Page 1 of 2 Leadership and Management Theory
“People may not remember what you said, but they remember the way
you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Introduction to Emotional Intelligence
Emotions play a big role in our lives; they help to guide decisions for the world around
us and influence our interactions with others. Accordingly, emotions are also shaped
from the external world. Emotional intelligence brings control to our everyday emotions
and will affect every aspect of our lives. The ability to control one’s emotions and use
them in a healthy manner can be life-changing. Emotional intelligence combines
emotional and social skills to navigate through organizations and relationships, as well
as deal with emotional stress. It is a skill that can be learned and strengthened, bringing
great success to an individual’s personal and professional life. With an emotionally
intelligent team, maximum success can be achieved.
Defining Emotional Intelligence
Every day we face situations in which we emotionally react. Emotional intelligence (EI)
brings cognition to emotional responses. It involves recognizing, understanding, and
managing our own emotions, as well as recognizing, understanding, and influencing the
emotions of others. This includes being aware of the emotions that drive specific
behaviors. It does not mean denying personal feelings, but rather identifying and
reasoning with them. Developing emotional intelligence is especially important in the
workplace, as it teaches professional and empathetic communication.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is incredibly valuable to many major aspects of our lives, our
mental and physical health, professional success, and personal relationships. There are
many positive traits that come from emotional intelligence. In business, emotional
intelligence will cultivate motivation, change, and leadership. It encourages us to step
away from an autopilot mode and become better at navigating through the many social
complexities in life. Respectively, emotional intelligence will help us to create a healthy
and balanced lifestyle. Signs of low emotional intelligence include:
• Having a victim mentality
• Being unaccepting of feedback
• Dwelling on mistakes
• Difficulty listening and connecting
• Often quick to make judgments
Page 2 of 2 Leadership and Management Theory
Who Needs It?
Humans are wired for connection; these connections consist of social interactions full of
emotions. Essentially, identifying and building emotional intelligence is important for
everyone. High emotional intelligence is a hiring trait desired by leading corporations,
and to some extent, more important than IQ. Emotional intelligence provides a strong
foundation for humans to reflect on their emotional responses, including when
managing feelings of stress or overwhelm, creating a collaborative environment, and
having difficult conversations with others. It is the key to achieving success in any
leadership role. When emotional intelligence is lacking from one individual in the
workplace, it affects everyone else within the organization. These repercussions can
include a lower company morale, and decrease in productivity and performance. A
positive work environment requires employees who are willing to coach and motivate
one another, in which emotional intelligence is the foundation.
What Are Emotions?
Since emotional intelligence is all about the management and control of emotions, it is
advantageous to understand what emotions are and why they matter. Although we all
share the same emotions, we do not all experience these emotions the same way.
Emotions are natural reactions that we experience, in response to a situation, mood, or
connection. They signal a change that has occurred within us, or in our environment.
The six basic human emotions, also known as primary emotions, are happiness,
sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, and anger. Emotions may be momentary or long-lived.
There are three key elements of emotions, including the subjective experience (how
someone experiences an emotion), the physiological response (how their body reacts to
this emotion), and the behavioral/expressive response (how they behave in response to
this emotion). Emotions will guide decisions, help us to avoid danger, and motivate
action. Our daily lives are influenced on whether we are feeling happy, sad, or bored.
Shawn was in charge of hiring the new marketing analyst. He was looking for an
employee who was knowledgeable in this field, along with great social skills and
emotional control. After reading a few resumes, he had two strong prospects that he
chose to interview. The first candidate, Hunter, had many years of experience. Although
he had a lot of knowledge to bring to the team, he did not demonstrate strong
leadership and interpersonal skills. Shawn’s second prospect, Leah, did not have many
years of experience. Leah understood the essentials for the position, and assured
Shawn that she was willing to learn and transition with the company. She was confident,
empathetic, and professional. The positive impact that Leah left on Shawn had helped
to guide his decision. He believed that Leah was perfect for the position, and would
share her enthusiastic attitude with the rest of the team.