What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why Is It An Important Skill?

what is emotional intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence? Emotional Intelligence is your superpower to understand what others are feeling as well as your capacity to manage your behavior around them for successful relationships. So can you grow your emotional intelligence? Let’s find out!

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the intellectual power to identify and manage the emotions of others, as well as our own, and act tactfully in social situations. Although it is a fairly new practice to consider emotional intelligence (EI) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) as essential soft skills in corporate industries, the concept has been floating around since 1997, when John Mayer and Peter Salovey, two notable American psychologists first coined the term.

The American Psychological Association (APA) identifies Emotional Intelligence as ‘’a type of intelligence that involves the ability to process emotional information and use it in reasoning and other cognitive activities..’’.

Say your friend sends you a message on Friday night inviting you for lunch the following afternoon. You notice that she has made the plan at the 11th hour, giving you a very short notice, and she doesn’t even want to hang out after lunch. You deduce that her original plan must have got canceled or she just needs a company before her actual plan starts. You politely decline the offer by feigning an excuse but don’t give in to the temptation of confronting her directly. You read between the lines, identified the emotion, and managed your response well. This behavior on your part goes to show that you have a high level of emotional intelligence.

What Are Emotional Intelligence Skills?

According to the Mayer Salovey Model, an emotionally intelligent person is skilled in 4 areas:

1. Identifying Emotions

The first step for effective emotion management is to accurately identify emotions. An emotionally intelligent person is not only aware of their own thought processes, but can successfully pick up verbal and non-verbal cues to decode the emotions of others. A smile, a pause in dialogue, voice modulation, enunciation, all are emotional codes that need to be interpreted correctly for successful communication.

2. Using Emotions

The next step in the process is to use emotional signals to facilitate our thinking and cognitive activities. Once an individual with high EQ, identifies emotions, they use this emotional information to analyze and rationalize their decision-making processes. All our reasoning, problem-solving, and other high-level cognitive processes are influenced by how we use emotions.

3. Understanding Emotions

Here comes the tricky part. We all understand emotions, right? How difficult could it be? Think again! Our emotions change over time and all emotions are related to each other. One might get upset by getting a speeding ticket and project their frustration on someone else. An emotionally intelligent person successfully reads into the matter, understands where the emotion is misplaced, and responds accordingly.

Related: How to Better Understand Your Emotions and Be In Touch with Them

4. Regulating Emotions

This part of emotion management is considered to be of the highest importance. Properly responding to emotional triggers, both internal and external, depends on how well you identify, process, and understand emotional data. If you can regulate and manage emotions well, you will be able to understand and predict others’ behaviors, as well as have a better handle on your own feelings. As a result, you will ace all social situations and have exceptional interpersonal skills.

Goleman’s Model & Components Of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman, who popularized Emotional Intelligence in his several books, has linked Emotional Intelligence with leadership qualities. He extended Mayer and Salovey’s original model by formulating 5 components that constitute Emotional Intelligence:

1. Self-Awareness

This essentially means being aware of your own feelings and thought processes and realizing their impact on others. Going beyond merely identifying one’s emotions, as suggested by Mayer and Salovey, this particular tenet emphasizes acknowledging the effects that one’s emotions may have on others and taking full responsibility for them.

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Rose Burke

Hi everyone! I am a wandering soul trying to find my way in this matrix. I am into literature, movies, psychology, occult, tarot, mysticism, and all that jazz. I am an ambivert, love traveling and making new friends, yet very selective about who gets access into my energy bubble. Love pets, foods, rainy days, ghost stories, chocolate, and cancelled plans. Live and let live is my motto.View Author posts