Emotional Intelligence: Not Total BS


Recently I had the opportunity to spend a day in an Emotional Intelligence workshop. Emotional Intelligence (known as EQ) is a term used to describe a person’s ability or skill in recognizing and managing his or her own emotions, as well as those of others. Before the workshop, participants took a test to determine our personal EQ.

I did not score well. Abysmal in fact. My score was so low that I immediately started reading the book Working With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. According the book, my low score indicated I am severely socially inept, virtually friendless, and unable to keep a job.

Not true.

I took some more tests online and got vastly different scores for each. Depending on who you asked, I was totally clueless or highly skilled in the art of managing myself and others. I went to the workshop confused and of the opinion that this whole EQ business was essentially BS.

The EQ Model

As I learned, there are some different schools of thought out there, but the model we used in the workshop contained four components:

  1. Self Awareness – perceiving one’s own emotions as they occur, recognizing the primal, physical responses to stimuli
  2. Self-management — controlling one’s own emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances
  3. Social awareness — the ability to sense, understand, and react to others’ emotions 
  4. Relationship management – the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others

As we broke it down, things started to make more sense. I was able to identify the areas I’m stronger in, versus those that could use a little help. And I realized it’s not all about holding hands and singing Kumbyah.

Change of Heart

The biggest impression the day made on me was when we were asked to think of a person who brought out the best in us. We all wrote down qualities that person possessed, or behaviors they displayed. Here’s our collective list:

  • placed trust
  • used rewards
  • had high expectations
  • saw potential and expressed that
  • gave responsibility
  • positive
  • calm
  • gave opportunities to practice, even fail
  • didn’t request things they wouldn’t do themselves
  • provided friendly competition
  • supportive and caring
  • genuine
  • gave honest feedback
  • communicated well
  • listened well
  • showed confidence in self and others

THAT’S emotional intelligence, no matter what you call it. So whatever score you might receive on any test, work toward mastering that list and you’ll lead anyone – and everyone!

Image Credit: lumaxart, Flickr