Emotional Intelligence

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Though there is some disagreement among psychologists as to what constitutes true emotional intelligence, it is generally said to include at least three skills: emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and cheering up or calming down other people.

There is currently no validated test or scale for emotional intelligence as there is for "g," the general intelligence factor—a fact that has led some critics to claim the concept is either sketchy or entirely non-existent. Despite this criticism, however, emotional intelligence (or “emotional quotient,” as it’s sometimes known) has wide appeal among the general public, as well as in certain industries. In recent years, some employers have even incorporated “emotional intelligence tests” into their application or interview processes, on the theory that someone high in emotional intelligence would make a better leader or coworker. But while some studies have found a link between emotional intelligence and job performance, others have shown no correlation, and the lack of a scientifically valid scale makes it difficult to truly measure or predict someone’s emotional intelligence on the job.

Being Smart About Feelings

An emotionally intelligent individual is both highly conscious of his or her own emotional states, even negativity—frustration, sadness, or something more subtle—and able to identify and manage them.  These people are also especially tuned in to the emotions others experience. It’s easy to see how a sensitivity to emotional signals from within and from the social environment could make one a better friend, parent, leader, or romantic partner. Fortunately, these skills can be honed.

CONNECTED TOPICS

Intelligence, Intuition

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