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Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is awareness of your own feelings and those of others, regulating these feelings in yourself and others, using emotions that are appropriate to the situation, self-motivation, and building relationships (Jensen, 2012). Emotional Intelligence is based on the connection between what you see and what you do with yourself and others.



  • Your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations.
  • Staying on top of your typical reactions to specific events, challenges, and people. A keen understanding of your tendencies is important; it helps you quickly discern your emotions.
  • A willingness to tolerate the discomfort of focusing on feelings that may be negative.
Self-awareness is not…
  • About discovering deep, dark secrets or unconscious motivations, but, rather, it comes from developing a straightforward and honest understanding of what makes you tick.


  • What happens when you act – or do not act. It is dependent on your self-awareness and is the second major part of personal competence.
  • Your ability to use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively. This means managing your emotional reactions to situations and people.

Some emotions create a paralyzing fear that makes your thinking so cloudy that the best course of action escapes you.

  • In these cases, self-management is revealed by your ability to tolerate uncertainty as you explore your emotions and options.
  • Once you understand and build comfort with what you are feeling, the best course of action will show itself


Listening and Observing
  • Listening and observing are the most important elements of social awareness.
  • To listen well and observe what’s going on around us, it’s important to:
    • Stop talking
    • Stop the monologue that may be running through our minds
    • Stop anticipating the point the other person is about to make
    • Stop thinking ahead to what we are going to say next
It takes practice to be Socially Aware:
  • Really watch people as you interact with them and get a good sense of what they are thinking and feeling.
  • Spot and understand people’s emotions while you’re right there in the middle of it – a contributing, yet astutely aware, member of the interaction.


  • Your ability to use your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. This ensures clear communication and effective handling of conflict.
  • The bond you build with others over time. People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those they are not fond of.


  • Observe the ripple effect from your emotions
  • Lean into your discomfort
  • Keep a journal about your emotions
  • Spot your emotions in books, movies, and music
  • Seek feedback
  • Smile and laugh more
  • Set aside some time in your day for problem solving
  • Take control of your self-talk
  • Practice the art of listening
  • Go people watching
  • Greet people by name
  • Watch body language
  • Plan ahead for social gatherings
  • Clear away the clutter
  • Take feedback well
  • Build trust
  • Have an “open-door” policy
  • Explain your decisions, don’t just make them
  • Make your feedback direct and constructive
  • Align your intention with your impact


Jensen, K. (April 12, 2012). Intelligence is overrated: What you really need to succeed. Forbes. 

Gilkey, R., Caceda, R., & Kilts, C. (September 2010). When emotional reasoning trumps IQ. Harvard Business Review.

EQ is a Must Have for Leader Success

“Emotional intelligence, not knowledge, education or experience, is the key driver in leader success. To excel in personal competence, one must exercise high levels of self-awareness and self-management. To achieve at high levels in the area of social competence, one must be skilled in social awareness and relationships management. Gaps in any of these 4 EQ skill areas could contribute to individual performance gaps that will negatively impact employee engagement and organizational results.”

Source: Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

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