Emotional Intelligence

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Ram Narayanan


Learning & Development Manager

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is a term created by two researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer .

EI as the ability to:

  • Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions
  • Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others


Understanding yourself and others can help you  and direct the personal shifts you’ll experience as a person.


But how can you actually deepen your knowledge of your own and others’ motivations, strengths, and weaknesses? One way is through strengthening and using your emotional intelligence—a combination of self-management skills and the ability to work with others.


People should  understand that the chemical responses we all experience under pressure, and how that can limit our ability to think cognitively, and move us towards our default behaviors during what is called an “amygdala hijack”, where this more primitive part of our brain can literally hijack our thinking mind.

Emotional intelligence (EI) comprises five components, as shown in the table below:

Components of Emotional Intelligence
Skill Definition Example
1. Self- awareness Knowing and being willing to talk about your weaknesses You work poorly under tight deadlines, so you plan your time carefully—and explain to colleagues why you’re careful about your schedule.
2. Self- regulation Having the ability to control your impulses and channel them for good purposes Your group stumbles during an important presentation. Instead of kicking over a chair or glaring angrily at everyone, you take time to assess the situation. You acknowledge the failure, consider possible reasons for it, then call your team together, offer your feelings, and work together to learn from the mistakes.
3. Motivation Being motivated by an internal drive to achieve, not by external rewards You seek out creative challenges, love to learn, and take great pride in a job well done. You also constantly explore new and better approaches to your work.
Skill Definition Example
4. Empathy Taking others’ feelings into account when making decisions You assign one direct report to a prize project, leaving others disappointed. You take the feelings of the unhappy ones into account and find ways to treat everyone fairly in the long run.
5. Social skill Building rapport with others, inspiring them to cooperate, and moving them in the direction you desire You’re convinced that your company’s future lies with the Internet. You find like-minded people and use your social skill to stitch together a virtual community of support cutting across levels, functions, and divisions. You use this de facto team to create a prototype of an innovative corporate Web site, and you recruit people from various company units to represent your firm at an important Internet industry convention.


Strengthen your emotional intelligence

It is possible to strengthen your emotional intelligence. However, experts advise against using traditional management-training programs to do so. Instead, they recommend that you do the following:

  • Gather feedback from colleagues to shed light on which of your EI skills most need improvement.
  • Practice new EI behaviors as often as possible; for example, remind yourself to express anger or frustration in new, more productive ways (like taking a brisk walk) than you have in the past.
  • Make a personal commitment to developing your EI.

Like other forms of professional development, enhancing your EI takes effort, time, and patience. However, the investment will pay big dividends. One global food and beverage company discovered this first-hand—when managers who worked to develop their EI outperformed their own yearly earnings goals by 20%.

Clearly, strengthening your EI can help you become a more effective manager and directly affect your company’s bottom line.

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