Emotional intelligence is twice as important as hard skills and IQ for career success. We tell you where emotions come from, how to manage them and better understand other people


What is emotional intelligence? Business Model Generation
Emotional intelligence: how to learn to understand your own and other people's emotions

What is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Matters

Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient) is the ability to recognize and manage emotions, intentions, motivations, and desires of yourself and others. The skill helps to solve practical problems and achieve goals in life and at work. People with developed emotional intelligence are able to negotiate with others, make decisions, and respond appropriately to negative situations.

Through emotions, we respond to events, words, and circumstances. If they are not understood, things are distorted. For example, at work you received a reprimand, and you began to argue and conflict. Ultimately, this will lead to neurosis, apathy and other depressive states. That said, depression does not go away quickly: in 15-39% of people, it lasts more than a year.

A person with developed emotional intelligence reacts to causes, not actions or emotions. This helps him properly perceive criticism, understand other people and respond to them adequately.

The concept of emotional intelligence became popular after the publication of a book of the same name by science journalist Daniel Goleman in 1995. According to Goleman's research, people with developed emotional intelligence have better mental health, work performance and leadership skills. And 67% of leadership ability comes from emotional intelligence. It is twice as important as technical knowledge and IQ.

A study by Egon Zehnder confirms this. They analyzed 515 senior executives and found that people with developed emotional intelligence have a better chance of success. The Carnegie Institute of Technology reported that 85% of our financial success is related to emotional intelligence, leadership and communication skills. Only 15% depend on technical knowledge. Agile human skills closely tied to emotional intelligence are the most important skills in the present and future.

How Emotional Intelligence Works

Let's break down a model that the EQ-factor lab, led by Nicholas Corot and Victoria Szymanski, presented in 2014. It clearly shows the coefficients that form the intellectual-emotional profile of a person, the IEPP.

Emotional intelligence does not exist separately from intelligence; it is not its opposite. The coefficients of emotional intelligence EQ and mental intelligence IQ cannot be separated from each other. Moreover, if one does not develop EQ, one will not have a high IQ.

To develop emotional intelligence, one must focus on four drivers: awareness, self-esteem, motivation, and adaptability. The development of each of the drivers forms the mastery of the appropriate emotional intelligence strategy.

  • Awareness. Includes awareness of one's thoughts, feelings and behavior. Develops the Philosophers strategy. Philosophers learn quickly and accumulate knowledge, but find it difficult to move from theory to practice and to translate knowledge into real skills.
  • Self-Assessment. Includes acceptance, the ability not to depend on external evaluations and opinions, a positive perception of the world, and determination. Helps to master the "Stars" strategy. Such people are confident but tend to talk to impress. Stars risk staying at the level of "impressions" if they don't pump the drivers of awareness and motivation.
  • Motivation. Includes openness to new things, goal setting, experiencing failure, striving for self-actualization. Helps to master the "Heroes" strategy. Heroes enjoy self-development and achievement, so they constantly improve and can lead people. Heroes risk burnout quickly if they do not realize the reasons for their work.
  • Adaptability. Includes empathy, stress tolerance, decision making, and communication skills. Develops the strategy of "Leaders." Such people are stress-resistant, empathic, and hardworking, but are prone to impostor syndrome. This is a cognitive distortion where a person thinks they are a fraud and does not attribute achievement to their qualities and skills.
  • Emotional intelligence is a kind of base of the personality pyramid. The larger the volume of this pyramid, the more opportunities and influence a person can have on his or her life, the lives of others, and the world at large.

All four profiles are equally promising. To build an effective life strategy, you need to understand your strong drivers and pay attention to the weak ones. In conjunction with the IQ vector of intelligence, emotional intelligence forms the "Creators" life strategy. It helps to realize a person's potential and reach the top level of self-actualization.

How to develop emotional intelligence

Honesty and proper assessment of one's behavior are key factors for the development of EQ, says Victoria, a doctor of psychology and an expert on the development of emotional intelligence.

Honesty. To test your honesty, do a simple exercise - write on paper three personality traits that you don't like about yourself. For example, "waking up late," "lazy," and "easily annoyed. According to the first principle of the concept of emotional intelligence, there is a positive intention in every action we take. Think about why you wake up late and what positive intention is behind that action. For example, because you are very tired at work and worried about a new project.

Behavioral Assessment. It is difficult to answer the question of why we behave this way in a particular situation. But an honest answer gives reactions at three levels: meaning, body and emotion - this is the second paradigm in the concept of emotional intelligence. If you change the response at one of these levels, the others will change. For example, you do your job well, but you realize that customers don't come back repeatedly because you don't know how to communicate with them. This makes you irritated, but realizing this will give you an insight on the level of meaning. On the body level there will be relaxation and a feeling of "a mountain has fallen from your shoulders. On the emotional level, it will be easier. You will have found the real reason for your anger and irritation, though it may be hard to admit.

Tools for the development of emotional intelligence

The basis for the development of emotional intelligence consists of four components. Self-awareness and self-control help you work with yourself, while social competence and relationship management help you build strong relationships with others.


You should start developing emotional intelligence by becoming aware of what is happening to you. You need to learn to separate yourself from your emotions, present them as a separate phenomenon and look at them from the outside. Emotions are your reactions to what is going on around you. They change with changes in external circumstances, so remember: you ≠ your emotions. Being able to separate emotion from yourself will help you assess your surroundings, make decisions, and react appropriately.

For example, on the edge of a cliff, you realize that you are afraid and step back. In this case, fear will save your life. But at negotiations with an important client, it will prevent you from gathering your thoughts and focusing on the result. Once you realize this, you need to push the fear aside and move on.

Mark Williams and Danny Penman define emotion in their book, Awareness: "They are clumps of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and impulses. All elements interact with each other and can enhance or constrain the overall mood."

Any emotion can be accepted or rejected. At the same time, one must not suppress emotion. This will lead to neurosis and dissatisfaction with life.

Practice: Draw a scale from 0 to 10 on paper. Mark the level of fear on it, for example, 7 divisions. Now increase the level to 9, and then decrease it to 5. Try to understand your feelings and experience the emotion. Decrease the fear by 2 or 3 more divisions, and get down to the thing you were afraid of. This is the essence of emotion management.


If you are aware of and know how to separate the emotion from yourself, you will be able to control and display it correctly. This skill is especially important for managers. To control an emotion, it must be expressed and said out loud.

Practice: learn to speak the language of emotion. Use a three-part phrase:

  • I feel...
  • Because...
  • I wish....

For example, I'm upset and angry because I didn't have time to prepare a presentation for a new client. I wish we could have done it together, because the client is important to the company. Formulate some negative and positive emotions using this formula.

Learning how to express feelings will help with nonviolent communication techniques. Practice, over time it will become a habit. You'll change your speech and your reaction to many events.

Social Competence

Social competence helps you see the essence and cause of what's going on and not get into emotional battles. Make more accurate and informed decisions. To do this, you need to learn to understand what is behind the other person's behavior. This way you will prevent 90% of conflicts.

In dealing with people, respond not to actions and words, but to the intentions and reasons behind them. Every reaction and behavior can be broken down into three components:

Intent - the meaning, the true reason. A person may or may not be aware of their intention, but it will always be positive. For example, the manager yelled at you, because he is worried about the results of the project.

Action - the way a person implements the reason. It can be positive and constructive or negative and destructive. For example, you will insult the man in response to unacceptable behavior or explain your attitude and offer to behave differently.

Meaning is the meaning you give to the action. It can be positive or negative. For example, you asked a colleague a question and he didn't respond. The positive meaning is that your colleague didn't hear your question, and the negative meaning is that he doesn't respect you.

Practice: recall several conflict situations and try to decompose them according to this formula. Find positive intentions in your values and actions.

Relationship Management

Identify an emotional state, use it or change it will help the emotion quadrant. This is a coordinate system from 0 to 10 on each axis. At the bottom are the mood and pleasure levels - the gray and green squares. At the top are the levels of energy and physical well-being - orange and yellow squares.

How it works. For example, you haven't made a presentation to a new client and are worried about it. Rate your mood level at 3 points. That said, you still have a lot of energy, so your energy level would be 7 points. This puts you in the red "worried" square. In such a state, it is better to do active work that does not require an emotional mood: clean the house, take out the trash, cook food.

In the green square you are in a good mood, but little energy. In that case, learn new things: immerse yourself in a project or task, gather information. Do things that don't require physical exertion.

In the yellow square, mood and energy are at their peak. This is a good opportunity to brainstorm. Come up with new ideas and projects, mix formats, and look for other solutions to common problems.

Blue square has little energy and no mood. This is where you should look for mistakes and shortcomings. Break down how you can improve your daily routine and figure out what else you can work on.

The emotion quadrant will help direct free resources to suitable tasks. You'll be able to prioritize intelligently and give clear orders to employees.

How to determine the level of development of emotional intelligence?

The author of the book "Emotional Intelligence in Practice" Justin Bariso allocates 13 criteria for a developed EQ:

  • Being aware of your feelings and emotions.
  • Pause before you speak or act.
  • Strive to control your thoughts and reactions to emotions.
  • Use criticism as an opportunity to improve something.
  • Stick to your values and principles.
  • Have empathy.
  • Praise and inspire others.
  • Give helpful feedback.
  • Apologize and admit mistakes.
  • Forgive and forget.
  • Deliver on your commitments.
  • Help others.
  • Protect yourself from emotional sabotage.

Victoria adds one universal, but subjective criterion - the degree of satisfaction with your own life. In EQ, it's your own feeling that's more important than a measure of skill development. If you can't ask for a raise for several years or get terribly angry when you clean your apartment, take a closer look at working with your emotions.

How to and apply it in life

The hardest part of developing emotional intelligence is getting started. It's not clear at what point an experience emerges that allows further development of EQ skills. Begin to listen carefully to yourself and capture the emotion: name it, be aware of it, reflect on it, listen to how you feel. Without this exercise, no amount of books will bring you any closer to feeling happy, overcoming fears, curbing anger, and the other tasks we want to accomplish with emotion management.

Emotional intelligence lives at the intersection of sense and body. Only by linking knowledge to physical sensations can we turn it on and tune our emotional apparatus. So, our way is to practice the connection of body and consciousness. Doing - fixing, feeling - comprehending.

To develop emotional intelligence

  • Learn to be aware of your emotions and name them. Say out loud what you are feeling.
  • Accept the emotion and try to live it without harming yourself or others.
  • Learn to separate emotions from yourself. You are always more than one emotion.
  • Look for and understand the reason for the emotion.
  • Align the emotion with an actual life purpose. Think about how they can help you and direct them to benefit yourself.
  • Try applying EQ tools to other people.
  • Take a special diagnostic test to determine your level of emotional intelligence development. Choose trainings, courses, books that will help you better pump up the skill.