Emotional Intelligence Essentials

Emotional Intelligence Essentials

High emotional intelligence is the foundation for productive harmony at work, successful relationships with colleagues, loved ones and friends, and ability to experience an inner feeling of emotional balance.

When people work well together, an organisation has the capacity to evolve from good to great. But the biggest roadblocks to productivity and delivering top results in the workplace are lack of trust, unresolved conflicts or disharmony, or individuals not understanding – or not caring – how their actions impact others.

IQ (intelligence quotient) is often measured, but emotional quotient or intelligence (EQ or EI) is rarely measured. Academics, Salovey and Mayer, coined the term ’emotional intelligence‘ back in 1990. Their definition? The ability to:

1. perceive emotions
2. use emotions
3. understand emotions
4. manage emotions.

The term became popularised with the publication in 1995 of Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, “Emotional Intelligence”.

Research shows:
• high-achievers display higher emotional intelligence than average performers

• if a manager has high EQ they’ll outperform their target by 20%

• If a salesperson is selected on EQ qualities, they’ll outperform their peers by 40%

• a business grows when leaders display constructive behaviours and high EQ

So what qualities indicate high emotional intelligence?

Knowing what you are feeling and why you are feeling it are attributes of emotional intelligence.

Also important is the ability to read the emotions and non-verbal cues of others. The Harvard ‘Reading the Eyes in the Mind’ test assesses how well you can accurately read,which emotion someone is experiencing by what you see in their eyes. 37 photos of pairs of eyes are presented, together with a list of four possible emotions e.g. ashamed, nervous, suspicious, indecisive.

The goal is to match the emotion with what you ‘read’ in their eyes. To try this test out for yourself, go to http://socialintelligence.labinthewild.org/mite/ If you are sensitive and responsive to people’s feelings you will be able to accurately read the emotions of people around you. That’s EQ.

Author Victor Frankl wrote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”
When a negative event happens to us, we can experience a knee-jerk reaction. Alternatively, we can pause a second to calmly reflect on the most appropriate response.
Mastery over one’s emotions and emotional response is how an emotionally intelligent person operates in the world. When you can reflect and consider before reacting, you are demonstrating high EQ.

Our moods and emotions influence how we view things. Isn’t it true that when we are in a positive mood we see things differently than when in a negative mood?

When a negative experience happens to an optimist, they view it as a temporary and one-off event. But for a pessimist, when a negative event happens, they regard it as permanent and universal. For example, you might hear a pessimist say, “That always happens to me”, or “I never get it right”.

Here’s an optimism/pessimism indicator quiz.

You gain weight over the holidays and you can’t lose it. What is your response, A or B?

A. Diets don’t work.
B. The diet I tried didn’t work.

If you answered B, ‘The diet I tried didn’t work’, you’ve taken an optimistic approach; failure is temporary. If your response is A, ‘Diets don’t work’, that’s how a pessimist views events; failure is permanent.

Are optimists happier in life?

Pessimists may argue that how they view the world is ‘realistic’. Perhaps optimists are under an illusion, but it can be argued they experience more joy in the moment.

Another indicator of high EQ is the ability to tolerate stress, and being slow to express frustration.

Four questions to ask yourself:
1. When treated in an unfair manner or not shown due respect or consideration, can I avoid becoming too angry or lashing out?

2. When bad things happen to me, can I maintain emotional equilibrium and stop myself from getting too down?

3. Can I prevent myself becoming overly worried about things?

4. When I do get upset, can I calm myself down and bounce back emotionally?

Staying emotionally buoyant is a sign of resilience; the ability to bounce back after an upset. A resilient person won’t catastrophise or view an inconvenience or disruption worse than it really is, on the scale of things.

‘Grant me the power to accept the things I can’t change; to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’

This is a saying used by 12-step recovery programs worldwide. To achieve this sort of clarity requires emotional intelligence.

Here’s the scenario. You are given a marshmallow, with the proviso . . . You can choose to eat it now. But if you can wait 15 minutes and not eat it, you’ll be given a second marshmallow.

Stanford University research showed that an indicator of future success in life was the ability to wait for the second marshmallow.[5] Other research by Dunedin University research connected childhood self-control with health and wealth vs. crime.

Quick question . . . could YOU wait for the second marshmallow?

In summary, an emotionally intelligent person is able to adjust their feelings, thoughts and behaviours to changing situations and conditions. They are open to different ideas and ways of doing things. They look on the brighter side of life and maintain a positive attitude even when times are tough. They are good at problem-solving, can identify problems, and generate and implement solutions.


Increase your self-awareness by:
• observing your reactions
• naming your emotions; ‘What am I feeling right now?’
• after a negative encounter, stop and reflect on what you are feeling and why
• listen to differences in your tone of voice when you are happy, stressed, tired, hungry.

Consider engaging a Brainpower Facilitator to have your people complete a psychometric test or personality profile such as:
• Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®
• Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument®
• Humm Emotional Intelligence

Each of these help one to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and assist you understand yourself, understand others.

Are you looking for an inspiring, entertaining and transformational Emotional Intelligence workshop or speaker for your next event? Contact us to discuss how we can help you ignite your team’s interpersonal skills, or visit our Emotional Intelligence training web page.