IQ is not a good predictor of how successful an individual is going to be.

There are people with a high IQ, who excel at school, but never live up to their potential. This is where emotional intelligence (EI) comes in.

Many people think that emotional intelligence isn’t a well defined concept. I understand why they’d think that. The schools normally don’t teach us much about emotions and our understanding of them may be a little hazy. This is quite unfortunate, in my opinion, because emotions play a really important part in our lives.

Emotional intelligence has four components:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

These components can be organized into a table:

  awareness regulation
self self-awareness self-management
others social awareness relationship management

As can be seen from the table, EI has has two “dimensions”, self vs others and awareness vs regulation. This results in four different combinations, each mapping to a component.

The first component is self-awareness. Self-awareness refers to the ability to notice and identify our own feelings. This is the basis of emotional intelligence. Without being aware of our own emotions, we can’t expect to be able to manage them, or to recognize other people’s emotions.

Once we get better at being able to recognize our own emotional states, we can move onto the self-management component. Self-management is defined as ability to regulate our emotions. This doesn’t mean that the goal is to always lower the emotional intensity, as commonly thought. Sometimes, we’ll want to boost the intensity of our positive emotions, to increase openness, interest, engagement and resonance with others.

The third EI pillar is called social awareness. Social awareness is similar to self-awareness, but this time, the focus is on other people. It describes how well we’re able to notice emotions in others (empathy), and various social dynamics.

And the final, and the most complex component is called relationship management. Relationship management includes our interpersonal skills, such as our ability to build strong, trusting relationships with other people, lead, communicate, inspire, resolve conflicts, teach, influence etc.

Many people were taught to leave their emotions at the door when they came to work. But humans are emotional creatures, and emotions influence us whether we acknowledge it or not. Emotions are an integral part of how are brains work, and without them, we would probably be incapable of making decisions.

I believe that, to be effective as a leader, you need to be able to manage your own emotions well, and have the ability to build resonant relationships with others. The EI model provides a structure around these competencies, helping us understand them better, as well as how they relate to each other. This model can bring our attention to these different aspects, and help us in our journey to become more effective leaders.