Emotion Intelligence (EQ) is not a new concept. Two psychologists – Jack
Mayer, Ph.D. of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey, Ph.D. of
Yale University were the first to coin the term in 1989.
The Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto explains:
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and
generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional
knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and
intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).
Daniel Goleman is the new father of EQ. His book Emotional Intelligence
explains how emotionally intelligent people are really good at handling
themselves and relationships.
Here’s what happens when you become Emotionally Intelligent:
1. You will use your head and heart to solve problems.
Emotional Intelligence isn’t the triumph of heart over head, it’s the
combination of the two. Emotional intelligent people are able to use and
regulate emotions in order to solve problems. Some would even argue that EQ is
now more important that IQ. Being smart does not necessarily translate into
2. You will have self-awareness when you’re emotionally Intelligent.
Self-awareness is knowing what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling that
way. It’s about being switched on to what’s going on during an emotional
situation. Knowing where feelings are coming from, and helping to figure out
how to work through them is an important part of behaving in an emotionally
intelligent manner. When we’re upset or overwhelmed for unforeseen reasons, it
makes it more challenging to overcome the problem — it’s like going somewhere
new without a map.
3. You will have strong self-management skills.
Self-management in emotionally intelligent people refers to the ability to
regulate emotions. It’s knowing when being emotional is resourceful and when it
can be harmful. Some of us wear our heart on our sleeves, which is not
necessarily a bad thing, but you’re far more likely to get burned out if you
always operate in this way. Some situations call for a big, sobbing cry and
other times it’s best to keep it to yourself. Having strong self-management
skills is knowing the time and place for emotions.
4. You will be a good leader.
Leaders who don’t lead with their heart are rigid. Daniel Goleman explains:
The CEO of one of the world’s largest money management firms was puzzled. He
wanted to know why there was a Bell curve for performance among his employees,
with a few outstanding, most in the middle, and a few poor. After all, he hired
only the best and brightest graduates from the top schools – shouldn’t they all
That same puzzle was explored in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller David and
Goliath, which I recently read. Malcolm was befuddled by the finding that many
of those in the mid to low achievement spectrum of Ivy League schools did not
turn out to be world leaders – despite their SAT scores being higher than even
the best students at the so-so colleges, who fared better.
Gladwell and that CEO share a certain muddle in their reasoning: they
assumed that academic abilities should predict how well we do in life. They
5. You will be empathetic.
Empathy is your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Having
empathy as an emotionally intelligent person allows you to step outside of
yourself and see another person’s perspective.Psychcentral.com says that
empathy is a skill that is learned.
By the time a child is about 4 years old, he begins to associate his
emotions with the feelings of others.
Empathy is learned through interactions and play when we are young. Dr
Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play, was a young
professor of psychiatry at Baylor University in Texas when he overheard a live
radio broadcast of gunshots occurring during the Charles Whitman massacre in
1966. He was studying aggression and was told by his boss to begin researching
why Whitman committed this heinous crime.
Brown and his team reconstructed Whitman’s life in great detail and over the
course of his research Brown became fascinated with the importance of play and
the overwhelming connection of lack of play across several other young
homicidal men. They all had dysfunctional childhoods, histories of abuse,
and/or exposure to abuse, and/or overbearing fathers/ carers.
6. You will have impressive social skills.
Having impressive social skills as an emotionally intelligent person isn’t
all about being extroverted. Understanding your audience and your environment
takes great skill when navigating a social setting. Possessing qualities of an
ambivert will allow you to assess the situation and call on the necessary
approach to achieve social success. Through acting like an ambivert, you’ll be
a great communicator, be good at conflict resolution and work well in a team.
Knowing who you’re interacting with and what their needs are shows acceptance
and respect, allowing you to make lots of friends and influence people.
7. You will be gritty.
Grit is a relatively new concept researched by Angela Lee Duckworth. She
explains in her TED Talk that IQ no longer measures success in students; it’s
Grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for
a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to
achieve their respective objective.
Watch her talk here: The key to success? Grit.
Forbes.com describes the five characteristics of grit as courage,
contentiousness, resilience, follow-through and excellence.
8. You will be resilient.
Resilience is our ability to bounce back from hard times. It doesn’t mean
turning your cheek to challenging times, it means embracing difficult emotions
and using them as an opportunity to grow. Martin Seligman, the father of
Positive Psychology, explains the difference between Post Traumatic Stress and
Post Traumatic Growth in thisHarvard Business Review podcast.