EI (E-I-O?)

Increasing your Emotional Intelligence

Your Emotional Intelligence (EI) relates to how aware you are of your feelings and actions and how they affect those around you.

People with high ‘EQ’ value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathise with them; they pick up on how others are feeling and understand how to manage their own emotions ad behaviours so that they can manage relationships effectively.

Many people now believe EI is at least as important as general intelligence and are using EI testing to help determine who they should hire and promote.

Managing people and relationships are key skills for leaders in all industries which makes it a great skill to practice if you want to demonstrate your leadership potential to others.

EI is thought to be made up of three key skills:

  1. Emotional awareness – the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others
  2. The ability to harness emotions – applying them to tasks including thinking and problem solving
  3. The ability to manage emotions – including regulating your own emotions and cheer up or calm down another person

People with high EI levels tend to be successful. After all, who would you rather work with – someone who is always losing their temper and panics at the first sign of a challenge, or someone who is calm, empathetic and able to manage their own emotions to ensure the job gets done?

Daniel Goleman popularised the concept of EI in a series of successful books he authored on the subject. He developed a framework of five elements that he believes define emotionally intelligent people:

  1. Self-Awareness – They understand their emotions and they don’t let their feelings get the better of them. They know their strengths and work on their weaknesses.
  2. Self-Regulation – They are able to control their emotions and behaviours.
  3. Motivation – They are highly motivated individuals that are not deterred by challenge.
  4. Empathy – Identify with and understand the wants, needs, and views of those around them.
  5. Social Skills – They are able to talk to and get on with others easily and build strong relationships.

The great news is EI can be learned and developed. Try keeping a journal for a few weeks. Each day note down your observations on:

  • How you react to people
  • How you behave at work
  • How you respond to challenging situations
  • Whether you take responsibility for your actions
  • How your actions impact on the people around you
  • How motivated you feel
  • The emotions you felt and how you handled them