What is Emotional Intelligence?

You have probably heard the term Emotional Intelligence banded around. But what does it really mean to be emotionally intelligent? It is easy to jump to the thinking that emotional intelligence is all about dealing with ‘mushy feelings’ or reserved for those who are ‘too emotional’. Quite the reverse, Emotional intelligence or EQ (as it is commonly abbreviated to mean Emotional Quotient) is actually an idea born from psychological research and backed by neuroscience.  While IQ is a familiar household term, EQ is now slowly paving its way into the dialect of millions of people in business worldwide.

Margaret Chapman writes about Emotional Intelligence in one of her many pocketbooks. She shares tips, tools, and techniques to improve your emotional awareness. She asserts the original theory of emotional intelligence that was developed by two U.S. psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990 who defined it as a learnt ability to perceive, understand and express our feelings accurately and control our emotions, so they work for us and not against us.

So, what are the benefits to organisations with leaders and employees who are emotionally intelligent, rather than reactions that are knee-jerk that point to a lack of emotional regulation. Let’s look at it like this, if you were in a situation that required your manager to respond to you with emotional awareness, sensitivity and skills that enhanced your well-being, you would feel psychologically safe and relaxed, right?! This would certainly optimise the way you work, that would impact on the business and people around you and reduce stress. 

With rising stress levels, The World Health Organisation points out that depression will be the second highest cause of death in the next 10 years (stress is a mild form of depression). This is one fundamental reason why the work of Daniel Goleman in 1996 and 1998 really put emotional intelligence on organisations map and one of the many reasons why Margaret Chapman points out ‘why emotional intelligence now?’ in her useful pocketbook packed with useful tips.  Related reading: “Tame Your Inner Critic: 5 Emotional Intelligence Skills to Build Mental Healthy and Increase Happiness.”

There is plenty of research and surveys that suggest some fantastic benefits to developing our EQ, and some of the UK research point out that Public Sector Housing Officers report greater levels of cohesion, collaboration, and sense of identity following team EQ intervention (Chapman 2015). There is other evidence by Fenman, using Emotional Intelligence at Work which makes links for the case for soft skills, that suggest that two-thirds of stress-related problems result from abusive, unsatisfying, limiting, or ill-defined relationships. This presents a solid case for developing EQ in the workplace and why it can matter more than IQ. 

If you are someone like me who has a thirst for learning and development, then I am happy to share that there is a five-step model to Emotional Intelligence that can kick-start your journey in understanding more. 

The five-step model to Emotional Intelligence 


                            This is the inner-intelligence we.        This is the outer-intelligence we use to read,

                                                        Use to know, understand and.            Sense, understand and manage our relationships

                                                        Motivate ourselves.                               With other people 

                                                        1.Self-awareness                                    1.Relationship management 

                                                        2 Emotional Management                    2. Emotional Coaching

                                                        3 Self-management 

The Core Capabilities 

The model approach above shows that to become emotionally intelligent you must develop both your intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence. You can achieve this by focusing on five core capabilities, applying each one a step close to EQ. 

Emotional intelligence, as you can see above is a set of flexible skills that can be acquired and of course like anything can improve with practice. Anyone can develop emotional intelligence, even if you aren’t born with it, this is suggested by Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves who are co-authors of the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. a how to book, with proven strategies that can enhance performance in all job types. This is the first of 5 blogs where I will be sharing the importance of EQ, tune in next time where I will be unpacking in greater detail one of the five steps to emotional intelligence, self-awareness is the first step to better relationships in the workplace.

Reference List

Margaret Chapman Emotional Intelligence – Pocketbook (https://www.pocketbook.co.uk/media_mp/preview/9781906610425(Preview).pdf)


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