“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both.” — David Caruso

We have certainly all heard about different kinds of intelligence. In particular, we are most familiar with intelligence quotient (IQ) as a way of measuring potential. For decades IQ was a standard for measuring one’s success in life: academically, professionally, and even healthwise.  Who remembers the long IQ tests given in schools? More and more, other forms of intelligence are being looked at with more interest. One of these is Emotional Intelligence or EQ (Emotional Quotient).

According to one article in The Guardian, emotional intelligence might be the secret to a high salary


IQ gets you hired. EQ gets you promoted.” — Time Magazine


“We might be hired for technical talents, but we are often fired because we lack emotional intelligence.” – Canaday


According to some researchers, emotional intelligence accounts for up to 75% of a person’s ability to succeed. A study, published in the Journal of  Vocational Behaviour (August 2017) found that students who tested high in emotional intelligence (EI) during their studies and who were followed for 10 years after, went on to have higher-paying careers than students who scored a lower EQ. It seems that people with higher emotional intelligence are more skilled at connecting and relating to people on emotional levels, and better able to keep themselves in check in stressful situations and environments. They are more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

Renown psychologist, Daniel Goleman brought his groundbreaking book – Emotional Intelligence: Why it Matters More than IQ (1996) into the limelight and the psychological community was taken by storm. Daniel Goleman divides the 5 elements ( I have added a 6th: adaptability) into two broad categories: (1) Personal skills: How we manage ourselves and (2) Interpersonal skills: How we handle relationships with others.

Personal Skills

Self Awareness

Self-awareness refers to the ability a person has to be in tune with his or her own emotions, how they affect moods, actions, and behaviors. Self-awareness enables us to identify what or how we are feeling at a given moment and see it as separate from the situation and other people. It helps us to be aware of our reactions and understand them as well as understand the relationship between feelings and behavior

When a person is in tune with herself, she is also aware of her strengths as well as her weaknesses. Having this awareness enables her to be open to new perspectives and information and recognizing that she may not have all the information or may even be wrong. This self-connection makes it easier for her to learn from others and new information.

Generally, a person who is self-aware is confident with herself and with others, has a positive outlook on life and doesn’t tend to take herself or life too seriously.

Some Specific Characteristics of Self Awareness

  • Is emotionally aware
  • Self Assesses
  • Is self-confident
  • Is aware of strengths and weaknesses


Self-regulation or self-control means that we are in control of our emotions, our reactions and behaviors and not the other way around. Sometimes people tend to get the two mixed up in the heat of conflict or crises. Being self-regulated means that a person will choose to pause before speaking or acting to prevent saying or doing something that she might regret after.

For leaders, in particular, this quality of being self-regulated even in trying situations is a professional asset. The ability to assess situations and respond appropriately and calmly, maintaining control over their emotions can be a much-needed skill in conflictual or confrontational scenarios. Self-regulated people have a feel for the situation and are proactive rather than reactive.

Some Specific Characteristics of Self-Regulation

  • Self-control
  • Trustworthiness
  • Adaptability
  • Resiliency
  • Conscientious
  • Does not compromise values

 Self Motivation

A self-motivated person is one who sets his own standards and goals independent of exterior standards and goals.  He generally has high standards for himself in all areas of his life. Don’t count on a self-motivated person to be too concerned with what is going on around him – he is focused and driven by his internal purpose. This person generally will not worry too much about the naysayers or failure – he gets back up and keeps going. The self-motivated person is not afraid to take risks, experiment and try new things. He is hardworking and responsible.

Some Characteristics of Self-Motivation

  • Committed
  • Takes Initiative
  • Goal-oriented
  • Sets high standards for themselves
  • Driven
  • Not afraid to take risks
  • Clear about goals and purpose


Empathy refers to the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes (or circumstances to see things from another person’s perspective. It involves putting aside our natural prejudices and preconceived notions and taking the time to listen to what the person is saying – listening without jumping in to respond. Having empathy requires that we develop a curiosity about other people, a desire to know them independently of any professional context. It also involves our being able to open ourselves up, to become vulnerable to a certain extent and authentic. Empathy really is compassion and authenticity.

Some Characteristics of Empathy

  • Understands others
  • Develops others
  • Political awareness
  • Attuned to nonverbal language
  • Curious
  • A good listener
  • Willingness to be vulnerable

 Social Skills

This category covers a lot of skills, but, essentially it refers to our ability to relate to, work with, communicate with and lead other people. Social skills are needed to be able to form strong relationships with people, whether at work or with people close to us. Good social skills enable us to bring disagreements to the surface and deal with them quickly and well rather than let the unspoken fester for days or weeks. Listening and the willingness to hear the other person or people, whether for good news or negative news builds trust and trustworthiness between people. Finally, having good social skills means being willing to share ideas, plans, and information with others rather than withhold valuable information.

Some Characteristics of Social Skills

  • Persuasion and influence
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict management skills
  • Cooperation
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Building bonds

I would like to add one more Emotional Intelligence Skill in addition to the 5 presented. I think it merits having a separate category and is a very important skill to have: Adaptability


A 2008 study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, entitled Growing Global Executive Talent, showed that the top three leadership qualities that will be important over the years ahead include: the ability to motivate staff (35 percent); the ability to work well across cultures (34 percent); and the ability to facilitate change (32 percent). The least important were technical expertise (11 percent) and “bringing in the numbers” (10 percent).

Clearly, adaptability is an important skill to have in an ever-changing world (culturally, economically, technologically, and socially). More and more people are expected to be able to understand and work with people from different cultures, keep up with ever-changing technology, and even the latest research and developments in the dynamics of working with other people. The workplace no longer looks like the workplace of even 10 years ago. Today, people need to be increasingly open to new ideas, deal with the unexpected, adapt to new strategies and flow with innovation. they need to be adaptable and teachable.

Some Characteristics of Adaptability

  • Teachable
  • Ability to handle the unexpected
  • Adapt to new realities and strategies

For far too many years there has been a focus on academic intelligence and “natural” intelligence or the intelligence quotient (IQ) as determining factors for one’s success or failure in life. The problem with this way of thinking is that it projects the idea that intelligence is something we either have or don’t have to varying degrees. It has been the driving force in educational circles to guiding students to one profession or another. This focus on an intelligence quotient naturally assumed there was only an intellectual competency and nothing else mattered for academic success.

Fortunately, the fruit of much research has shed light on the fact that there are many forms of intelligence and this makes sense since we are complex creatures. It is refreshing to know that we can have a part in building our own intelligence through education and practice rather than simply be a recipient of doled out intelligence. It is empowering and liberating to know that we can change the course of our life and that of others through developing ourselves and learning to increase our emotional intelligence and other forms of intelligence such as adversity intelligence or even social intelligence.

The Takeaway

People are such wonderfully amazing and complex creatures. We all have so much to offer and tremendous potential. Emotional intelligence is available to every one of us and developing the skills involved will make a difference in all aspects of our lives. These skills are an unquestionable asset to our professional lives and can make all the difference in how we are perceived in the business world. In our personal relationships, highly developed emotional intelligence is a full toolbox to help us wade through relational minefields and build solid bonds. Clearly, acquiring some level of emotional intelligence is important.


Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca