Did you know that for most people, emotional intelligence is more important than one’s intelligence in attaining success in not only their lives but careers as well? As individuals a lot of our success depends on our ability to read other people’s signals and react appropriately to them.
“Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them.”
– Howard Gardner, Harvard theorist
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)? Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, leading researchers on EI, defined emotional intelligence as the “ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional meanings, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote both better emotion and thought.”
“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
– Dr. Daniel Goleman, Ph.D, Psychologist
Breaking down Emotional Intelligence. Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional intelligence and proposed a model that identified four different factors of emotional intelligence.
- Perceiving Emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to accurately perceive them.
- Reasoning with Emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity.
- Understanding Emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger and what it might mean.
- Managing Emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence.
Travis Bradberry, in his Forbes article titled “Emotional Intelligence – EQ” uses the below graphic by TalentSmart to explain that emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.
As described by Travis Bradberry, personal competence is made up of your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior. Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships.
For a more thorough and interesting overview of Emotional Intelligence, check out Travis Bradberry published Forbes article by clicking here.
Want to see more-or-less how emotionally intelligent you are? Take a short quiz provided by psychology.about.com to find out! Emotional Intelligence Quiz
Lastly, the “Emotional ID and You” infographic provided by eleraninginfographics.com created by the University of Maryland dives deeper into what emotional intelligence entails as well as why it’s important in the workplace.
Reference: Meyer, J.D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is Emotional Intelligence? In P. Salovey & D.J. Slyter (Eds.) Emotional Development and Emotional Intellgence. New York: Basic Books.