Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Your overall well-being is tied closely to emotional intelligence. But what is emotional intelligence? Psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman describes it as, “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”

The EQ-i 2.0 Model

One way of gauging emotional intelligence is with the EQ-i 2.0 Model. EQ (emotional quotient) or EI (emotional intelligence) can be measured by assessing fifteen elements of our emotional and social functioning that make up our overall well-being. The fifteen elements are grouped into five subcategories:

  1. Self Perception Composite
    • Self Regard: the ability and the tendency for you to both like and have confidence in yourself.
    • Self-Actualization: your ability and tendency to want to grow; to see your potential and set meaningful goals.
    • Emotional Self-Awareness: the degree to which you are in touch with your emotions and understand why that emotion has occurred.
  2. Self-Expression Composite
    • Emotional Expression: the degree to which you share and communicate your feelings and emotions.
    • Assertiveness: your ability to express your needs, thoughts, and opinions.
    • Independence: your ability and the tendency to be self-directed in your thinking, feeling, and actions.
  3. Interpersonal Composite
    • Interpersonal Relationships: your ability and tendency to give and receive trust and compassion, and to establish and maintain mutually satisfying personal relationships.
    • Empathy: your ability and willingness to take notice of and be sensitive to other people’s needs and feelings.
    • Social Responsibility: your ability and tendency to cooperate and contribute to the welfare of a larger social construct.
  4. Decision Making Composite
    • Problem Solving: your ability and tendency to both solve problems that involve emotions and to use emotions as a problem-solving tool.
    • Reality Testing: your ability and tendency to assess the here-and-now and compare that objectively to your biases.
    • Impulse Control: the ability to resist or delay the drive to do or say something or decide too quickly or rashly.
  5. Stress Management Composite
    • Flexibility: your ability and tendency to adjust your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors to changing situations and conditions.
    • Stress Tolerance: the ability to function well in the midst of challenging and stressful situations.
    • Optimism: your ability and tendency to see the upside of life and to maintain a positive attitude even while facing adversity.

While some personal characteristics are more permanent in their expression, for example those measured by an intelligence quotient (IQ) or psychological types as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), emotional intelligence can be increased through awareness and conscious effort.

Reflection and Goal-Setting

In your Common Learning Portal Journal, create an entry for your personal use that states an EI element you would like to improve in and how you’ll achieve that outcome.

Additional Resources

For a quick overview of Emotional Intelligence, check out this video to see how EI traits affect us.

Take this Emotional Intelligence Quiz from Mind Tools to see what areas you’re already strong in and areas that could use some development.

The NPS Fundamentals Program has certified EQ-i practitioners who can administer the Multi-Health Systems EQ-i 2.0 assessment to generate your own confidential profile report, and engage in an interactive feedback session. Certified EQ-i practitioners in the Fundamentals Program can also be available to assist your work unit in using EQ-i 2.0 as a tool to help improve the success of your team; contact the Fundamentals Program Manager for more information.



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