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Emotional Intelligence: 10 Things You Must Know

Emotional Intelligence: 10 Things You Must Know
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the ability of individuals to recognize their own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. The term gained prominence in the 1995 book authored by EI.Goleman.

Ten quick points on EI:

  • Emotions are contagious, they spread and we tend to catch them.
  • Emotions start very early. Even children learn how to differ their own with that of others. We all learn how to experience them and react as per a situation and our natural temperaments.
  • Research indicates that changes in one’s body can change emotions. We can change our own sense of power, likings, confidence, and awareness by changing our bodies. The fitter our bodies the fitter our emotions are.
  • We are guided by our emotions so we must be careful to distinguish them.
  • They aren’t times when we do not hold an emotion, they are a result of our bodies secreting hormones and we therefore experience sensations called emotions.
  • Emotions have a deep impact on our personal and work life. They guide health, relationships and our financial being. Our emotional quotient responds to stimuli we receive from people in our course of life, it is better to have a decent emotional quotient to balance career and personal pursuits.
  • Emotions condition our minds to see things in a certain manner. If we are happy we see the world happy and it reinforces happiness further.
  • Emotional intelligence can be learnt and acquired; brain elasticity is bringing breakthrough strategies and processes.
  • Mind, Body, Language and Emotions are all bonded together. This is not new.
  • Emotional Intelligence is a very significant aspect in world class leaders. It is studied that people with high EI have greater mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills. For example, Goleman’s research in his book, working with Emotional Intelligence, indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.

The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on Emotional Intelligence as a wide array of learned competencies and skills and not merely as innate talents, hence these competencies are acquired to drive leadership performance.

Goleman's model outlines five main EI constructs which every leader must work on:

  • Self-awareness: the ability to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives values and goals and recognizes their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  • Self-regulation: involves controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  • Social skill: managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
  • Empathy: considering other people's feelings especially when making decision
  • Motivation: being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.