What is Emotional Intelligence?

Logic is part of the human brain’s natural capacity. Problem solving, spatial reasoning & math are different forms of logic our brains are capable of. The better you are at these and other areas of thinking, the more ‘intelligent’ experts will say you are. The aspect which is represented by these capabilities is IQ and it’s measured by IQ tests that determine your level of logical intelligence.

Apart from this, there’s a different kind of intelligence that is equally important. Emotional intelligence has to do with how we interact with other human beings. It’s about empathy, compassion, communication, leadership skills, relationships, and more. When it comes to these aspects of feeling, logic doesn’t play a huge role. The aspect we focus on here is emotional intelligence; or EQ.

The same way your IQ can be measured, so too can your EQ be determined through various assessments. Your emotional state of mind can be dissected and analysed so thoroughly, that experts can now tell you whether or not you have a propensity to get along with your work colleagues, your family and even your partner. Let’s take a quick look at why it’s important to be curious about your EQ.


Why should you care about your EQ?

So you may be wondering why emotional intelligence is something you should care about. How does it affect you and why should you take note of it? The answer is simple. Every human being has an inclination toward relationships. Some of us enjoy being alone more than others; but all of us need some form of companionship in our lives.

You and I cannot avoid working with people. As a society, we are all interwoven with each other. More than that, we need each other. Daily tasks force us to deal with people. Even going to a shop requires this skill and you can’t learn anything unless you form a relationship with your teacher. Interaction with other human beings is an exchange of questions, ideas and personalities.

For this reason, recognising your own EQ—and the EQ of others—puts you in a position where relationships can be better understood. This will help you to connect with people on a deeper level. Once you achieve this connection your nature and approach to life are impacted. Your career, your family life and your friendships will begin to thrive. EQ is the door to understanding the people around you. You can also apply these skills to try improve other people’s understanding of you.
Who discovered the concept of EQ?

In 1989, Stanley Greenspan, a psychiatric professor, suggested that people could be emotionally intelligent. His theory suggested that this category of intelligence was independent from logical intelligence and that the two were in fact mutually exclusive.

The phrase ‘Emotional Intelligence’ was coined by other experts such as Peter Salovey and John Mayer. Only in 1995 however, was the term popularised by Daniel Goleman. Goleman wrote a book called “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ”. The public took instant notice of how important EQ was and how it affected their day-to-day lives, their careers, and their relationships.

Daniel Goleman’s book speaks at length about what emotional intelligence is, how it is developed in children, and how it affects our everyday lives. When people started to realise that EQ was a real phenomenon which was affecting them without them even realising it, the idea influenced how people approached life and relationships. Today, emotional intelligence is a measuring tool used by managers, personnel agents and even dating sites. It’s all about measuring your emotional potential for the purpose of highlighting your strengths and areas for development. Knowing what you’re good at and what you struggle with will enable these entities to place you in more compatible positions and situations. It’s a powerful concept which is changing the way we do business.


What distinguishes EQ from IQ?

Since we’re talking about two different types of intelligence here, it’s important for us to distinguish between the two. You’ll find it interesting how different these two ways of thinking are. When it comes to logical thinking and emotional thinking it’s a case of reason versus passion. Both are important, so let’s see how you can recognise each one respectively.


  • Logical thinking

People who think in a severely logical way can come across as cold and robotic. They are extremely good at solving problems, carrying out instructions and organising information. Logical thinkers prefer to have a task presented to them in an organised, step-by-step format. They will listen closely to what you want done, how you want it done and when it needs to be completed.


  • Emotional thinkers

Emotional intelligence opens up a different way of thinking. These people are more relationship orientated and will be more inclined to look at a task close up. Emotional thinkers are more interested in the ‘why’ of a task rather than the ‘what’, ‘when’ & ‘how’. They take initiative and sometimes go off track to reach a more creative outcome.

A balance of both types of intelligence is important. People who are too logical may struggle with relationships, while people who are not logical enough will seem whimsical and easily distracted. Emotional intelligence does seem to have a bigger impact though, especially in the work place. Why? Think of someone who can’t work well with other people. This person will inevitably begin to dislike his or her job and alienate themselves from others. Low emotional intelligence will also impede a person’s ability to work in a team, which is an important aspect to many businesses.


How can EQ be measured?

The best way to measure someone’s emotional intelligence is to ask them questions about themselves. These questions can be broken down into five main categories—although there are a lot of different tests out there which each utilise their own respective systems.

Emotional intelligence tests will focus on the following aspects of your personality:

  • Trust
  • Personal growth
  • Relationships
  • Communication
  • Leadership

The following types of questions (and subsequent similar ones) may be asked to establish these aspects:

  • Trust: “Do you get the impression that the people in your life trust you?”
  • Personal growth: “How do you handle new challenges in the work place?”
  • Relationships: “Do people open up to you freely or do they seem guarded around you?”
  • Communication: “How do you handle conflict in the work place?”
  • Leadership: “How would you handle a situation where a person under your management didn’t deliver a task you gave them?”

The feedback gives the questioner in-depth knowledge into the way the subject thinks and acts in various situations. The subject will obtain an overall EQ score which will determine whether or not he or she is compatible with the position in question.


The important role of EQ in the workplace

Emotional intelligence will affect the way you work with others, the way you lead, and the way you grow within a company. Because of this, companies are beginning to evaluate their applicants’ emotional intelligence before offering them jobs. There’s a good reason to do this: productivity. The better suited an applicant is to a position, the more productive they will be during their time there.

There are a number of employee performance aspects which are important to managers. Each one is directly related to emotional intelligence, which is why they will measure this before employing or promoting someone. Let’s look at five of these aspects.


  • Leadership skills

Emotionally intelligent people are good at leading others. That’s because they are able to connect with people on a personal level, which generates loyalty, respect and trust.


  • Working well with others

Because people with high EQ connect so well with others, they are able to form a synchronicity as a team. When a team works well together, productivity soars. Productivity is unavoidably reliant on how well employees get on with each other. If there’s hostility or indifference in the workplace, work will take longer to get done and conflict will get in the way of daily tasks.


  • Drive & ambition

Emotionally intelligent people enjoy being challenged. They see these challenges as opportunities to shine. By overcoming challenges and constantly learning, individuals can be promoted within the company and become indispensable assets.


  • Conflict resolution

People with low EQ will usually shy away from conflict or react aggressively when challenged or criticised. This can be due to an inability to communicate well or work through inner conflicts brought about by self-doubt. This means that problems—especially relationship problems—never get resolved. In contrast, people who are emotionally intelligent will meet conflict head on and handle it in a productive way towards eventual resolution.


  • Honesty & reliability

Workers with high EQ have a natural empathy for others. This motivates them to think twice before coming to work late, ignoring tasks or betraying someone’s trust. Trust in a company is invaluable, and employees who can be trusted will go far within a large corporation.

To sum it up; EQ is vital to career success. Companies don’t want temporary workers who dislike their jobs and their colleagues. They want natural born leaders who grab each day by the horns and make the most of their day.


How EQ affects other aspects of your life

EQ also plays a major role outside of the workplace. Our relationships are unavoidably affected by the level of EQ we possess. In the same manner that our regular intelligence can be worked on, our emotional intelligence can be improved too. This will take time, effort and guidance. Why is this worth doing? Let’s look at some of the areas in our lives which will be affected when we aim to improve our emotional intelligence.


  • Romantic relationships

Knowing who you are and how you relate to others is a major factor in making your relationship with your partner work. In fact, if you aren’t able to connect on some level with other human beings, you’ll probably never get to the point of allowing someone into your life and starting a life with them. Even after this does happen, staying with the same person for the rest of your life takes work, commitment, understanding, compromise and trust. All these aspects are intrinsically connected to the EQ of both people involved.


  • Parenting

Children require a lot of patience, compassion and guidance. Kids also need their own emotional intelligence cultivated; and it takes an emotionally intelligent parent to make it happen. Parents with high EQs tend to make excellent parents because they are great communicators, effective leaders, and resourceful teachers.


  • Friendships

Very few people have more than two or three real friends that they can count on in any situation. Cultivating real friendships is often a lifelong process—and a lot can go wrong in one lifetime. With good conflict resolution abilities, excellent listening skills, and true compassion, friendships can grow to become your support system and benefit your life. Emotionally intelligent people not only find it easy to make friends, but they are experts at retaining them too.


Cultivating an EQ culture at work and at home

Daniel Goleman’s book is full of useful advice on how to recognise emotional intelligence in ourselves and in others. He also teaches how important it is to cultivate emotional intelligence in children from as young an age as possible. More than that, Goleman also emphasises how important EQ is in the workplace. Since his book was published in 1995, many people have taken note of his advice and created a culture of EQ recognition in their lives and businesses.


Today, emotional intelligence can be recognised, measured and cultivated. This is for the benefit of people and businesses.  If you haven’t yet taken note of your own EQ and that of the people you surround yourself with, do so now. It’s a journey well worth taking. Now that you know the basics, you can incorporate it into your life through study and practice.