Emotional intelligence: We all have different personalities

We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where emotional intelligence becomes important.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. Emotional intelligence also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.

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People with high emotional intelligence are usually successful in most things they do. Why? Because they’re the ones that others want on their team. When people with high EI send an email, it gets answered. When they need help, they get it. Because they make others feel good, they go through life much more easily than people who are easily angered or upset.


Emotional Intelligence refers to the array of personal-management and social skills that allows one to succeed in the work place and life in general.

Emotional intelligence (EI) describes the ability, capacity, skill or, in the case of the trait EI model, a self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups.

EQ encompasses intuition, character, integrity and motivation. It also includes good communication and relationship skills.

Managers know a great deal about the products or services that their organizations deliver to customers and their becoming more knowledgeable about the technology that puts their organizations into the market place of ideas. When it comes to issues involving individuals o groups, however many tend to fall short emotions and social skills don’t appear to be as important to success in our jobs as facts and figures and processes.

Interestingly, very little research has been done on the science of emotions in the past. In the last decade or so, the scientific and even business literature has been filled with new evidence explaining the neurophysiology and biochemistry of emotions and their roles in our profession and personal lives.

Cases studies of leaders and other successful people have added additional evidence to support the vital role of emotions in decision-making, leadership and success in life.

Aspects of Emotional intelligence

This is the essential premise of EQ: to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one’s own emotions, and those of other people. EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence:

Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behaviour and all.
Understanding others, and their feelings.
Emotional intelligence – the five domains
Goleman identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as:

Knowing your emotions.

Managing your own emotions.

Motivating yourself.

Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.

Managing relationships, ie., managing the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence embraces and draws from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Transactional Analysis, and empathy. By developing our Emotional Intelligence in these areas and the five EQ domains we can become more productive and successful at what we do, and help others to be more productive and successful too.

The process and outcomes of Emotional Intelligence development also contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organizations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony.

Framework of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:

personal competence – self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation

social competence – social awareness, social skills


Accurately knowing our own feelings, preferences, goals, and values; sensing how others feel about us, and using that information to guide our behavior.

Self-Awareness: People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident – because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control.

They’re also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of emotional intelligence.

2. Attitude=SELF-Confidence:

A “can-do” attitude, belief in ourselves; overcoming self-doubt and taking reasonable risk; being assertive and not aggressive; being goal directed; admitting mistakes and moving on.

3. Behaviour= SELF-Control:

Dealing well with stress; controlling emotional moods or out bursts without over control; being adaptable; balancing rational and emotional considerations.

This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity, and the ability to say no.

4. Attitude=Motivation:

Taking initiative; having a positive outlook; being creative; inspiring others; doing things we believe in and are committed to.

5. Knowledge=Empathy:

Easily reading and understanding others; having empathy; listening well; reading non verbal cues.

This is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious.

6. Behaviour = Social Competency:

Finding common ground to establish rapport and minimize conflict; persuading and influencing others; being likable and having positive relationships; having integrity.

It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

Models of Emotional Intelligence

There are three main models of EI:

Ability EI model

Mixed models of EI

Trait EI model

The ability EI model

According to Salovey and Mayer’s conception of EI strives to define EI “The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.”

The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:

Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts-including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.

Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.

Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.

Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

Mixed models of EI

The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman’s model outlines four main EI constructs:

Self-awareness – the ability to read one’s emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.

Self-management – involves controlling one’s emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

Social awareness – the ability to sense, understand, and react to others’ emotions while comprehending social networks.

Relationship management – the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict.

Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies. Goleman’s model of EI has been criticized in the research literature as mere “pop psychology”.

The trait EI model

Petrides and colleagues proposed a conceptual distinction between the ability based model and a trait based model of EI. Trait EI is “a constellation of emotional self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality”. In lay terms, trait EI refers to an individual’s self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. This definition of EI encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability based model which refers to actual abilities, which have proven highly resistant to scientific measurement. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework. An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy.

The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) vs. Intellectual Intelligence (IQ)

Most of us have learned not to trust our emotions. We’ve been told emotions distort the more “accurate” information our intellect supplies.

On the other hand, our abilities to memorize and problem-solve, to spell words and do mathematical calculations, are easily measured on written tests and slapped as grades on report cards. Ultimately, these intellectual abilities dictate which college will accept us and which career paths we’re advised to follow.

However, intellectual intelligence (IQ) is usually less important in determining how successful we are than emotional intelligence (EQ). We all know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful. What they are missing is emotional intelligence.

Guidelines for Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Guidelines for Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace – by Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman Promoting

Paving the way

assess the organization’s needs

assessing the individual

delivering assessments with care

maximising learning choice

encouraging participation

linking goals and personal values

adjusting individual expectations

assessing readiness and motivation for EQ development

Doing the work of change

foster relationships between EQ trainers and learners

self-directed chnage and learning

setting goals

breaking goals down into achievable steps

providing opportunities for practice

give feedback

using experiential methods

build in support

use models and examples

encourage insight and self-awareness

Encourage transfer and maintenance of change (sustainable change)

encourage application of new learning in jobs

develop organizational culture that supports learning

Evaluating the change – did it work?

evaluate individual and organizational effect

Skills for developing Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence consists of five key skills, each building on the last:

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 1: The ability to quickly reduce stress.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 2: The ability to recognize and manage your emotions.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 3: The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 4: The ability to use humor and play to deal with challenges.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 5: The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 1: Rapidly reduce stress

When we’re under high levels of stress, rational thinking and decision making go out the window. Runaway stress overwhelms the mind and body, getting in the way of our ability to accurately “read” a situation, hear what someone else is saying, be aware of our own feelings and needs, and communicate clearly.

The first key skill of emotional intelligence is the ability to quickly calm yourself down when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Being able to manage stress in the moment is the key to resilience. This emotional intelligence skill helps you stay balanced, focused, and in control-no matter what challenges you face.

Stress busting: functioning well in the heat of the moment

Develop your stress busting skills by working through the following three steps:

Realize when you’re stressed

Identify your stress response

Discover the stress busting techniques that work for you

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 2: Connect to your emotions

The second key skill of emotional intelligence is having a moment-to-moment awareness of your emotions and how they influence your thoughts and actions. Emotional awareness is the key to understanding yourself and others.

What kind of a relationship do you have with your emotions?

Do you experience feelings that flow, encountering one emotion after another as your experiences change from moment to moment?

Are your emotions accompanied by physical sensations that you experience in places like your stomach or chest?

Do you experience discrete feelings and emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, joy, each of which is evident in subtle facial expressions?

Can you experience intense feelings that are strong enough to capture both your attention and that of others?

Do you pay attention to your emotions? Do they factor into your decision making?

If any of these experiences are unfamiliar, your emotions may be turned down or turned off. In order to be emotionally healthy and emotionally intelligent, you must reconnect to your core emotions, accept them, and become comfortable with them.

Emotional intelligence skill (EQ) 3: Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is the third skill of emotional intelligence. This wordless form of communication is emotionally driven. It asks the questions: “Are you listening?” and “Do you understand and care?” Answers to these questions are expressed in the way we listen, look, move, and react. Our nonverbal messages will produce a sense of interest, trust, excitement, and desire for connection-or they will generate fear, confusion, distrust, and disinterest.

Part of improving nonverbal communication involves paying attention to:

Eye contact

Facial expression

Tone of voice

Posture and gesture


Timing and pace

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 4: Use humor and play to deal with challenges

Humor, laughter, and play are natural antidotes to life’s difficulties. They lighten our burdens and help us keep things in perspective. A good hearty laugh reduces stress, elevates mood, and brings our nervous system back into balance.

The ability to deal with challenges using humor and play is the fourth skill of emotional intelligence. Playful communication broadens our emotional intelligence and helps us:

Take hardships in stride.

Smooth over differences.

Simultaneously relax and energize ourselves.

Become more creative.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) skill 5: Resolve conflict positively

Conflict and disagreements are inevitable in relationships. The ability to manage conflicts in a positive, trust-building way is the fifth key skill of emotional intelligence. Successfully resolving differences is supported by the previous four skills of emotional intelligence. Once you know how to manage stress, stay emotionally present and aware, communicate nonverbally, and use humor and play, you’ll be better equipped to handle emotionally-charged situations and catch and defuse many issues before they escalate.

Tips for resolving conflict in a trust-building way:

Stay focused in the present.

Choose your arguments.


End conflicts that can’t be resolved.

Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

1. Become emotionally literate. Label your feelings, rather than labeling people or situations.

Use three word sentences beginning with “I feel”.

Start labeling feelings; stop labeling people & situations

“I feel impatient.” vs “This is ridiculous.” I feel hurt and bitter”. vs. “You are an insensitive jerk.”

“I feel afraid.” vs. “You are driving like an idiot.”

2. Distinguish between thoughts and feelings.

Thoughts: I feel like…& I feel as if…. & I feel that

Feelings: I feel: (feeling word)

3. Take more responsibility for your feelings.

“I feel jealous.” vs. “You are making me jealous.”

Analyze your own feelings rather than the action or motives of other people.

4. Use your feelings to help make decisions

“How will I feel if I do this?” “How will I feel if I don’t?”

“How do I feel?” “What would help me feel better?”

Ask others “How do you feel?” and “What would help you feel better?”

5. Use feelings to set and achieve goals

– Set feeling goals. Think about how you want to feel or how you want others to feel. (your employees, your clients, your students, your children, your partner)

– Get feedback and track progress towards the feeling goals by periodically measuring feelings from 0-10. For example, ask clients, students, teenagers how much they feel respected from 0 to 10.

6. Feel energized, not angry.

Use what others call “anger” to help feel energized to take productive action.

7. Validate other people’s feelings.

Show empathy, understanding, and acceptance of other people’s feelings.

8. Use feelings to help show respect for others.

How will you feel if I do this? How will you feel if I don’t? Then listen and take their feelings into consideration.

9. Don’t advise, command, control, criticize, judge or lecture to others.

Instead, try to just listen with empathy and non-judgment.

10. Avoid people who invalidate you.

While this is not always possible, at least try to spend less time with them, or try not to let them have psychological power over you.


The self-assessment checklist is based on the six-facets model of EI.


The Leadership assessment checklist is also a good source of information for personal growth. It is often helpful to compare the way we rate ourselves and the way others rate us on the very same items, but other people can only indirectly assess our “Self” competencies.


Our EI can be used to lead others, but it will take practice. EQ skills are extremely effect , we can all master them but first we must want to improve! Emotions are present in every aspect of our daily lives. The ways we use them will help them determine career success and effect all our relationships. It is critical that we learn self awareness, self confidence, self control, empathy, motivation, social competency and use then wisely.

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