What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor and understand one's own emotions and those of others and recognise their true motivations, needs, intentions, and desires.
Developing emotional intelligence (or EQ for short) allows you to build strong long-term relationships with others, easily find common ground with all types of people, effectively manage a team and, consequently, get better results in both career and personal life. High emotional intelligence also allows for appropriate responses to stressful situations and easy conflict resolution, while low emotional intelligence exacerbates stress and reduces the quality of reactions to negative events. That is why all leadership involves an EQ skill, and the emotional intelligence of a leader is the key to success for the entire team in any field and niche.
Emotional intelligence structure
American psychologists J. Meyer and P. Salovey, who are among the founders of the modern EQ concept, identify the following four branches of emotional intelligence, which describe four areas of application of EQ skills:
- The ability to unmistakably capture, assess and express emotion;
- The ability to evoke feelings in oneself and others to make effective decisions;
- The capacity for emotional cognition and empathy;
- The ability to manage emotions and one's intellectual development.
The combination of all these skills constitutes emotional intelligence.
Models of emotional intelligence
In addition to J. Mayer and P. Salovey's structure, there are two other main models of emotional intelligence highlighted by other psychologists and researchers:
David Goleman’s Emotional intelligence theory. As the populariser of the concept of emotional intelligence and the one who brought the concept to business, Goleman added personality traits to the components of P. Salovey and J. Mayer. Thus, Goleman's theory identifies the following additional components of QI: self-awareness, self-control, relationship management and the ability to recognise motivation. It is these qualities and their development, according to Goleman, that allow a person to realise their emotional potential.
Reuven Bar-On's model. He strengthened the connection between emotional intelligence abilities and personality traits by adding the following components to the EQ structure: emotion awareness, self-esteem, self-actualisation, self-confidence, independence, social responsibility, empathy, flexibility, stress tolerance, interpersonal communication skills, and optimism.
Emotional intelligence in negotiation
Emotional intelligence is considered indispensable in business, career building and negotiation in particular because it allows you to:
- Understand what your partner wants and how to come to a mutually beneficial compromise with them;
- Keep your emotions under control and not be manipulated psychologically;
- Convince and approach your partner in case of resistance;
- Make the most profitable and accurate decisions in any situation, including stressful ones;
- Develop productive and strong relationships with a long-term perspective;
- Choose words, timing, and tone of communication carefully;
- Respond appropriately to provocations, rejections, or conflicts during the negotiation process.
Thus, the emotional intelligence of an executive is indispensable, which is why EQ training is in high demand today. Likewise, the development of emotional intelligence in children today occupies a special niche in education.
Emotional intelligence diagnostics
To diagnose your level of emotional intelligence, take a short quiz. Then, rate each of the statements reflecting different areas of your life. To do this, put a score opposite each statement based on your evaluation:
- Strongly disagree (-3 points);
- Largely disagree (-2 points);
- Partly disagree (-1 point);
- Partly agree (+1 point);
- Mainly agree (+2 points);
- Strongly agree (+3 points).
Here are the statements:
- I don't avoid negative emotions because they are as much a source of knowledge for me as positive ones.
- Negative emotions are useful because they help me understand what I need to change or correct.
- I am not subject to outside influence or pressure.
- I notice when my mood changes.
- I focus easily and take control of my emotions when required.
- I can evoke positive emotions such as joy or cheerfulness myself when needed.
- I keep track of how I feel and what I am experiencing.
- I don't take long to get over a failure, as I can eliminate negative emotions.
- I am good at listening to other people's problems.
- I don't replay my failures in my head and don't dwell on them.
- I always understand easily what the other person requires emotionally.
- I am good at calming and reassuring people.
- I don't vent my negative emotions on other people.
- I am good at assessing risks and emerging issues.
- If time permits, I sit down and analyse my negative emotions.
- I can calm down quickly after a stressful situation.
- To understand what another person is feeling, I only need to observe them for a little while.
- I am good at recognising emotions through facial expressions.
- Understanding my feelings helps me keep myself alert and productive.
- I am good at recognising and adopting other people's moods.
- I often get asked for advice about personal issues and relationships.
Add up your scores based on your answers to find your emotional intelligence quotient. For example, if your total score is 70 or more, you have a high level of intelligence. On the other hand, if your score is 40-59, you have an average level; if your score is 39 or less, you have a low level of EQ.
How to develop emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence exercises allow aiding in developing the emotional intelligence of adults and children. They are also relevant to preschool children because you can use them in the form of a game to facilitate learning.
Exercise ‘Vocabulary of emotions’
To make it easier for you to capture, track and recognise emotions, you must first learn to name them and understand how they differ from one another. To do this, get a special notebook and divide the five to seven basic emotions – fear, anger, joy, surprise, disgust, sadness, and shame – into more subtle and borderline emotions. For example, you could subdivide sadness into categories of “grief,” “longing,” “nostalgia,” “resentment,” “frustration,” etc.
Next to each emotion, write down what physical manifestations it has. To do this, remember what you feel when you experience these emotions. For example, if you feel hurt – a lump in the throat, a burning sensation in the chest, watery eyes, etc. Then write down the situations in which you express these emotions. For instance, a situation of resentment is when a friend refuses to go to the cinema.
This “dictionary” is not filled in one day – it will take time to compile detailed descriptions of the emotions and add to them. If you suddenly discover an emotion whose name you don't know, make up your own and observe other emotions with which it overlaps.
In Psychology, there is such a definition as “calibration”. It means the reading of an interlocutor's external cues to determine their emotional state without words. For example, if someone slams the door loudly when leaving the office, this person is most likely angry. This exercise aims to observe such details over one week, selecting one or two people as objects for observation. Watch for changes in their emotions and what physical signs they exhibit in gestures, facial expressions, gait, tone of voice, etc. Ask yourself regularly when observing: “What is this person feeling right now?” “What do you call these emotions?” Try to write down or even sketch the person's posture and facial expressions when a new feeling arises that you have not previously traced.
Exercise ‘Emotion diary’
An effective way to increase emotional intelligence is to keep a journal and record all the emotions you experience. This exercise is an excellent complement to the first one (the emotion map). We recommend that you make writing in a diary a daily ritual, tying it to a specific time. The best time to do this is in the evening, when you can quietly write down all the important events that happened to you during the day. You can also use the 'here and now' diary when you are faced with particularly strong emotions and want to take a break to get them under control.
You can write down your emotions in any wording you like. For example, “I was in a great mood this morning, but after someone stepped on my foot on the bus, I was angry and irritable until lunchtime. Then I ate my favourite sandwich and felt satisfied.”
Another versatile way to boost emotional intelligence is to take a special course, training, or read relevant books, which are also available online.