Emotional Intelligence: Do You Have It?

emotional-intelligence-eqEmotional intelligence (also know as EI or EQ) is the capacity to know, understand, and manage one’s feelings and the feelings of others. The term was first used by psychologists in the 1980s, although aspects of EQ had been described earlier. There is disagreement over whether EQ is an actual form of intelligence and how it can be measured, or if it is simply a personality trait or learned skill.

Author and psychologist Daniel Goleman was at the forefront of EQ’s global popularization with his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence. In the international bestseller he argues that EQ is a vital human skill that helps in nearly every area of life. He says that IQ is not all that a person needs to be successful and may not even be the most important; the rational and emotional support each other to form what we know as intelligence.

A person is born with a general emotional intelligence that largely determines their ability to further learn and understand emotions. EQ has been linked to greater success in work, relationships, and daily life. It has a direct link to empathy, adaptability, and self-confidence.

EQ is usually broken down into at least four parts, or abilities:

  • Self-Awareness — The ability to be conscious of your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. Identify and understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Self-Management — The capacity to control and direct your own emotions and adapt yourself emotionally to life’s circumstances.
  • Social Awareness — The ability to identify, understand, and react constructively to the feelings and emotions of other people, and feel comfortable in social environments.
  • Relationship Management — The capacity to create and support positive relationships. Relationship management involves knowing how to communicate clearly, work in a team, and manage conflict.

Some critics of EQ claim that it has little predictive ability — it does not reliably indicate a person’s success in various life situations. Others claim that most models and tests of emotional intelligence are biased toward extroverts. For example, an extrovert is more likely to be comfortable in social situations and have skills and experience working in groups. This allows the extrovert to score higher in abilities such as Social Awareness and Relationship Management.

A low EQ can be improved by focusing on certain skills. Connecting to your emotions, paying attention to non-verbal communication such as body language, and alleviating stress which causes a person to think less clearly.

Whether one is naturally gifted with emotional intelligence or struggles to understand their own emotions, there is no denying that EQ is helpful in life’s social situations. A person who can truly understand themselves and others has an advantage in navigating through the many situations where emotions are as important as intellect.

What’s your EQ?

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7 thoughts on “Emotional Intelligence: Do You Have It?

  1. I took the longer test and my EQ is 87. It means my EQ is poor.

    I am surprised by this result. I know I lack SQ, but I thought I am in touch with my emotions. On the other hand, there were so many questions testing your ability to read people’s emotions, and I am bad at reading people (particularly nonverbal communication), so i guess that’s it.

  2. Mira,

    On the shorter test I got 71/100, which is listed as good, above average. On the longer test I got 114, which is listed as “satisfactory”.

    “there were so many questions testing your ability to read people’s emotions”

    Yes, there were. There were so many questions about other people, in general. The extrovert bias in the longer test is clear. I think my score would have been higher had they not had questions about how easily you make friends or talk to other people about your personal issues. The shorter test was less about others, so I did better.

    I’m good at reading people’s emotions, but I’m not social or see people as necessary to my mental health; I got points taken off because of that. I tried testing this with other people…. Extroverts generally have higher scores on the longer test.

  3. Jasmin,

    The long one didn’t take me as long as they said it would. And it’s rather interesting (at least to me, since I like to understand why they chose each question).

  4. Btw, Mira didn’t you say you show traits of Asperger’s? I wouldn’t expect someone with Asperger’s to have a high EQ.

  5. Yes, I have some aspie traits. I guess it definitely affects my result, though I don’t consider myself to be a person with low EQ. I can… feel things, I just can’t express them in the right way. I think I’m even able to tell what other people feel (or what they might feel in a given situation), but then again, I don’t always react in a proper manner. So I assumed my social quotient was low, but not the emotional one.

  6. Mira,

    So you’re fine with the first aspect (Self-Awareness), but fail at the others (Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management)? 🙂

    A good part of EQ is how you deal with your emotions and the emotions of others, so I guess your score makes some sort of sense. But I think you should try the shorter one.

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