Emotional intelligence refers to a person's ability to recognize and understand their own emotions and those of others. This dimension goes beyond cognitive aspects such as memory and problem-solving, and it speaks to our ability to effectively communicate and connect with others, manage our emotions, motivate ourselves, and control our impulses.
The Harvard Business Review considers emotional intelligence as a revolutionary concept and one of the most influential ideas of the decade in the business world. It has been credited with improvements in empathy, conflict management, and persuasive communication.
Emotional intelligence is an intangible competence that affects how we handle our behavior, navigate complex social situations, and make decisions that lead to positive outcomes.
People with low emotional intelligence are often easily offended, struggle to accept their mistakes, hold grudges, make assumptions, and react aggressively rather than assertively. They also tend to have limited emotional vocabulary, feel misunderstood, and blame others for their feelings.
Developing emotional intelligence is critical as it plays a vital role in personal and professional success and is considered even more important than intellectual intelligence. This type of intelligence is linked to everything from decision-making to increased self-awareness that enables changing habits.
So, what does it take to be emotionally intelligent? According to Daniel Goleman, there are five critical components of emotional intelligence:
- Self-awareness or emotional mindfulness
- Emotional self-regulation or self-control
- Interpersonal skills or social relationships
- Empathy or recognition of others' emotions
People with high emotional intelligence have a good understanding of their emotions and a rich vocabulary to express them. They don't seek perfection because they know it doesn't exist and they accept human nature's tendency to make mistakes. In contrast, striving for perfection can lead to a sense of failure, giving up, pushing others away, reducing effort, or increasing self-pressure.
Emotional intelligence means exercising self-control, delaying immediate gratification, and avoiding impulsive actions. Emotionally intelligent people gain self-confidence through emotional self-awareness and self-regulation, and they are able to form positive relationships with others by being empathetic and motivated.
To work on emotional intelligence, it's important to practice mindfulness, focus on self-reflection, and seek to understand the emotions of others. Read books on the topic, such as “Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ” by Daniel Goleman and “The Power of Emotional Intelligence” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.