Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, interpret, demonstrate, control, and use emotions to communicate with and relate to others effectively and constructively. This ability to express and control emotions is essential, but so is the ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others.
This term was first used in 1985 by Wayne Payne and became popular in the 1990s.
Examples of emotional intelligence include:1
An ability to identify and describe what people are feeling
An awareness of personal strengths and limitations
Self-confidence and self-acceptance
The ability to let go of mistakes
An ability to accept and embrace change
A strong sense of curiosity, particularly about other people
Feelings of empathy and concern for others
Showing sensitivity to the feelings of other people
Accepting responsibility for mistakes
The ability to manage emotions in difficult situations
Researchers suggest that there are four different levels of emotional intelligence including emotional perception, the ability to reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotions, and the ability to manage emotions.2
Perceiving emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to perceive them accurately. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
Reasoning with emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.
Understanding emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of the person’s anger and what it could mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that they are dissatisfied with your work, or it could be because they got a speeding ticket on their way to work that morning or that they’ve been fighting with their partner.
Managing emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a crucial part of emotional intelligence and the highest level. Regulating emotions and responding appropriately as well as responding to the emotions of others are all important aspects of emotional management.
Emotional intelligence is crucial for remote professionals.
Being able to accept criticism and responsibility
Being able to move on after making a mistake
Being able to say no when you need to
Being able to share your feelings with others
Being able to solve problems in ways that work for everyone
Having empathy for other people
Having great listening skills
Knowing why you do the things you do
Not being judgemental of others
Emotional intelligence is essential for good interpersonal communication. Some experts believe that this ability is more important in determining life success than IQ alone. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to strengthen your own social and emotional intelligence.
Understanding emotions can be the
Tips for Improving EI
While some people might come by their emotional skills naturally, some evidence suggests that this is an ability you can develop and improve. For example, a 2019 randomized controlled trial found that emotional intelligence training could improve emotional abilities in workplace settings.3
Being emotionally intelligent is important, but what steps can you take to improve your own social and emotional skills? Here are some tips.
If you want to understand what other people are feeling, the first step is to pay attention. Take the time to listen to what people are trying to tell you, both verbally and non-verbally. Body language can carry a great deal of meaning. When you sense that someone is feeling a certain way, consider the different factors that might be contributing to that emotion.
Picking up on emotions is critical, but you also need to be able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes in order to truly understand their point of view. Practice empathizing with other people. Imagine how you would feel in their situation. Such activities can help you build an emotional understanding of a specific situation as well as develop stronger emotional skills in the long-term.
The ability to reason with emotions is an important part of emotional intelligence. Consider how your own emotions influence your decisions and behaviors. When you are thinking about how other people respond, assess the role that their emotions play.