We deal with different emotions from the moment we are born.
Our first cry.
Our first feeling of hunger.
Our first frustration and dissatisfaction.
Our first love.
Our first heartbreak.
And everything else that follows.
That said, feeling our feelings and being able to understand them and deal with them are two different things. Yet, all of it matters if we want to take control over our life and understand why we’re going through what we’re going through. Understanding our own feelings also means understanding what others experience in life, too.
As Dale Carnegie said: “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
And while one article isn’t enough to cover the depths of all human emotions, it can certainly be a great start.
Let’s get onto discussing our emotions, shall we?
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.
In essence, emotional intelligence helps us understand important aspects of our lives - why certain things happen the way they do, how they should be approached, what different moments represent, how specific people make us feel, and so on. In general, emotional intelligence helps us understand the emotions that arise as a result of all these experiences.
It’s the capacity to observe these emotions, acknowledge them, act on them, and then finally manage them.
That said, it’s worth noting that this applies to people who have a solid level of emotional intelligence. Those who struggle with recognizing their emotions and understanding them for what they are have low EI.
It’s worth noting that EI means we’re able to understand others’ emotions, too. It’s about proper discernment, adjusting emotions and labeling them adequately, and modifying our behaviors based on the current environment.
Let’s talk about numbers….
We can’t wrap up this introductory section without including some numbers in terms of emotional intelligence statistics.
But to do so, we’ll take you way back to 2018 (it’s actually not that far anyway), and reflect on some EI stats from back then.
We’re curious to learn:
- What do you think about the stats?
- Are they still relevant?
- Which ones do you agree with? Which ones do you disagree with? Why?
- Do some of them sound implausible in practice?
- Have certain predictions failed?
Here are the emotional intelligence stats:
- Emotional intelligence was expected to be one of the top ten required skills in 2020, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report.
- 80% of employees perceive EI as being essential for their career development.
- Only 30% of companies take into account EI throughout the hiring process.
- Around 82% of the worldwide use emotional intelligence tests for executive positions; 72% of them give these tests to middle management; and just 59% give them to entry-level positions.
- 59% of employers won’t hire an individual with a high IQ, but a low EI.
- 75% of employers are more likely to offer a promotion to an employee with high EI.
- 71% of employers said that they value EI more than IQ.
- A single-point increase in your emotional intelligence is estimated to add $1,300 to your overall salary.
- Emotional and social skills and abilities were deemed four times more significant than IQ when it came to determining prestige and professional success.
- Emotional intelligence is said to account for approximately 90% of what moves employees up the ladder when their technical skills and IQ are more or less the same.
Emotional Intelligence Definition
Emotional intelligence is:
- giving your emotions a voice;
- responding to other people’s feelings with compassion, a deeper understanding, and empathy;
- said to vary from person to person;
- crucial to a person’s development;
- a sign of maturity;
- said to increase with age;
- acknowledging your feelings (both the positive and the negative ones);
- the ability to praise others;
- give/accept compliments and advice;
- knowing how to protect oneself from emotional sabotage;
- give/accept apologies;
- very closely associated with empathy;
- influencing others;
- honoring yours and someone else’s emotional needs;
- as important as IQ;
- being able to read between the lines;
- reading emotional cues;
- understanding a person’s facial expressions, and body language;
- being interested in finding various solutions to a wide range of problems (it’s not just IQ that helps us solve problems and search for solutions);
- the ability to accept criticism and negative feedback, and also knowing how to respond to them.
Emotional intelligence isn’t:
- suppressing your feelings or neglecting them;
- being oblivious to the people around you;
- hurting others with your words/behavior/actions;
- breaking promises and mocking others;
- reacting impulsively;
- Meant to be used for manipulating, deceiving, and confusing others;
- accepted by everyone equally;
- saying the wrong thing at the wrong time;
- getting fixated on mistakes and misunderstandings and other people’s comments and remarks about you/someone else;
- supposed to be expressed with frequent emotional outbursts and extreme mood swings (in fact, this is a sign of a very low emotional intelligence, or possibly a more serious mental health issue);
- something you can have “too much of” - in fact, it’s encouraged to keep developing your EI skills and abilities;
- strict science (it has many variables, subcategories, and depends on each individual's emotional development);
- blaming yourself for feeling the way you feel (it’s all about understanding why certain emotions pop up and what to do with them now that they’re here);
- really something we’re born with;
- always good (in other words, it may be used to manipulate others); consider the following examples:
- a political candidate who takes advantage of people’s fears in order to gain votes;
- a partner who hides their extramarital affair so that they can keep both people - the wife/husband and the lover aside;
- an employee or a manager who manipulates the truth, or spreads rumors and misinformation on purpose to gain an advantage.
The History of Emotional Intelligence
The term “emotional intelligence” was coined in 1990 by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. They described it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”.
However, many argue that its beginnings (or the variations of it) in fact came slightly before. Namely, Abraham Maslow is said to have introduced the term “emotional strength” back in the 1950s.
Also, Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist, wrote that the traditional types of intelligence (such as IQ), don’t explain cognitive abilities fully. He wrote about this in his Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983). He basically came up with the idea of multiple intelligences, which included both interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence.
That said, the term “emotional intelligence” became widely known through Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence - why it can matter more than IQ (1995). Goleman was an author and a science journalist, and his further publications reinforced the term that much more.
The book even made the cover of Times Magazine, and Goleman was also invited to numerous TV shows such as Oprah Winfrey’s and Phil Donahue’s.
From this point on, the research about EI only continued to grow (as well the interest in it). What’s more, the term itself evolved and deepened its meaning. For instance, Travis Bradberry co-authored the book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0“ (2009), which outlines 66 strategies that deal with stuff such as social awareness, relationship management, self-management, and so on.
We can’t skip Gill Hasson too. She has written more than 22 books - the following being some of the most relevant ones when it comes to EI: Emotional Intelligence: Managing Emotions to Make a Positive Impact on Your Life and Career (2014), Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook: Little Exercises for an Intuitive Life (2017), and The Mindfulness Pocketbook and Happiness: How to Get into the Habit of Being Happy (2015).
John Gottman, an American psychological researcher and clinician, needs to be mentioned too. He’s the co-founder of the Gottman Institute and has written numerous articles, including the one about Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child (1997). Gottman came up with the five steps of emotion coaching:
- Becoming more aware of your child’s emotions.
- Recognizing your child’s emotion as an opportunity for teaching or connection.
- Helping your child label their emotions verbally.
- Communicating empathy and understanding.
- Setting limits and problem-solving.
All in all, emotional intelligence is an ever-evolving field. The more you read and explore, the more there is to be read and explored. However, knowing the basics is enough to get you started, and to truly show you the importance of EI, which is what we’ll be dealing with in the upcoming section.
Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?
We already said so much about emotional intelligence that it probably isn’t difficult to understand why it matters so much. In a way, it’s enough to know what it stands for to also understand its relevance and significance.
That said, it’s always worth elaborating on it a bit more.
First and foremost, EI matters because it allows us to get to know our emotions and understand them from a higher perspective. In essence, it enables us to process emotional information in an “accurate” manner (as much as we can talk about accuracy when emotions are concerned).
But the important thing is to process them - and not try to get rid of them, or worse, completely neglect their existence. As Jessica Moore said,
Refusing to feel your emotions doesn't just make them go away. Just like a neighbor trying to warn you of a fire, they have a vital message to share. They'll continue banging on the door, getting louder and louder the longer their message goes ignored.
Emotional intelligence is also important because it helps us get better at communicating with others. We’re able to understand our partners/friends/family members and their needs. What’s more, we can interpret strangers’ intentions and some deceiving behaviors and act accordingly. Of course, this all depends on how emotionally developed we are.
Our emotional intelligence makes us better workers, too. The more emotionally intelligent we are, the better we can understand our aspirations, ambitions, and goals. This then affects our performance and productivity levels as well.
This is very closely related to our decision-making tendencies. So, being aware of and comfortable with our emotions will allow us to notice when we’re being rational and when we’re making emotionally driven decisions. In essence, we’re more in tune with our biases and limiting thoughts, which may lead to emotional interference when we’re making decisions.
Furthermore, EI is significant because it helps us deal with stress better. If we’re in tune with our emotions, and understand our triggers, we’re more than likely to come up with feasible solutions and approach situations from a much more neutral perspective. Sitting with our emotions is key to understanding them, managing them, releasing them, and then being at peace.
All in all, EI is significant because it shows us that we’re not under the heel of our feelings - we’re able to control them and manage them the way we wish to do so. But to do that successfully, we need to be in tune with our emotional side.
How To Develop Emotional Intelligence?
By now, you already understand what EI is, why it matters, but you may be confused as to how you can develop it (or if you’re comfortable with your EI skills, you still may want to improve them even further).
So, let’s discuss some of the ways to do so!
As Barbara Brown Taylor put it:
After years of being taught that the way to deal with painful emotions is to get rid of them, it can take a lot of reschooling to learn to sit with them instead, finding out from those who feel them what they have learned by sleeping in the wilderness that those who sleep in comfortable houses may never know.
So, the first step to developing EI is to get comfortable with your emotions. They’re not going anywhere. They’re there to be felt and dealt with. And there’s no running away from them. Plus, they’re your emotions - why would you want to get rid of them?
Then, try to respond to criticism and negative feedback in a much calmer manner. All of us tend to react quite aggressively when we feel attacked. It’s almost like an unconscious response, but the more you practice answering in a stable manner, the better you’ll get at it.
Next, learn to listen to others. But when we say listen - we don’t merely mean only to hear what the others have to say. We refer to the process of active listening. Listen to understand and respond to what the other person may confess/ask/require/express, and so on. Different scenarios ask of us a different approach, but these are the basics.
Also, this goes hand in hand with learning to empathize more with others. How much work you need to do on this depends on how much you’re currently able to show empathy. If you struggle with this, it’s important to understand that empathy is a stent and not a weak trait. In fact, empathy is at the core of EI.
People with high EI skills are also quite approachable and easy to talk to. They understand social behavior, possess high emotional literacy, and have no problem showing it. Also, they’re able to regulate their feelings successfully and think before they act on them.
That said, we can never change what others say/think about us, but we can change how we carry ourselves in life, and by doing such subtle inner changes, our outer reality slowly starts shifting as well.
Examples of Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life
Emotional intelligence affects both the academic success of pupils/students as well as their overall emotional adjustment at their school/university.
It encompasses the educatees’ mental health, overall well-being, performance, productivity, behavior, and so on.
In essence, EI means that educatees understand their educational needs, value their productivity levels, and more importantly, they don’t allow their current emotions to hinder their performance (of course, this depends on their age and on the specific situation).
They’re able to evaluate, manage, and discuss their emotions within the classroom in a calm manner, without hurting their educator or their peers. They show empathy toward others, too.
Educatees with high EI levels are also expected to show intrinsic motivation and aim to satisfy their educational goals.
That said, emotional intelligence within educational institutions is not just about those who are learning. It’s about those who teach, too.
Educators should also keep their emotions in check. Educators who possess high EI tend to not only teach better and more meaningfully, but they also motivate the students more. They can also understand their pupils'/students’ behavior and overall state of being.
In other words, the teachers can easily see whether the students struggling with something - it can be social, emotional, physical, and mental. They may even notice if the students have problems with course subjects, peers, other educators, parents, and so on.
Finally, EI shows us the importance of the emotional connection between an educator and an educatee. It also reminds us that besides the intellectual education pupils/students receive, emotional literacy is just as important.
How to approach this?
If you’re the one who's teaching:
- How aware are you of your educatees’ feelings while you’re teaching?
- How do you feel at the start of your working day?
- What’s the best part about teaching? What’s the worst?
- What emotions do you feel throughout the day? Also, how do you usually feel at the end of a teaching day?
- Have you ever gotten negative feedback about your teaching? How did that make you feel? How did you respond to it?
- Can you try and control your emotions before you reprimand an educatee?
- Do you show empathy in your classroom?
- Do you acknowledge all pupils/students equally?
- Do you praise educatees? Also, do you criticize them? How do you talk to them? What type of language and tone do you typically use?
- Have you ever felt that a pupil/student tried to manipulate you? What did you do?
- How important do you think emotional intelligence is in the classroom? Can it be taught?
- How can you make your educatees more emotionally intelligent?
- What effect does your teaching style have on your pupils/students?
- When there’s a problem in the classroom (let’s say two educatees have gotten into a fight), are you quick to react?
- What are some traits that some of your educatees have that bother you?
- Do you find it hard to admit when you’re wrong? If yes, why?
- Do you tend to criticize some of your educatees’ work? In other words, if someone did something wrong, how do you let them know they should do it differently next time?
- Has an educatee ever come to you with a problem they’ve been dealing with? What did you do? How did that make you feel?
- What kind of role do you think psychologists have in schools? How open are the pupils to talk to them about issues?
- How concerned are you about your educatees’ mental health? What factors should be taken into consideration?
- What do you think about parent-teacher collaboration (this, of course, mostly applies to middle school and high school, and not university)?
- Do you stay calm under pressure? How do you typically process your emotions?
- Do you encourage your educatees to freely express their feelings?
- How do you handle angry/frustrated pupils/students?
If you’re the one who’s learning:
- What do you think about contemporary education?
- How do you feel about going to school/university?
- How motivated are you to learn and educate yourself?
- Do you think your subjects require you to think critically and creatively? Explain.
- What do you think about your peers?
- What are your current educational challenges?
- What’s the most enjoyable thing about going to school?
- How close are you to your educators?
- Have you ever talked to an educator about a problem you’ve been facing? What did you tell them? Did they end up helping you? How?
- How familiar are you with the concept of emotional intelligence? Based on what you know, do you think it should be taught as a separate subject within educational institutions? What are the benefits of doing something like that? Also, are there any shortcomings?
- As an educatee, how can you improve your EI on your own?
- How do you feel about bullying? Have you ever experienced it first hand?
- When you struggle with something, do you ask a peer to help you? And vice versa - has a peer ever asked you for help or advice? If yes, what did they ask for? How did you reply? Has this interaction somehow changed the connection you have with that specific person?
- How much does your education influence your life on the whole? Does it play a big and important role, or do you perceive it as insignificant?
- When you think about grades, testing, examination, and finals - what emotions come to the surface? How do you cope with exam sessions/testing periods?
- Have you ever had a crush on any of your educators? Did that affect the way you perceived this educator’s subject? In what way? Did it motivate you to study more? Also, how did you behave toward that person? Was it drastically different from the way you treated the other educators?
- How do you feel about skipping school? Have you ever done it? Did you feel relieved or on the contrary - you felt a bit guilty?
- How would you say your mood affects your:
- academic performance?
- learning process?
- behavior at school?
- communication with your peers and educators?
- At school, how often have you felt:
- at ease?
When we talk about work and our workplace, we immediately associate it with our skills, prior experience, qualifications, formal education, and degrees. And while these are all perfectly legitimate, most of the time we tend to neglect EI and its power in the workplace.
So, how can EI help us at our workplace and why does it matter so much?
First and foremost, workers with high EI are better decision-makers, organize their time more effectively, and tend to procrastinate far less than others. They can also manage their emotions, but recognize the emotions others (their colleagues) are feeling, too.
Emotionally intelligent workers tend to form more sustainable relationships, have more patience when dealing with challenging people or situations and have the capacity to analyze things from different perspectives.
Moreover, they deal with stress more effectively. This is something that affects each employee - regardless of the salary, job position, country, culture, and so on. Stress is omnipresent, but the way we approach it says a lot not only about our EI, but overall character, too.
Also, EI is crucial when it comes to conflict management in the workplace because let’s face it - no matter how educated, qualified, or responsible we are, conflicts do happen, peers get on our nerves, and if we have low EI, we’ll probably handle such conflicts in a bizarre way. Emotional intelligence helps us come up with potential solutions on how to maintain calm in tense situations and bring disagreements and issues into the open.
Finally, workers in possession of high EI are much more centered, focused on their goals, and eager to grow not only professionally, but as individuals, too. This, in turn, makes them favorable employees.
How to approach this?
If you’re the employer:
- What is your company’s highest value?
- Have your employees ever questioned your instructions or authority? What exactly happened? How did you react?
- Do you make decisions easily?
- Are you an overthinker?
- If there was an argument between two employees, would you mediate? What would you do?
- What’s your biggest accomplishment so far? What else do you strive to obtain?
- How do you handle changes?
- How would you describe the relationship you have with your employees?
- What’s the most challenging thing about your position? Also, what’s the most rewarding one?
- Do you let your feelings interfere with making decisions or are they a nice asset?
- What are some of your weaknesses? Do you think your employees may take advantage of them sometimes?
- What motivates you to work?
- Think about a stressful day you had at work. What happened? What was so stressful about it? Did it involve other people? What did you do? How did you unwind afterward?
- What makes you angry at work?
- Have you ever made a huge mistake at work? What did you do? Did it involve other employee(s)? How did the others react?
- How has your behavior at work changed from the beginning of your work experience till now? What lessons have you learned? What kind of experiences have you had? What would you have done differently?
- How do you handle employees who don’t finish their projects on time?
- How strict are you as an employer?
- How do your employees benefit from having an employer like you? Think about three qualities that make you a successful employer.
- Do you think you have leadership skills? Explain and give examples when you’ve demonstrated your skills in practice.
- Do you feel uncomfortable when you need to negotiate money matters, salary, and promotions with employees? What if you need to fire someone? How do you handle such situations?
- Reflect upon a time when you said/did something which had a positive impact on an employee. What was it? How did this affect your relationship with this employee?
- Do you notice if an employee has a bad day at work? If you do, do you say something to them?
- How concerned are you about your employees’ mental health?
- Has an employee ever come to you with a problem? Did you help them resolve it?
If you’re the employee:
- Are you happy with the work you do? Describe how you currently feel about your job.
- When you wake up to go to work, what’s the first thought you have? Is it a positive or a negative one?
- Is it easy for you to focus on something long-term?
- Do you tend to avoid conflicts at work?
- Have you ever confronted your employer about something? What happened? What did you say? How did they react? Would you do it again?
- Have you ever gotten into an argument with a colleague? What was the outcome?
- How do you typically recover from failures? What’s your coping mechanism?
- Do you feel comfortable asking for a raise? Have you ever done it?
- Do you struggle to build rapport with others?
- Do you often ask for help from a colleague?
- What’s a job achievement you’re really proud of?
- Who do you look up to? Who’s your role model?
- Has your overall mood ever affected your job performance (both positively or negatively)? Provide details.
- How do you deal with bad days at work? Can others tell when you’re having an off day? What do you do to help yourself?
- Are you close with some of your colleagues, or do you have a strictly professional relationship? On the whole, do you work well with others?
- How does your behavior at your job differ from the behavior in front of your friends/family members?
- Do you struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
- How do you de-stress after a very tense day at work? What do you do?
- How do you tend to celebrate your successes?
- Are you ever demotivated at work? How do you cope with those days? What makes you feel more productive again?
- Have you ever had to neutralize a pretty stressful and tense situation at work? Describe what happened and how it ended.
- How do you feel about coworkers who don’t complete their tasks?
- Do you struggle to keep your emotions in check at work? Why?
- How important do you find EI to be in your line of work? Give specific examples.
- What are your long-term career goals?
- Would you ever consider starting your own business? Why? Why not?
Getting a Degree/Certificate
There’s nothing new or unusual about informal education. After all, with the courses we provide, you can tell we’re all for it!
Hence, there’s nothing weird when it comes to people reading about or exploring EI on their own. That said, many would be surprised to learn that they can receive EI education within a more formal setting.
As it turns out, institutions such as Esade and its Leadership Development Research Centre (GLEAD) offer EI-Related Doctoral Programs. The program focuses on leadership and how EI can help.
Also, its purpose is to help leaders show a sense of (self-)awareness and a desire to grow, as well as form connections that inspire others to grow as well.
Wilmington University offers an Undergraduate Certificate in Emotional Intelligence and Leadership as part of its College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
The purpose of this program is for students to identify EI qualities in others and themselves, boost their pre-existing leadership and social skills, understand the qualities of positive leadership, learn to recognize (un)healthy and (un)ethical behaviors, examine and be able to empathize with others’ needs, feelings, and thoughts.
To obtain the certificate, students need to obtain 15 credits. This means they ought to choose 4 core courses (12 credits), and 1 elective (3 credits).
How to approach this?
If you’re the educator:
- What makes teaching EI attractive? Also, what makes it challenging?
- How did you decide to teach emotional intelligence? What prompted you?
- Do you think everyone could benefit from learning EI in a more formal setting? If yes, why?
- How do you go about lesson planning? How is EI supposed to be taught? How does it differ from other academic disciplines?
- Is EI teaching supposed to be more practical rather than theoretical? If yes, in what way? And do you manage to do so in your own classroom?
- How do you handle negative student feedback? Also, how do you give negative feedback to your educatees?
- How do you assess an EI educatee? What’s your approach? What assessment methods do you use?
- Do you consider yourself to be a good example for the EI educatees you interact with?
- What job prospects do EI educatees have? What professions will they be good at? Why? Make a list of at least several professions.
- How do you upgrade your own emotional intelligence? How do you obtain new information? What methods do you use?
- What happens if someone mocks EI and says negative stuff about it in front of you? How do you respond? What arguments can you provide to “defend” it?
- Do you compare your teaching style to that of other educators?
- Do you consult other educators when you’re dealing with some challenges?
- What does it mean to be a successful educator? In other words, what skills and qualities should a successful educator have?
- What’s your teaching philosophy?
- How open are you with your educatees when it comes to sharing personal information and details about yourself?
- How do you handle your emotions when you’re having a bad day? Does it impede your teaching? Also, how does it affect the interaction with the educatees?
- How much are you interested in your educatees’ personal lives? Do you ask questions and initiate such discussions or are you open to listening to them if they themselves decide to start talking about such things first?
- What learning strategies do educatees need in order to successfully obtain EI knowledge?
- Describe the worst teaching day you’ve had so far. What happened? What made the situation so bad?
- How should your success be measured?
- How do you tend to approach student discipline in your classroom?
If you’re the educatee:
- Why are you interested in studying EI?
- What’s so attractive about formally studying EI? What’s the core of EI as a discipline?
- How should studying EI be approached? Would you treat it as other academic disciplines? Also, how do you expect to be assessed?
- Do you have any prior emotional intelligence knowledge? If you do, how did you obtain it? Did you learn things on your own? What resources did you use?
- What are your expectations after getting a formal EI education? What would you like to do? In other words, what are your job prospects? Also, have you thought about your salary expectations?
- Do you think it’s difficult to learn about EI and then apply it in your life? In essence, are you ready to walk the talk? How can EI educatees integrate EI theory in a more meaningful manner?
- What does a successful EI educatee look like? How do they go about studying EI? What do they do in their free time? How do they behave?
- Is studying emotional intelligence in a formal setting really worth it? Can’t the same be obtained through an online course, for instance?
- How can potential educatees recognize a high-quality EI program? What aspects should be taken into account before picking a program?
- Have you ever taken an EI test? If you have, what was your score? Do you think all EI educatees should be asked to take such tests? Do you think those tests are valid and credible?
- If it were up to you, how would you assess one’s EI? What factors should be considered?
- When you study something and you can’t seem to understand the subject, how do you deal with it? How does EI come into play here? How should educatees embrace their learning challenges? How can one improve their learning skills and methods?
- What may discourage someone from studying EI? Also, have you personally ever felt discouraged? If you have, what happened to make you feel that way?
- What are your expectations from EI educators? How should they teach? What should they say? How are they to behave? What kind of relationship should they develop with their educatees?
- Do you perceive your EI educators as having “mastered'' emotional intelligence? In other words, do you think they have it all figured out, so they have no emotional struggles in their lives? Or if they do, do you think they resolve them easily?
Building and maintaining interpersonal relationships doesn’t come easily to everyone. In fact, a lot of people struggle to form solid, long-lasting connections. For instance, did you know that according to George Levinger, who was a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, relationships don’t develop out of the blue? In other words, they go through several stages.
So, he refers to his theory as stage theory, and it includes the following stages:
- ending (termination)
Successful relationships typically go through the first three stages. However, if you’re dealing with a romantic relationship followed by a breakup, then you’ll go through all stages.
That said, it’s worth mentioning that many relationships don’t make it past the initial stage (acquaintance).
Now, back to the EI and interpersonal relationships.
Emotional intelligence helps us boost our awareness of our emotions - the ability to, in a way, monitor them. This is important because if we’re not aware of our emotions, others can easily manipulate us and deceive us. We’re much more vulnerable, confused, and lost.
Now, EI is significant because it allows us to learn how to master our feelings, calm ourselves in times of stress, reduce depressive episodes (or any other negative ones), and avoid falling victim to our emotions. We need to know ourselves and our emotions first, and then we can “know” others too.
Only when we do these things can we form solid connections with other people as well.
EI helps us handle all relationships better in our everyday lives. Being empathetic is the basis upon which solid connections rest, and it’s key to forming deeper bonds. It also makes us more competent at forming opinions about others and understanding their true intentions.
Finally, as we said at the beginning, forming bonds with other people is an art few have mastered, but working on your EI can definitely help you improve in this area.
How to approach this?
- How does EI affect interpersonal relationships?
- How empathetic are you on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest, and 10 the highest)?
- According to you, is EI more important than IQ for successful interpersonal relationships?
- Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? What are they?
- What are true friendships based on?
- How do you build a solid relationship? What are the key “ingredients”? Are you clear about the expectations you have from the other person?
- Do you have fear of rejection? How do you overcome it?
- Do you know how to calm yourself when you get upset or extremely anxious? Also, do you know how to help others when they struggle with these things?
- Do you have solid personal boundaries? Do people tend to cross them? If yes, how do you react? What do you do?
- Are you easily irritated? Do you lose your temper every now and then? What pushes your buttons?
- Can you easily connect with others? Do you openly show affection towards them?
- Do you have any problem accepting people as they are - with all the flaws and shortcomings that may trouble you? How adaptable are you?
- Do you confide in others? Also, do others confide in you?
- Do you keep your promises? Do you get angry if others don’t keep theirs?
- How confrontational are you as a person?
- Are you good at staying in touch with people?
- Do you rely on your intuition when you meet new people? In other words, can you easily assess whether someone is “a good person”, deceitful, trustworthy, or something else?
- Do people come to you for advice? Are you a good listener?
- Is it easy for you to read other people’s emotions?
- How do you usually keep in touch with friends? Do you tend to text them once a day/week? Do you call them? Perhaps you chat on Messenger or another platform?
- Do you always make time to meet up with close friends? Is this a priority for you?
- What do others have to say about you and your personality? How do you think people perceive you? What would they say about your ability to make friends and maintain already existing relationships?
- What kind of a first impression do you think you leave? Are you detached, a bit aloof, or do you come across as warm and welcoming? Would you like to change the way people perceive you?
- When you get into an argument with someone, do you tend to replay the “event” over and over in your head? Do you think about what you could have done/said differently? Do you blame yourself? Do you apologize first or do you wait for the other person to initiate reconciliation after a fight?
Famous Quotes about Emotional Intelligence
“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a 'hot mess' or having 'too many issues' are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.”
“We are all in favor of emotional intelligence. Intelligence can take emotion as a privileged counseling partner. However, it does not allow the emotion to take possession of us, besiege our mind, and subjugate our thinking. The emotion must regulate our thoughts, not manipulate nor substitute them. Our perception is only a biased picture of reality, and emotions are individual or provisional. Therefore, critical thinking and emotional thinking must go hand in hand. ("No monsters hide at this point" ).”
“People who seek psychotherapy for psychological, behavioral or relationship problems tend to experience a wide range of bodily complaints...The body can express emotional issues a person may have difficulty processing consciously...I believe that the vast majority of people don't recognize what their bodies are really telling them. The way I see it, our emotions are music and our bodies are instruments that play the discordant tunes. But if we don't know how to read music, we just think the instrument is defective.”
“Emotional intelligence doesn't allow feelings to get in the way - it does just the opposite. It restores balance to our thought processes; it prevents emotions from having undue influence over our actions; and it helps us to realize that we might be a certain way for a reason.”
“Empathy is what makes people feel safe in relationships. Along with self-awareness, it's the soul of emotional intelligence, guiding people toward prosocial behavior and fairness in dealings with others. In contrast, non-empathic people overlook your feelings and don't seem to imagine your experience or be sensitive to it. It's important to be aware of this, because a person who isn't responsive to your feelings won't be emotionally safe when the two of you have any kind of disagreement.”
“Yet emotional intelligence can't be bought or rushed. It develops with the slow emergence of identity, and the gradual accumulation of life experiences. When we push a young child toward an awareness they don't yet have, we transpose our own emotions, and our own voice, on theirs. We overwhelm them. For the first nine or ten years children learn mainly through imitation. Your emotions, and the way that you manage them, is the model they "imprint," more than what you say or instruct about emotions.”
“A person who doesn’t understand flowers might tug on them to make them grow. A person who doesn’t speak the language of someplace might misread the locals’ sentiments and intentions. Yet you are already such a flower, and your inner locals—your emotions, your body, your thoughts—are already speaking to you. If you don’t learn the language of your experience, then how can you understand yourself? How can you help yourself?”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the five components of emotional intelligence?
According to Daniel Goleman, there are five key elements to emotional intelligence:
Being self-aware means you’re in tune with the way you feel, and you know what kind of impact your feelings have not only on you, but those around you as well. In essence, being self-aware means you have a very clear understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and character traits.
That said, self-awareness can always be improved. Here are some ways to help you:
- You can try keeping a journal. Journals are a great way to help you filter feelings, information, and events that took place during the day, as well as to see things from other perspectives and help you in the long run.
- Take things slow. When you experience negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and hopelessness, try to see why you’re feeling them. Think with a clearer mind rather than being focused on getting everything done or understanding everything in the moment that things occur.
Individuals who are capable of keeping their behaviors in check at all times rarely enter arguments with others, make rushed decisions, judge people or stereotype them, or compromise the values they have. In essence, self-regulation is about having control over oneself and one’s behaviors and actions.
It’s about having personal accountability too. To work on your self-regulation even more focus on:
- Knowing your values - Are you absolutely in tune with your values? Which ones are the most important to you? Why do they matter so much? Also, are you willing to compromise? If yes, how much?
- Holding yourself responsible - If you always tend to blame others for things that go wrong in your life, then you need to stop and really think. Admit your mistakes, and ask yourself: why did things go wrong?
We tend to look for motivation on the outside (for instance, we’ll get motivated if our employer decides to give us a higher salary), but self-motivation is as important. In fact, it may be even more important for better success and self-satisfaction.
Self-motivated individuals can also work much more consistently to satisfy their goals and fulfill their dreams. They all have much higher standards and criteria.
But we understand that getting yourself motivated properly can be a struggle. So, here’s what you can do:
- Understand why you do what you do - For instance, sometimes we can forget why we chose the career we decided to choose. So every once in a while remind yourself why you wanted this job in the first place.
- Know where you stand - Understand how motivated you are (or aren’t) to lead. Take some time to reevaluate your leadership skills.
Showing empathy isn’t easy for everybody. In essence, being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes can truly be a challenge.
But to show someone how much you want to understand them, how much you respect and value them, then showing empathy is the way to go. The same applies to professional situations too.
To be a successful leader/entrepreneur you need to know how to manage teams (or even whole organizations), provide constructive feedback (but also know how to receive feedback yourself), and listen to what others have to say. You also need to know how to challenge others and help their skills “shine” through. And you won’t be able to do any of these successfully if you’re not able to connect with these individuals on a deeper level.
Showing people you care for them and being able to express your loyalty can be done by expressing your empathy. And if you want to learn how to improve your empathy, here’s how:
- Learn to see things from other people’s perspectives - Sticking up for what we believe in and defending our values and opinions may be easy, but the real challenge lies in understanding other people’s perspectives.
- Pay attention to body language - People’s body language reveals more than their words ever will. People may cross their arms, avoid eye contact, bite their lips, move their feet back and forth, and so on.
People are social beings. We need to share our thoughts, be understood, be heard, and be acknowledged. And to do so we need to be good communicators.
Good communicators are able to discuss both good and bad news, and they know when to stop talking.
They’re also good at resolving conflicts and problems, as well as supporting people and getting them excited/prepared about events, situations, and/or other people.
Now, how can social skills be built? For starters, you can:
- Get comfortable with resolving conflicts - This can include both your own conflicts, but also sometimes being asked to be a mediator.
- Improve your communication skills - This is pretty much self-explanatory and goes hand in hand with what we’ve already mentioned. It might sound paradoxical, but the best way to become a better communicator is by communicating more.
Finally, the more areas we are good at, the higher our EI is. So, considering all five elements is key to one’s emotional development and maturity.
What does it mean to be an emotionally intelligent person?
An emotionally intelligent person:
- manages to handle even the most challenging situations in a successful and calm manner;
- is able to express themselves very clearly;
- respects others and is respected in turn;
- has the capacity to influence others in a profound way;
- is able to work under pressure;
- knows how to read other people’s emotions, body language, facial expressions, and overall mood;
- knows how to negotiate properly and even persuade others to agree with them (without using deceitful manipulative tactics);
- knows how to motivate themselves, but also motivate others;
- is capable of working individually, but has no problem adjusting to team projects too;
- can be positive even in difficult moments.
How can I measure my emotional intelligence?
Measuring one’s EI is not the same as measuring your weight. In other words, it’s not about reaching a specific number to know where you stand.
This is so because EI is a completely different concept from what we’re used to - it deals with emotions, behaviors, attitudes, and so on. It requires a much deeper method to assess where we are in our emotional development.
That said, EI is usually measured through various tests and reports. They could be self-reports or other-reports and ability measures.
Namely, the self-report approach can be identified in the Bar-On EQ-i book, which includes a questionnaire containing 133 items and the participant is asked to give scores on a scale of 1 to 5.
Then, the other-report refers to feedback from individuals such as work colleagues, in the 360-assessment format. For instance, the EI-360 created by the North American Institute for Health and Human Potential consists of 10 statements for the colleagues and 47 for the participant. Each person has to give scores on a 7-point scale.
The ability tests are meant to measure an individual’s abilities and/or skills. To illustrate, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, who we already mentioned, created the first ability EI measure called the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS) that contains 122 questions.
Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment Tools
Finally, we decided to include an actual example of an EI self-assessment tool that you can do, as we believe that it’d be useless to talk about measuring emotional intelligence without giving you the chance to measure yours.
This self-assessment test has been adapted from Emily A. Strerrett’s The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Daniel E. Feldman’s The Handbook of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership.
The test consists of 20 statements and you need to rate each one using a scale of 1-5. You can read the rest of the instructions before you take the test.
Suggestions for Further Reading
A lot of us learn about the concepts of emotional intelligence through the experiences we have on a daily basis. So it goes without saying that our real life experiences are invaluable, but getting more information and actually reading what professionals have to say about the matter can be a huge asset in how we handle our emotions, too.
Combining our very own experiences along with getting to know other authors’ suggestions, thoughts, and views can greatly improve our quality of life and EQ skills.
So, if you’re going to read books about emotional intelligence, try these:
Emotional Intelligence: For a Better Life, success at work, and happier relationships. Improve Your Social Skills, Emotional Agility and Discover Why it Can Matter More Than IQ, by Brandon Goleman
Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader: A Guide to Cultivating Effective Leadership and Organizations, by Christopher D. Connors
Go Suck a Lemon: Strategies for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence, by Michael Cornwall
The Language of Emotional Intelligence: The Five Essential Tools for Building Powerful and Effective Relationships, by Jeanne Segal
EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence, by Justin Bariso
The EQ Difference: A Powerful Plan for Putting Emotional Intelligence to Work, by Adele Lynn
The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership, by David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey
Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting, by John Gottman and Daniel Goleman
Becoming a Resonant Leader: Develop Your Emotional Intelligence, Renew Your Relationships, Sustain Your Effectiveness, by Annie McKee, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Fran Johnston
Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion, by Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee
Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, by Susan David
Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive, by Marc Brackett
Jess C. Scott writes that when our emotional health is bad, “so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves.”
This means it’s our responsibility to look after our emotional wellbeing, and learn how to improve our self-esteem and social awareness.
And this is precisely what we teach in our emotional intelligence course. We dwell on:
- emotional competencies and exploring self-awareness;
- managing stressful situations;
- active listening, how to ask better questions, and how to build relationships;
- building resilience, creating meaning, and conflict resolution;
- self-regulation and how to be empathetic.
If you’re ready to take full control of your emotions and are willing to understand where they come from and what to do with them - don’t hesitate to join us. We’d love to have you on board!
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