Emotional Intelligence

DEC 19, 2020

In a world that continues to place undue importance on one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ), it is not often that one comes across its less well-known counterpart: Emotional Intelligence.

While the term had been making the rounds since the 1980s, it gained popularity in 1995, through a book of the same name written by science journalist, Daniel Goleman. It refers to one’s ability to understand and regulate one’s own emotions, as well as that of others. According to Goleman, Emotional Intelligence comprises five components:

Self Awareness: This refers to the degree to which we are aware of our own feelings and emotions, the ways in which it influences our values and goals, and the recognition of the fact that it impacts those around us.
Self Regulation: This refers to the degree to which we can manage our negative emotions and channelise them into positive avenues.
Social Skills: Goleman also includes the good social skills as a component of emotional intelligence, as it reflects on our ability to build and maintain relationships.
Empathy: This refers to our ability to be considerate and understanding, especial while taking important decisions.
Motivation: Goleman also specifies that the extent to which we are aware of what motivates us is also an important aspect of emotional intelligence.

While he states that everyone is born with different capacities with respect to emotional intelligence, each of the aforementioned factors have certain ‘emotional competencies’ which can be learned and developed over time.

Emotional Intelligence has also been explained by Peter Salovey and John Mayer, whose definition of the same is quite popular. The describe emotional intelligence by breaking it down into four abilities, which are as follows:

Perceiving Emotions: This not only refers to the ability to perceive one’s own emotions, but to also be capable of detecting the emotions of others through facial expressions, voice quality, and other gestures.
Using Emotions: An emotionally intelligent person is able to use their emotions to facilitate decision-making and problem-solving in positive ways.
Understanding Emotions: This indicates a higher level of emotional understanding as it requires the ability to understand the complexities of various emotions and the ways in which they interact with one another, and influence the thoughts and actions of an individual. It also makes one sensitive to subtle changes in emotions.
Managing Emotions: Much like Goleman’s self regulation, This refers to one’s ability to manage negative emotions in oneself and in others.

In other words, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to detect, understand, regulate and use emotions in positive and adaptive ways. Over the past few years, the importance of one’s Emotional Quotient (EQ) has been steadily rising, as opposed to one’s IQ. It has even made its way into requirements for recruitment, and for good reason. A good IQ may guarantee the knowledge and skills required to get the job done, however one’s ability to contribute productively hinges on a lot more than individual achievements. A good EQ ensures that the individual works well within a team and is considerate of the people they work with. This builds an environment that is more conducive to productivity and achievement. Above all, unlike IQ, EQ is something that one can constantly work on, and improve. Thus the slow shift away from IQ to EQ is not only a step in the right direction, it is also an important step for the survival of the world.