What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why Does It Matter?

7 Feb, 2023
What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why Does It Matter?

If you've ever been in a situation where you felt like you were losing your cool, or found yourself questioning why someone else seemed to be sailing through a tough moment while you felt like you were drowning, then you know a little something about emotional intelligence.

Are You Ready?
Take this test and find out how smart you are.

Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is an important criterion that gauges a person's ability to perceive, assess and respond to their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It has been identified as a key factor for successful personal relationships, effective leadership, and overall well-being in the workplace.

It has been argued by many professionals that EI could be even more valuable than IQ for achieving success in life. With this skill, individuals can communicate with clarity and constructively connect with their peers to reach any desired goal.

Some people are born with high emotional intelligence, but it's something that can also be learned. And it's worth learning because research has shown that people with high emotional intelligence are more successful at work and in life. Here's a look at what emotional intelligence is and why it matters.

Emotional Intelligence Has Helped You and Others in Your Life

Emotional intelligence has the power to make or break relationships, both personal and professional. For example, when someone was embroiled in a difficult situation with an old friend, being able to read and respond appropriately to their nonverbal cues enabled us to resolve our differences quickly and more effectively than if we had been using words alone.

We have also seen other people benefit from understanding the power of emotion in communication - when it comes to negotiation, having the ability to sense what the other person is feeling can make all the difference between reaching a satisfying outcome or throwing up your hands in resignation.

Overall, embracing emotional intelligence makes for stronger connections and healthier relationships of all kinds.

Indicators of Emotional Intelligence

Some of the most evident markers of emotional intelligence are:

Possessing the capacity to identify and articulate what people are feeling - Emotional intelligence involves being able to read other people's emotional cues and understanding what they're feeling. This can be done by observing body language and facial expressions, as well as listening carefully to what someone is saying.

Knowing your capabilities and weaknesses - A key part of emotional intelligence is knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness allows you to be more effective in your interactions with others, as well as in managing your own emotions.

Embracing and trusting yourself - People who are emotionally intelligent tend to have a high degree of self-confidence and self-acceptance. They are comfortable with who they are and are able to accept criticism without letting it undermine their sense of self-worth.

Forgiving yourself for mishaps - We all make mistakes, but emotionally intelligent people are able to learn from their mistakes and move on without dwelling on them or letting them define them.

An openness to embracing transformation - Change is a natural part of life, but it can be difficult for some people to deal with. Emotionally intelligent people are typically more flexible and adaptable, making them better equipped to deal with change when it happens.

An inquisitive mindset, especially when it comes to understanding others - People who are emotionally intelligent tend to be curious about others, which helps them understand them better. This curiosity also extends to new experiences, ideas, and situations – something that can make life more interesting and exciting overall.

Showing sensitivity - Sensitivity towards the emotions of other people shows that you're aware of what they may be feeling or going through at any given time. This could mean anything from telling someone their opinion matters if they feel unimportant or being accommodating if they're having a hard time focusing on something due to distractions around them.

Accepting responsibility - Taking responsibility for mistakes can be difficult but it's an important signifier of emotional maturity as well as intelligence; this means admitting wrongdoings openly rather than trying to push the blame onto someone else and always aiming for improvement over perfectionism so progress can continue forward after any missteps are addressed honestly and fairly.

The ability to stay present - An emotionally intelligent person has the capacity to stay focused and at the moment. They're not easily distracted or overwhelmed, and instead, use their emotional intelligence to maintain their composure while working through difficult situations. This allows them to remain productive even when things become challenging and it also makes it easier for them to connect with and understand others around them.

Assessing Your EQ

To measure emotional intelligence levels, two distinct assessment types have been developed: self-report tests and ability tests.

Self-report tests involve answering questions about how an individual perceives themselves in terms of emotional awareness, self-control, and social skills. These are often structured questionnaires focused on "me" statements to measure self-awareness, as well as various other statements related to different aspects of social functioning. This method provides a measure of what the individual reports he or she exhibits in terms of EI skills rather than actual observable behaviors or traits for which they may be responsible for exhibiting.

  • Some common examples include the Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), the Global Emotional Intelligence Test (GEIT), and the Schutte Self Report Emotional Intelligence Test (SSREIT).

Ability tests involve tasks and activities designed to assess an individual's abilities with regard to emotion recognition, understanding, utilization, and management. Auditory comprehension tasks (listening exercises), facial expression recognition tasks (viewing situations depicted on faces) or even role-playing are all examples used by ability assessments that measure the capabilities behind a true demonstration of emotional intelligence traits within individuals.

  • Examples of these types of tests include the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory 2nd Edition (EQ2); Multi-Health Systems EQi 2.0 test, and The Reuven Bar-On EQ inventory for pairs test – Coaching Relationships module for couples therapy relationships inventory assessment toolkit.

Finally, while both methods provide insights into measuring EI, it is important to note that neither can fully depict the full scope potential capabilities every person holds - particularly when there are also environmental elements at play like family dynamics or workplace relations which could change over time depending upon external factors not otherwise accounted for through traditional testing methods alone.

Strategies for Enhancing Emotional Intelligence

Improving your emotional intelligence (EI) can have huge personal and professional benefits. There are five key areas that you can focus on to improve your EI:

1. Learn to be self-aware. Being aware of your emotions and how they affect those around you is essential for successful interactions. Take the time to reflect on how you feel, why this has been triggered, and what it means for your behavior in a given situation.

2. Know yourself. Understanding who you are as an individual is key in developing EI capabilities; this includes acknowledging strengths as well as weaknesses but also appreciating how these will impact every area of life including relationships and work performance.

3. Develop effective communication skills. The ability to express yourself clearly without alienating or offending others is incredibly important when considering social transactions or forming relationships with clients or colleagues at work; it’s always better to err on the side of caution rather than becoming too aggressive or abrasive when communicating, so bear that in mind if ever faced with challenging situations in which emotions might otherwise take over!

4. Be mindful of empathy. Having empathy means understanding other people’s feelings and being able to respond appropriately whilst taking into account their own personal perspectives; furthermore, it involves putting yourself into someone else’s shoes so think before blaming someone outright even if they may be wrong! This also ties back into clear communication by considering choosing words carefully when trying not to cause unnecessary tension between parties involved – after all, a little kindness can go a long way!

5. Aim for self-regulation. While having strong emotions can sometimes lead us astray from rational thought processes, active attempts at regulating these reactions are paramount, particularly during times when events seem overwhelming due to stressors such as deadlines looming closer than expected, etc; short sprint exercises like running up flights of stairs help release energy which boosts our concentration abilities allowing us to stay focused until tasks have been completed successfully and effectively!

All these five tips will help improve your overall EI tremendously and set the tone for strong relationships whether professionally or personally.

Possible Perils

One potential disadvantage of leaning heavily on emotional intelligence is that people may fail to consider other forms of insight, knowledge, and intelligence. They are more likely to trust their intuition over hard facts and evidence-based reasoning which could lead them astray if they don't have all the necessary data at hand.

Additionally, many people who possess strong levels of emotional intelligence are often overly trusting or naïve when engaging with others due to feelings such as empathy or sympathy. This can lead them into situations that may not have positive outcomes down the road. It is important for emotionally intelligent people to consider potential risks before making decisions even though they may feel confident in those decisions based on gut instinct.

Finally, too much reliance on EI can make someone highly sensitive which can negatively impact their performance in challenging professional environments where criticism might come frequently and often seems unjustified from multiple perspectives. Emotionally intelligent individuals must learn how to effectively cope with harsh feedback without taking it personally if they want to succeed in such environments long-term.

In conclusion, while emotional intelligence has its benefits both professionally and interpersonally, there are certain pitfalls associated with it that need proper consideration when evaluating its importance and application in any given situation or life circumstance overall. By understanding the potential risks that come with possessing strong levels of EI, individuals can better equip themselves to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions whenever appropriate.

Click here to learn more about our IQ tests.

How to Use Emotional Intelligence for Success

Developing and using emotional intelligence can have many positive benefits in both personal and professional life. In order to optimize its use, set clear goals and be flexible when approaching them. Consider the feelings of others by understanding their perspective, doing your best to not take criticism personally, and responding with empathy.

Here are some practical tips for making the most out of emotional intelligence:

  • Embracing criticism with accountability is an essential trait that all should strive for
  • Achieving the ability to stand firm in your convictions and respectfully assert a "no" when necessary
  • Possessing the ability to craft solutions that are beneficial for all parties involved
  • Respond appropriately to the emotions of others
  • Use emotional intelligence in decision-making
  • Communicate effectively
  • Handle conflict effectively
  • Possessing exceptional listening aptitude
  • Practice self-care
  • Gaining insight behind your actions and decisions
  • Refraining from passing judgment on others

Utilizing these strategies enables one to better assess situations holistically with a healthy dose of emotional awareness. Doing so ultimately improves critical thinking skills while fostering important relationships with those around you - both of which serve as great tools for continued success.

History of Emotional Intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence has been part of the conversation for centuries, but it wasn't until the late 20th century that it began to take shape as a formal and established field. While there are many theories about the origin and evolution of emotional intelligence, most scholars agree that its roots can be traced back to ancient Greece in the 5th century BC. At this time, philosophers such as Socrates and Aristotle wrote extensively on human emotions and their influence on decision-making.

Fast forward to the 1940s, when psychologist David Wechsler developed his performance IQ tests that took into account social skills, IQ scores began to reflect more than just intellectual capacities. These developments set off a wave of research about emotions and behavior which ultimately contributed to laying down foundational concepts for what would become known as emotional intelligence - understanding oneself and others' feelings enabling us better recognize how our own self-awareness informs other decisions we make in life.

It wasn't until 1995 when Daniel Goleman published his book "Emotional Intelligence" that this topic became popularized among academics and the public alike. In this landmark publication, Dr. Goleman argued that humans could extend their cognitive abilities beyond analytical facts by developing skills such as self-awareness, motivation, or empathy – key elements he called Emotional Intelligence (EI). Since then EI has become an integral part of the debate around leadership management practices with extensive evidence being available across several industries showing successful individuals have high levels of EI.

So, there you have it! It’s clear that emotional intelligence is a critical part of any person’s success. Developing and using it effectively can help you make informed decisions and take necessary precautions whenever appropriate. Utilize the tips above to get the most out of your emotional intelligence for future success! Good luck on your journey of self-improvement!

Additional Reading: