Emotional Intelligence

What is EQ and Why Should You Care?

EQ is the acronym for Emotional Intelligence. So not only do you and I have an IQ
(Intelligence Quotient), we also have emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is not about traditional intelligence. It is about our ability to handle ourselves and others. It is all about our ability to get along with others and build relationships.

The concept of EQ became popularized by Daniel Goleman in 1995. His book (also called Emotional Intelligence), helped us to understand that it is not just technical and analytical abilities that make a successful leader. IQ is not the only predictor of your success, a high IQ is not a guarantee of career success. You do need your technical abilities, your competencies at a specific skill or within a specific subject matter, but to thrive you need your ability to get along with other people. The most successful leaders also have a high degree of emotional intelligence.  And here is the great news; EQ (unlike IQ) can be developed.

Emotional intelligence: “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.” –  Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer.

“The abilities to recognize and regulate emotions in ourselves and others” – Daniel Goleman and Gary Cherniss.

Why should you care about your EQ? Perhaps you will humor me by reading just one more quote:

75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.”  — The Center for Creative Leadership, 1994

So 75% of careers derail for reasons that relate to something that we can all work on and improve? Of course you care!

What makes up EQ? There are five components:

Self-Awareness – A person who is self-aware understands their own moods and emotions and also how those moods and emotions may impact others.

Self-Regulation – Someone who exhibits self-regulation thinks before they act. Remember that person you worked for? The one who used to get red in the face, yell and scream and throw notebooks across the room? They were not exhibiting self-regulation at all.

Motivation – If you love to work and it is not just for money or for status; if you have a strong drive to achieve; then you know about motivation.

Empathy – The empathetic individual is able to understand the emotions of others and also learns to treat them as they wish to be treated.

Social Skill – Do you know someone who is able to meet new people and immediately develop a rapport with them? It is likely that they are very accomplished in the area of social skill.

Why don’t we take a moment and examine someone who is working on their self-awareness and their self-regulation:

“Do you think you could stop surfing the web long enough to get me a latte? I would hate to think your horoscope for the day includes bad customer service.” For some reason, snapping at the coffee house barista made Jane feel just a bit better. Jane slammed some money on the counter and waited for her coffee. When it was ready she picked it up and marched out of the coffee house, letting the door close in the face of the person walking out behind her.

Wow in the above scenario Jane is definitely not being self-aware and definitely not exhibiting self-regulation.

If Jane came back to the coffee house after she verbally abused the barista and apologized, she would be exhibiting one of the behaviors associated with trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is considered to be a competency of self-regulation; a behavior that is associated with this competency is the ability to admit our own mistakes.

In this version of Jane and the coffee house, we see self-awareness and self-regulation:

Jane took a deep breath as she opened the door to the coffee house. She knew that she was tired and really on edge. Jane also knew that when she was tired she had a tendency to be impatient and say things she would later regret. With this thought in mind, Jane approached the counter, smiled and said, “Excuse me; I would like to order a latte please.”

Because Jane is aware of how she behaves when she is tired, she is also able to exercise self-control. She is able to manage her impulses and disruptive emotions, she remains composed and positive. She takes a deep breath, thinks before she speaks and does not allow herself to behave badly.  She does not need to go back to the coffee house and apologize because she was able to self-regulate.

Self-awareness and self-regulation are the foundation upon which you build and strengthen your emotional intelligence. Think about it, in order to regulate your behavior you must become aware of your behavior and what causes or triggers that behavior. When you become aware, you can begin to manage yourself and to stop yourself from snapping at coffee house baristas (or your co-workers or your friends or family).

To develop self-awareness you need to learn to objectively observe yourself. This means you are keeping an eye out for situations where you felt negative emotions. This is a good start. An even better start is to recognize those negative emotions and then the behaviors that you exhibit when you are experiencing these emotions. A very helpful tool to support you in this process is journaling. Consider keeping a journal that helps you track when you act in a way that you later regret and what you were feeling at the time.  This journal is your first line of defense to building your self-awareness and your self-regulation.

Remember that EQ can be developed and developing your EQ is a journey. By reading this article and becoming familiar with the concept of EQ, you have just taken the first step.

Margaret Meloni is a Guest Blogger for PickTheBrain. She is a life coach and personal consultant, dedicated to helping you to get through the day in Peace, not in Pieces!

Don’t Forget To Follow PickTheBrain on Twitter!

Talk To Somebody Now about building Self Confidence!

Related Articles:

Are You Rationalizing Your Decisions

Harnessing The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

30 Responses to What is EQ and Why Should You Care?

  1. Thanks for this post. It strikes me that a lot of this work is really about having a choice in how you behave — a lot of us are running around feeling like we have no choice but to rage when we feel some heat in our lower back, for instance — but if we become aware that we’re reacting to that sensation of heat, and that we can choose not to, we start to get more control over how we live our lives. Best, CE

  2. Marelisa says:

    Hi Margaret: Emotional intelligence, as Daniel Goleman explains, is a meta-ability. That is, it affects how well you’re able to apply your other talents and abilities. I like your example in which Jane is aware of her anger trigger, being tired, and is mindful of her behavior when she’s tired so that she doesn’t inadvertently snap at people.

    I have a squidoo lens on anger management techniques and one of the things that I recommend there is that people keep an anger log so that they can begin to detect patterns and notice what situations, people, or physical states set them off so that they can develop strategies to deal with these situations. Emotional intelligence is a very important topic.

  3. I.Q.is really hoax created by some races intenllgent white people to established their superity, some intellgent openly declare that white people are superior that all other race. Up till mnow they treated very badly nonwhite people, not giving enterance in hotel, and public places. In U.S.there are some places there are hording which waswritten that Black and Dog are not allow.
    Recent research proved that all man are came from Africa and their DNA are same. In compititive exemation it is proved that all race people did good no dicrimination is there

  4. What a great post! I’ve never heard of EQ before but I know first hand that it’s pretty darn important. Thanks for laying out the key elements here.

  5. Chris,

    Yes it is true, so much is about our choices. I guess this is part of why EQ resonated so strongly for me. When I work with people it almost always comes down to this theme, ‘You can’t control other people, you can only control youself’; so who do you want to be.

    Thank you

  6. Marelisa,

    An anger log sounds like the perfect tool! I would love to see your Squidoo lens.

  7. Eugene,

    Great post. I like zenhabits, thank you.

  8. Ramesh,

    Part of what I love about EQ is that it is not at all like IQ and it is not some final judgement.

  9. Thank you Positively Present.

  10. By having emotional awareness, you can actually feel when you have negative thoughts. And since you are aware, you can change it just as fast as you got the negative thoughts.

    So being aware of how you feel is essential in directing your life in a positive direction.

  11. You see by having emotional awareness you can personally understand your currently emotion. Its fairly related to have a positive and when you feel negative just change you thoughts , by changing how you feel.

    Are you practicing EQ?

  12. Jonathan,

    I think practicing is absolutely the operative word. I do practice EQ. I say it like this, I would love to live to be 100 years old and I hope up until my last moment I am still working on growing my EQ.


  13. Steve says:

    Margaret, thanks for sharing this great material. I have recently started going through this very book. I also would love to explore more the concept of spiritual and social intelligence. I know that Mr. Goleman has written a new book regarding social intelligence. I also enjoyed reading the components of emotional intelligence as summarized in your post.

  14. My privious post I made mistake and wrote on I.Q.I from India and we are more emotional compare to western people.From Descart time western philosophy given more importance to reason and called emotion as justlike sentmental thinking.
    Just from last some year there are some secrious thinking started on emotional thinking. I think this is good sign of balance between reason and emotion. Both are equily important for human living.

  15. Steve, thanks for your kind words and thank you for reading.

  16. I am glad to hear that you are practicing EQ. May i ask are you getting much better at the process?

  17. Ken Kaufman says:

    Emotional intelligence helps more than just oneself. If we apply it correctly, it also helps us inderstand the emotions of others and why they react to things the way they do. It is really an empowering concept, one that will empower the possessor to move through life successfully helping others get where they need to be so that the possessor will get where they want!

  18. Ken,
    I could not agree more, thank you so much!

  19. Karen says:

    Love this post. I have been practicing emotion awareness lately and found it very empowering. I only hope to get better at this with time.

  20. Kylie Barach says:

    Thanks for this information. It is much appreciated! Thanks again.

  21. livesets says:

    Ship Child,difficulty ball warm hell organise scientific trade code standard village date seat grant atmosphere well pupil against continue insurance operate expression channel answer agency lie video technique fashion measure debate recognize distinction provide reform air construction proposal no-one pay option no stage duty reader nature environmental state acquire wish population answer foundation complete involve meeting understand ought movement trouble prison conflict rule lord mile level live always driver sign add series individual radio duty distance benefit together interest own thus consequence physical drive income

  22. Thanks!I definitely recommend http://www.conceive-a-boy.net to you.You can give a try.Good luck everyone!Hope this helps.

  23. Sally Nixon says:

    thanks, informative read. i have been trying to deal with my gradual hair loss for quite a while. the best thing i have found so far was the book at baldnesscuresecrets.com, they have great tips how you can regrow hair without rogaine

  24. Guy Farmer says:

    Great ideas. Emotional intelligence is a valuable tool because it helps us deal with our own and others’ emotions in more effective ways. It can make all the difference between someone who is in constant conflict and someone who is able to work through things. At it’s most elemental, emotional intelligence helps us live a happier life at home and in the workplace because we learn how to take care of ourselves and empathize with others.

  25. Joao says:


  26. Joao says:


  27. Don says:

    I read this book a few years ago and was excited to see how realistic it could be to control your emotions in any situation. Great reminder as I haven’t thought about this book in a long time, might need to dig it out!

  28. Kipper McGee says:

    EQ is important in some cases, but I never see the point of needing to give empathy to a person(Why can’t they just shut up and stop crying?) Honestly I rely On intelligence, But I will never really understand EQ

  29. Pure, unadulterated bovine fecal matter! Intelligence has nothing whatsoever to do with emotions. Intelligence has to do with reason, not emotion. Whoever came up with this silly notion of “Emotional Intelligence” was probably jealous of smart people or wanted to make a bunch of emotional whiners feel good about themselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *