What Is Emotional Intelligence?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is about understanding feelings and controlling them when necessary. Instead of getting in the way of logical thinking Emotional Intelligence suggests that managing emotions actually makes us more resourceful.

Emotional intelligence emphasises that awareness, control and management of our emotions and the emotions of other people can improve our opportunities.

That's where the power of emotional intelligence lies: building the ability to control our emotions so we're not simply reacting to people or events around us. This means that when we say something or take action we know why we're doing it that way.

Other people also have emotions and feelings. Emotional intelligence helps us understand their behaviour and what they're thinking. As we grow in our ability to do this we become more able to influence the ways other people behave.

Origins of Emotional Intelligence

In 1995, Daniel Goleman wrote a book called ‘Emotional Intelligence’ which popularised the theory of emotional intelligence and made it practical to apply in our lives and work.

In the 20th Century academic intelligence was highly valued as the most important type of intelligence.

This was challenged in the decades before Goleman's book, resulting in a lot of research into different types of intelligence.

Two psychologists, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, first used the term ‘emotional intelligence’ in 1990. Salovey and Mayer said that emotional intelligence was about being aware of and controlling your own feelings and others’ feelings, and the ability to use this knowledge to control our reactions.


Find out more about Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman's application of emotional intelligence identifies four main areas of focus:

  1. Self Awareness
  2. Self Management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationship Management
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Know yourself and what you're feeling
It all starts with you! Identifying your feelings and recognising how situations make you feel is essential if you're going to manage your feelings effectively. If you're not able to do this you'll find that you're reacting to everything that happens around you.

What is Emotional Intelligence? Control your reactions
Okay, so you're aware of your emotions. Now you need to use this knowledge to control your reactions. After you learn that you can choose how you respond you realise that your behaviour doesn't need to depend on how you feel.

Becoming aware of this allows you to choose how you respond and express yourself. This is self management, managing how you respond in any situation.

What is Emotional Intelligence? Understand other people's feelings
Emotional intelligence is also about understanding another person’s feelings, their needs and what they are worried about. When you understand what other people are concerned about you are in a strong position to meet their needs.

The important word here is empathy - understanding someone else's point of view. Get this right and people will respond positively to you. Ignore it at your peril!

What is Emotional Intelligence? Communicate well and manage others
Stand up comedians, sales people, politicians, lawyers...these are examples of people who are masters at inspiring and influencing others. They do it by being aware of how people respond to them.

Then they say or do things that win others over to their way of thinking. Managing relationships is an essential component of emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence? Find out more...
According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence is made up of all the above abilities and is practically applied in business and in our personal lives.

The best part about emotional intelligence is that it can be learned, so be inspired and start building emotional intelligence right now. Follow this link to read more about emotional intelligence and learn practical methods to enhance your emotional intelligence today.

Learn more about developing YOUR emotional intelligence starting today.

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