Emotional intelligence, also known as the emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ) or emotional quotient (EQ), is the ability to perceive, control, and manage emotions. Although the term first appeared in 1964, it gained popularity in the 1995 best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, written by science journalist Daniel Goleman. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. Emotional intelligence helps build stronger relationships, increase performance at school and work, and achieve professional and personal goals. It can also help connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters the most. Since its popularization in recent decades, methods of developing EI have become widely sought by individuals seeking to become more effective leaders.
Mayer, Salovey and Caruso developed the four-branch ability model of emotional intelligence. They divide the abilities and skills of emotional intelligence into four areas –
The ability to perceive emotion
The ability to use emotion to facilitate thought
The ability to understand emotions
The ability to manage emotions
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five main components to it:
Self Awareness: Self-awareness refers to the capacity to recognize and understand emotions and how they can affect others. Self-awareness is associated with being open to different experiences and new ideas and learning from social interactions. It involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
Self Regulation: Self-regulation includes being flexible, coping with change, and managing conflict. It also refers to diffusing difficult or tense situations and being aware of how one’s actions affect others and taking ownership of these actions. It involves the appropriate expression of emotion.
Empathy: Empathy, or the ability to understand how others are feeling, is critical to emotional intelligence. This component enables an individual to respond appropriately to other people based on recognizing their emotions. Being empathetic also allows you to understand the power dynamics that often influence social relationships, especially in workplaces. It is vital for guiding your interactions with different people you encounter each day.
Social Skills: Social Skills refers to interacting well with other people. It involves applying an understanding of the emotions of ourselves and others to communicate and interact with others on a day-to-day basis. Different social skills include – active listening, verbal communication skills, non-verbal communication skills, leadership, and developing rapport.
Motivation: Motivation is another important emotional intelligence skill. Emotionally intelligent people are motivated by things beyond external rewards like fame, money, recognition, and acclaim. Instead, they have the desire to fulfil their own inner needs and goals. They seek internal rewards, experience flow from being totally in tune with activity, and pursue peak experiences. Those who are competent in this area tend to be action-oriented. They set goals, have a high need for achievement, and are always looking for ways to do better.
Ways to improve emotional intelligence:
Practice observing how you feel
Pay attention to how you behave
Take responsibility for your feelings
Take time to celebrate the positive
Acknowledge your emotional triggers
Today, studies show that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than IQ. Individuals can improve their emotional intelligence to live a successful life. Being emotionally intelligent is important to how you respond to what life gives us. It’s also an important component of compassion and understanding the deeper reasons behind other people’s actions.