Effective Leadership: Emotionally intelligent leaders are better able to understand the needs and concerns of their team members, which can, in turn, lead to better employee engagement, retention, and loyalty.
- Better Conflict Resolution: Emotionally intelligent individuals are better equipped to navigate conflict and find effective solutions that take into account the emotions of all parties involved.
- Improved Job Satisfaction: Employees who are emotionally intelligent are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled in their jobs, which can lead to increased productivity and reduced turnover.
- Better Customer Service: Individuals who are emotionally intelligent are better equipped to interact with customers, show empathy, and provide excellent service.
Related: How to develop EQ
Benefits of Having Emotionally Intelligent Employees
- Stronger relationships: Emotionally intelligent employees are able to establish and maintain strong relationships with colleagues and clients, leading to increased trust and collaboration.
- Increased Productivity: They are able to manage their own emotions and those of others, leading to fewer conflicts and delays. They are also more motivated and engaged in their work.
- Reduced Turnover: They tend to be more loyal to their employers, as they feel valued and supported in their work. This reduces turnover and the accompanying costs of recruitment and training.
- Improved Communication: Emotionally intelligent employees are more skilled in communication, both in listening to others and expressing their own thoughts and feelings. They are also better able to read nonverbal communication and respond appropriately.
Improving Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Improving intelligence is deliberate and not something one stumbles on his path while drifting along life.
Here are practical ways to achieve this:
- Practice Self-Awareness: Pay attention to your own emotional reactions and how they may impact others. Monitor your thoughts and feelings in different situations and reflect on how you respond to others.
- Exercise Empathy: Try to understand and relate to the emotions and perspectives of others. Listen to their words and take note of their body language.
- Develop Communication Skills: Learn to communicate effectively by being clear, concise, and respectful. Use effective listening skills to understand the points people are making.
- Control Your Reactions: Avoid reacting impulsively, especially when emotions are running high. Take a pause before responding, and try to respond in a calm and measured manner.
- Build Positive Relationships: Connect and build positive relationships with others in the workplace. This can help you to work collaboratively and effectively with others.
- Foster A Positive Culture: Encourage positive values such as trust, respect, and collaboration. This can help to create a supportive and positive workplace environment.
- Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from colleagues to understand how your behavior and communication style may be perceived by others. Use this feedback to improve and grow.
- Practice Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help manage stress and emotions.
Emotional Intelligence in Personal Life
Being intelligent on the emotional level in your personal life is essential for effective communication with family, friends, partners, and people you meet randomly in society.
Without competence in understanding your own emotions and how they prompt your behaviour, you will flop where you are meant to shine in personal relationships.
A person who is emotionally intelligent will avoid unnecessary conflicts with family members, partners, and people they meet randomly.
You understand people’s intentions and use the information to act accordingly.
This can result in better communication, friendship, and peaceful coexistence with family and friends.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence in personal life
EQ is important in your personal life because it helps you to understand how your emotions influence your behaviour and how you can intuit into others’ emotions too and tailor your behaviour with this information.
Here are some reasons it is significant in personal life:
- Better Relationships: EI helps individuals to communicate effectively, understand others’ perspectives, and respond appropriately to their needs. This enhances relationships and builds deeper connections with people.
- Effective Communication: Individuals with higher EI can communicate effectively and understand others’ emotions and feelings. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts in relationships.
- Conflict Resolution: It enables individuals to resolve conflicts in a constructive and peaceful manner. It helps to identify the root cause of the conflict and manage emotions while finding a solution.
- Self-awareness: It helps individuals to be more aware of their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. This allows them to understand themselves better and make positive changes in their lives.
- Stress Management: It helps individuals to manage their emotions and reduce the impact of stress. It helps to recognize the signs of stress and take steps to reduce its impact on their lives.
Also Read: Attributes Of The Curious Mind
Benefits of having a high level of Emotional Intelligence
Being highly emotionally intelligent has many benefits which we have discussed above.
It is a highly sought-after skill in the workplace by employees for smooth productivity and elimination of conflicts and chaos.
Employees won’t need to frequently change workers and constant improvement training.
It saves the organization money, time, and other resources.
In the personal setting, being emotionally intelligent will boost your confidence and save you unnecessary conflicts with family, friends, and the people you come across in your day-to-day living.
Here are other benefits:
- Enhanced Decision Making: Individuals with high EI are better decision-makers. They can weigh the emotional implications of their choices and consider how they will impact others. This leads to more thoughtful and well-rounded decisions.
- Improved Mental Health: People with high EI are better equipped to manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. This helps to reduce stress and improve mental well-being.
- Better Leadership: Leaders with high EI are more effective in inspiring and motivating their teams. They can understand and respond to their team members’ emotions, creating a more positive work environment.
- Effective Handling of Conflicts: People with high EI can manage and resolve conflicts in a more effective and productive manner. They can identify and address the underlying emotions of others and work towards a solution that meets everyone’s needs.
Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence in personal life
- Practice Self-Awareness: Start by paying attention to your own emotions and how they affect your behavior. Take note of how you react in different situations and identify your triggers.
- Manage Your Emotions: Once you are aware of your emotions, work on managing them. This involves taking steps to regulate your emotions so that you can respond in a more constructive way.
- Empathize With Others: Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and understand their emotions. This can help you relate to them better and build stronger relationships.
- Improve Your Communication Skills: Communication is a key part of emotional intelligence. Work on improving your ability to express yourself clearly and listen actively to others.
- Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness helps reduce stress and make you stay aware of the present. It can also help you become more aware of your emotions and how they affect you.
- Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from others about how you come across emotionally. This can help you identify blind spots and areas that need improvement.
- Learn to Resolve Conflicts: Conflicts are inevitable in any relationship, but intelligence on the emotional level can help you resolve them more effectively. Focus on finding win-win solutions and understanding the other person’s perspective.
Effective Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence Generally
Having a sharp intelligence on the emotional levle should be uppermost on everyone’s mind. While it might come to some people naturally, some can develop it and improve with self-awareness and deliberate practice.
Evidence suggests that the ability can be developed and there are pieces of training that can improve emotional abilities in the workplace.
We already have some level of emotional and social intelligence skills, but it might not be enough.
Here are ways to improve your emotional and social intelligence:
1. Pay attention
Distraction is one factor that makes people lose the opportunity to grasp what happens both inside and outside of the mind.
Always, most of the emotions we feel are nudges for us to pay attention to, but we are mostly carried away by the noise and ramblings on the outside that we don’t pay heed to.
Also, paying attention to our environment deliberately makes us see things for what they are instead of the subconscious awareness that is also called absentmindedness.
We have to know when the mood of people around us changes and act accordingly.
It also has to do with being self-aware. To be self-aware, you must have paid attention and grasp who you are, what emotions slip off your fingers, and how you can get a firm grip on them next time.
Self-awareness is the level at which emotions are felt and controlled.
Being aware of a lot of things going on within you cedes you more power because it is the most important on that level to monitor, observe and know how to respond to whatever stimuli in the environment.
2. Be conscious of your feeling
With the bustling and hustling in life, there are so much to catch up with that we do things almost instinctively without giving them much thought.
We have so settled into our routines that these routines come to us effortlessly.
This automaton way of going about our day is another way described as absentmindedness.
We are so engrossed in the activity at hand that we can’t think about our feelings.
Being conscious is different from being aware of your consciousness. To be socially intelligent, you have to develop the habit of tracking your own feelings.
Your emotions trigger your demeanor which is the way you physically react to feelings. There are people who instinctively hit their hands on the table when they are furious.
Some could take instinctive behaviour to another level by hitting someone or damaging something. This is being absolutely controlled by instincts.
It is also, a sign that the individual is not in any way in control of his feelings and so deficient in emotional-social intelligence.
So, it’s safe to say that when you control your feelings, you control your reaction and behaviour to issues.
3. Snap out of the subconscious, be deliberate
Yes! The subconscious is the elusive part of the mind where most emotions emanate. We are not in control of it, but we can be in control of what comes from it.
Let all your actions be deliberate and not instinctive, especially as it concerns decisions on how to respond to people, the environment, and everything that has to do with the outside world.
Responding instinctively means we are not giving the situation a thought. When we deliberate and have a dialogue with ourselves before taking an action, we almost always do the right thing.
4. Handle Interpersonal Interactions with an Open Mind
There are people who are so rigid with fixed thoughts that you can never change their perspectives or opinions no matter how you try.
These types of people can be said to be under the spell of a brainwash-wand that has locked up their thought processes and imagination.
Even when it is obvious the tide is against them, they don’t bat an eyelid.
This is a clear example of a lack of an open mind which always results in arguments and unresolved issues.
To get rid of this unproductive hitch, you have to zip down your mind and begin to apply your thoughts on issues.
This is the time you will explore beyond your comfort zone, and trust, me you are going to discover a new emotionally socially intelligent world.
5. Apply your Sensory Organs
Sensory organs help us interpret our environments. Through these organs, we can smell, hear, taste, feel, and see what is going on around us and act accordingly.
You should not only use these organs for their most basic usage. Their usage should go deeper into mindfulness and deliberately use them to investigate your environment and people to see what is odd or can be tapped into.
Facial expressions, fidgety hands, eye behaviours, and other cues can go a long way in giving you clues about people.
People could say one thing while the cues they give off say another.
With emotional social intelligence deliberately applied in your daily life, you detect lies with ease and act accordingly to the information.
Improving your social intelligence ability is important to survive in a fast-moving world to connect and get a fair share of the dividends of socialization.
6. Empathize with People
You cannot talk about emotional intelligence without talking about empathy. Empathy is the communication of thoughts. Reaching out to other people with your thoughts to feel what they feel.
Empathy is your ability to connect with others with your thoughts. It’s stepping out of your shoes into the next person’s shoe to see what it is like and identify with them.
Empathizing with others is part of humanity and though it could make you vulnerable, we should be vulnerable sometimes in our lives to remain human.
Empathy can help you build emotional understanding in a situation and could also be a template next time when you are in such a situation.
Being in their shoes to know what it is like and this feeling should prompt a response from you either sympathy or any other response you deem appropriate.
Developing or improving empathy is hinged on practicing imagination by deeply thinking about other people’s situations, preferences, priorities, or opinions.
When we think about the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of people’s situations, we glean important information to use to our advantage or the advantage of the person.
Empathy brings about rapport which in turn makes negotiations and agreeableness possible.
Without empathy, you will continue to be selfish, finding it difficult to connect with others for business and other good things in life.
7. Practice diplomacy
Diplomacy could be seen as a high-level negotiation and not relatable to people who are not in government. But it’s deeper than that.
Diplomacy can be applied in organizations, events, and gatherings. It can be applied anywhere there is the subtle play of politics.
People negotiating and positioning themselves for whatever reasons use diplomacy to protect their interests.
Of course! We use diplomacy every day in settling issues, haggling prices, and other everyday discussions.
Deliberately applying diplomacy would yield more in your social dealings.
Honing your diplomatic abilities will surely improve your emotional intelligence and make you get more out of your social life.
8. Be attentive to peoples’ nonverbal cues
Communication is not only done verbally. There are lots of nonverbal communications that go on that you can only decode when you pay deeper attention.
Gestures, eye contacts, facial expressions, and even postures are nonverbal cues that people use to unconsciously communicate.
People might not want to say everything on their minds but their demeanor can give them away.
EQ depends so much on attention to be able to grasp a lot that goes on under the hood.
These cues are original interpretations of people’s emotions that they try to conceal. Reading these cues would be handy in making your decision.
To sharpen your attention, you must be aware that you have to sharpen it. Everything goes back to self-awareness and being deliberate about it.
9. Be a good listener
Listening is a skill that is overlooked by many, especially in this fast-paced time when we have a lot to catch up with.
Being attentive and showing you are willing to hear someone is a good emotional intelligence skill.
Listening also helps you to understand properly so you can respond accordingly. Taking the time to also pay heed to the nonverbal cues people give off as these also say a lot.
Reflection is the evaluation of your own conscious thoughts, emotions, and entire mental state. It is your ability to think about other people and their situations.
Why do they feel and act the way they do? How does their response to situations differ from yours? How can you possibly respond to their situation?
Answering these questions would help you understand people easily and how to follow them because you have dug deep to find out more.
11. Communicate clearly
Strong communication skills are essential for intelligence of the emotions. Knowing what to say or write and when to deliver information is crucial for building strong relationships.
For example, as a manager in a work environment, communicating expectations and goals is necessary to keep everyone on the same page.
12. Exude confidence
When you have all of the above skills, you will exude enormous confidence that would stagger your imagination.
Confidence is the father of all skills to be cultivated within emotional intelligence. It will take you to places, and earn you relevant relationships on your way along the social ladder.
Yeah! That’s it. Succinct and concise tips.
Opposite of emotional intelligence
Having low intelligence can hamper growth and social competence and other important areas of life including relationships and work.
People with low emotional intelligence tend to have more trouble with communication and understanding their relationships.
This in turn makes them have poor relationships.
Challenges of Being Emotionally Intelligent
People who are intelligent with their emotions can also experience some challenges. This can come in different ways as described below:
- They can have a hard time giving negative feedback because of how they think the recipient would feel. This is because they don’t like seeing people experience negative emotions.
- They can use their knowledge of people’s emotions and behaviour to manipulate them. In other words, they can take advantage of vulnerable people.
- Emotionally intelligent people can sometimes be seen and misconstrued as proud because they don’t give in to subpar arguments or reasoning.
- Emotionally intelligent people can put themselves in harm’s way by trying to help others. Especially when the other party is scheming against them.
Positive Impacts of emotional intelligence on Relationships
There are several positive impacts on relationships, including:
- Communication: Emotionally intelligent individuals are better communicators because they are skilled at expressing their own emotions and understanding the emotions of others. This helps improve the quality of communication in relationships, leading to fewer misunderstandings and conflicts.
- Empathy: It involves being able to understand and relate to the feelings and experiences of others. This allows emotionally intelligent individuals to be more compassionate and supportive in their relationships.
- Conflict resolution: Emotionally intelligent individuals are better equipped to resolve conflicts in relationships because they are able to identify and address underlying emotions that may be causing the conflict.
- Trust and intimacy: It can improve trust and intimacy in relationships because it helps individuals feel more connected and understood by their partners.
- Flexibility and adaptability: Emotionally intelligent individuals are better at adapting to changes in their relationships and are more open to compromise and negotiation. It can help individuals build stronger, healthier, and more fulfilling relationships with others.
Examples of successful leaders who display high EQ
- Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google: Pichai is known for displaying empathy and excellent communication skills. He regularly emphasizes the importance of prioritizing employees’ well-being and making work-life balance a priority.
- Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors: Barra is a successful leader who has been recognized for her ability to build strong relationships with employees, customers, and stakeholders. She is known for being transparent and adaptable in her leadership style.
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group: Branson is known for his charismatic leadership style and his ability to connect with people on an emotional level. He is known for being supportive of his employees and creating a positive work culture that supports creativity and innovation.
- Oprah Winfrey, media executive: Winfrey is an inspirational figure who is known for her ability to connect with people on an emotional level. Her success as a leader is due in part to her empathy, open communication style, and her ability to inspire others to reach their full potential.
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany: Merkel is known for her leadership style which is characterized by emotional intelligence, empathy, and a strong focus on collaboration. She is widely respected for her ability to navigate complex political contexts and build strong relationships with international leaders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?
EI refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.
Why is Emotional Intelligence important?
It is important because it helps people to navigate social interactions, build strong relationships, and manage their own emotions in a healthy and productive way.
How can Emotional Intelligence be developed?
It can be developed through various techniques such as self-reflection, mindfulness, practicing empathy, active listening, and seeking feedback from others.
What are the benefits of having high Emotional Intelligence?
People with high EQ are more likely to have successful relationships, excel in leadership roles, and experience greater overall well-being.
Can Emotional Intelligence be measured?
Yes, there are various assessments and tests that can be used to measure EQ, although it is important to note that these measures may not be completely accurate.
Can Emotional Intelligence be improved?
Yes, it can be improved with intentional practice and effort.
How does Emotional Intelligence differ from IQ?
It measures a person’s ability to recognize and manage emotions, while IQ measures a person’s cognitive ability to reason and solve problems.
Is Emotional Intelligence innate or can it be learned?
While some people may have a natural inclination towards EQ, it can also be learned and developed over time with effort and practice.
Can Emotional Intelligence be taught in schools and workplaces?
Yes, it can be taught and incorporated into education and workplace training programs to help individuals develop this important skill set.
What are some common signs of low Emotional Intelligence?
Some common signs of low EQ include difficulty regulating emotions, lack of empathy, and difficulty understanding social cues
Emotional intelligence is a field that has been elusive since the beginning of man. But its time has come and it’s no longer an understudy waiting to be discovered.
Its value must be appreciated and the required attention is given to it including in families, schools, and workplaces.
Being socially intelligent can come to people by Providence, but it is an art that can be learned, improved, and mastered.
It is a necessary skill to be more successful in your social life to win more negotiations and get people to look into your opinion.
Your emotional quotient can be beaten into any shape you want, unlike your intelligence quotient which is rigid.
As you keep on practicing new EQ behaviours, building new pathways to beat them into habits, your brain establishes the new behaviours. The old connections to the old habits are replaced.
Thank you for reading this post. Let me know how you feel about the information as this would help me to tailor subsequent posts.
- How to Increase Your Social Intelligence
- 7 tips for harnessing EQ to effectively deal with stress
- A brief history of EQ
- Emotional Intelligent Examples
Adolescent and Adult Psychologist
Pyo Merez (PsyD) is a certified adolescent and adult psychologist who has been on the frontline of helping adolescents and adults with mental health. An expert in cognitive and developmental psychology - social relationships, cultural contexts, and individual differences. He is also a speaker and panelist on issues bordering on budding young people.