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The five elements of Emotional Intelligence

Welcome to another episode of the Self Mastery newsletter! I am Matteo Grosso, and if you have not yet done so, click that Follow button so that you never miss another article. Also, if you want more personal development content in your feed, you can follow me right now on LinkedIn and Instagram.

What a joy to be back working on my articles! The past few weeks have been incredibly intense because, in addition to working with my 1:1 clients from Tech companies in Dublin, I have been busy with the organization of my first LIVE Event on Self Mastery.

This is a Vision becoming a reality! Everything is finally ready and I could not be more excited! The event is confirmed for Sunday, May 22nd, at The Dean (Sophie's Event Venue).

We will have a 3-hour Seminar/Workshop, a Videographer, a Personal trainer for the energy intervals, and Finger Food & Drinks to celebrate after the event!

If you are currently based in Ireland, of course you are invited! You can confirm your attendance at this link:

Ok, enough with the news! Let’s now explore the topic of the day, which is incredibly important :)

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.

Why is Emotional Intelligence important for Leaders?

The research supporting the importance of Emotional Intelligence dates back over 30 years, and while it was made popular in the late 1990s, arguably it is even more important today that we are developing “emotionally intelligent Leaders” to retain and develop the talent that will lead innovation and business growth.

I was recently interviewed for a research project on Positive Leadership, the new frontier of Leadership that was born in COVID times.

I will probably record a full episode on the topic, but for the purpose of this podcast episode, we can say that Positive Leadership is modelling, facilitating, and purposefully influencing positive emotions that encourage team members and employees to excel in their work.

Positive leaders cultivate an empowering environment through communication, accountability, emotional intelligence, motivation, and model-worthy work ethic. In a nutshell, Positive Leadership is the Servant & Transformational Leadership + the important component of Emotional Intelligence!

So how is Emotional Intelligence linked to leadership? Fifteen years of research has shown that leaders tend to score higher in Emotional Intelligence than the general population.

If you score high in EQ, this could be a good sign! It may indicate that your profile is well-suited to lead.

Which one is a better predictor of "success": EQ or IQ?

For decades, a lot of emphasis has been put on certain aspects of intelligence such as logical reasoning, math skills, spatial skills, understanding analogies, verbal skills etc.

For decades, scientists and other researchers have focused primarily on intelligence - usually measured through IQ tests - as the most significant predictor of success.

Researchers were puzzled by the fact that IQ could predict, to a significant degree, a better academic performance and, to some degree, professional and personal success.

In other words, researchers stated: "If you are smart, we are able to predict that you will get good grades in school, and you will be live a great personal and professional life". 

This is almost certainly true, but...

How come some people with high IQ scores were doing poorly in life?

Some people are smart, but this does not mean they will surely be a "success" and live lives of joy and fulfilment!

There are forms of intelligence that a traditional IQ test cannot measure.

And this means that a high or low IQ is only partially correlated with living a successful life!

"Success" is a multivariable equation...

Even Charles Darwin recognized the importance of emotional intelligence and pointed to the ways in which emotional expression and interpretation can affect an individual's survival. Think about this: understanding if a person is angry or not can ensure your survival!

One of the major missing parts in the success equation is emotional intelligence, a concept made popular by the ground-breaking book by Daniel Goleman, which is based on years of research by numerous scientists such as Peter Salovey, John Meyer, Howard Gardner, Robert Sternberg and Jack Block, just to name a few.

In more recent years, psychologists have begun to understand that emotional intelligence is as important as other kinds of intelligence. Some have even argued that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of success than general intelligence.

For various reasons and thanks to a wide range of abilities, people with high emotional intelligence tend to be more successful in life than those with lower EQ, even if their classical IQ is average.

Studies indicate that that people with high Emotional Quotient are better-equipped at negotiating, winning favour, making friends, and influencing others. 

A high EQ seems to be better than a high IQ; and of course, if you can have both high EQ and IQ, that is a powerful combination!

Like other forms of intelligence, your EQ is not a static trait. By learning your weaknesses and building upon your strengths, you can work toward greater emotional intelligence.

So, what are the characteristics of Emotional Intelligence? Let's explore them together!

The five elements of Emotional Intelligence

Influential psychologist Daniel Goleman developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness

  2. Self-regulation

  3. Motivation

  4. Empathy

  5. Social skills

Let’s look at how you can develop good skills in each area!

  • Self-Awareness

In his 1995 book "Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ" Goleman explained that people with high self-awareness are "aware of their moods as they are having them”. They are aware of the feelings and emotions they are experiencing!

To increase self-awareness , learn about mindfulness. This involves focusing on the present moment - including how you are feeling.

My advice is to keep a journal in which you write about and analyse the emotional situations you experience from day to day: "Today I was sad. What caused the sadness?" "Today I was happy, why am I happy?"; analyse the pattern of emotions.

You also need to understand your strengths and weaknesses to build self-awareness. Do a personal SWOT analysis, and ask for feedback from your boss, friends, and trusted colleagues to find out how you can improve further.

  • Self-Regulation

Self-regulation, a very important component of Self Mastery, is about staying in control. To develop your skills in this area, learn how to manage your emotions effectively and productively.

If you often get angry, anxious, stressed, note what situations trigger this feeling, and think about why this makes you angry.

Use techniques such as deep breathing to calm yourself down, and give yourself time to pause before you respond to emails or requests, so that you do not say something that you will regret later.

Remember, there is always a space between what people tell you and your reaction: use it well!
Instead of reacting with "M*****f*****!", breathe and respond. 

A key skill of emotional intelligence is being slow to take offense and quick to take feedback.

People are rarely criticizing you. They are criticizing a snapshot of your words or actions.

They will not see the full you. You can still learn from their reactions to that image of you.

- Adam Grant

Accountability is another important element of self-regulation. Take responsibility for your actions and behaviours. If you are right, stand-up for what you believe. If you are wrong, admit it, apologise and learn.

  • Motivation

Self-motivation is strongly affected by your emotions.

If you are in a peak state and feel great, you will be more inclined to take action! But if you are tired, you might not want to hit the gym. If you are sad, you might want to stay in bed rather than studying.

When you are distracted by your emotions, you may find it hard to see tasks through. 

Boost your motivation levels by developing self-discipline, and by looking for and celebrating small wins - simple jobs that, when you have completed them, give you a sense of achievement. You create positive momentum!

Also, set some long-term goals. When you decide what you want to achieve, you will focus on what really matters to you. This can be highly motivating, especially when you connect personal goals with career-related ones.

If you are still struggling to get motivated in your current role, take some time to rediscover your purpose. You may be in a line of work that makes you feel unhappy and unfulfilled!

  • Empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognize other people's emotions and understand their perspectives. Goleman calls this aspect of EI "the fundamental people skill".

If I had to choose the number one skill of emotionally intelligent leaders, I would choose empathy! 

To develop empathy, start by simply thinking about other people's viewpoints.

Imagine how they may be feeling, and use active listening skills to understand them fully when they express their emotions to you.

Rather than trying to explain yourself, make an effort to understand them!

Try not to interrupt and do not talk about your own feelings during the conversation.

Look at their body language, too: it can tell you a lot about their emotions.

If you watch and listen to others, you will quickly become attuned to how they feel. 

  • Social Skills

Even if you are not a natural "people person", it is possible to develop better social skills.

I would recommend you work on communication skills!

Then, find out how you can develop trust and rapport with people - this is an essential part of building good working relationships.

What do they care about? What do you have in common? Are you there for them? Are they there for you? Rapport and trust create a safe space for vulnerability.

Do not shy away from negative situations, either. Learn how to deal with conflict and other difficult situations effectively. Conflict can be productive! "Hey this is me and you vs this conflict, how can we work this out?"

If you are uncomfortable with social situations, work on building self-confidence. Start small and then look for opportunities to practice your skills with bigger groups.

For example, you go from presenting to your best friend, to presenting in front of the team, to presenting in front of the department, etc.  

Key Points

Developing high emotional intelligence (or EI) is incredibly important for a successful life: career, relationships, parenting! When we have high levels of emotional intelligence, we are able to build strong relationships and manage difficult situations more effectively.

Even if you already have many of the elements of emotional intelligence, it is still important to look for opportunities to build it further. This will increase your Leadership potential, and improve the quality of your relationships.

That’s what I have got for today’s article; if you liked it, please share it with someone who could benefit! Feel free to tag me! The only way we grow and impact more people is if you guys share it so I greatly greatly appreciate all of you who will do it.

For the ones of you who are in Dublin, I hope to see you at the live event on May 22nd!

Make your life a masterpiece, see you next week, I appreciate you and I hope you have an amazing day :)

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