Skip to content
Man wearing dark blue shirt sitting and making a thinking face looking upwards with hands covering his mouth
Anna Schosser30.03.20239 min read

What is Emotional Intelligence?

What is Emotional Intelligence?


"Emotional intelligence skills are synergistic with cognitive ones; top performers have both. The more complex the job, the more emotional intelligence matters - if only because a deficiency in these abilities can hinder the use of whatever technical expertise or intellect a person may have."

- Daniel Goleman


Emotional intelligence (EI) has been hailed as one of the most important skills for success in today's fast-paced world. 

In today's highly competitive job market, emotional intelligence is increasingly viewed as a critical skill for success. Employers seek individuals who can communicate effectively, work collaboratively, and manage their emotions and stress levels in high-pressure situations, but emotional intelligence isn't just important for professional success.

It's also a vital component of healthy relationships, effective communication, and personal growth.

In this article, we will delve into the four pillars of emotional intelligence, explain why they matter, and provide practical tips for improving your emotional intelligence in the workplace. So whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, read on to discover how emotional intelligence can help you achieve your goals and why it is as important as it sounds. 


What's in this post?


What does Emotional Intelligence mean? 

The ability to recognize, use, and manage your own emotions in order to reduce stress, communicate positively and effectively, sympathize with others, overcome obstacles and diffuse conflict is known as emotional intelligence (also known as emotional quotient or EQ).

Emotional intelligence can help you develop stronger relationships, perform well at work and in educational settings, as well as reaching your professional and personal goals. Emotional intelligence can also assist you in establishing a connection with your emotions, putting your intentions into practice, and making informed decisions on what is most important to you. These decisions would be guided by your emotional awareness and will also help you navigate social interactions effectively,

Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for success in today's world, both in personal and professional contexts. Those who possess a high degree of emotional intelligence are better equipped to manage stress, work collaboratively, and build strong relationships. In short, emotional intelligence is a key factor in achieving success, happiness, and well-being.


What are the four pillars of emotional intelligence? 

There are four pillars of emotional intelligence that form the foundation of this critical skill set. These four pillars include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

  • Self-awareness involves understanding your own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and values. This awareness allows you to recognize how your emotions impact your thoughts, behavior, and decision-making.
  • Self-management involves regulating your emotions, managing stress, and adapting to change. By developing self-control and resilience, you can effectively manage difficult situations and maintain a positive outlook.
  • Social awareness involves being attuned to the emotions and needs of others. This allows you to effectively navigate social situations, communicate clearly, and build strong relationships.
  • Relationship management involves using your emotional awareness and social skills to manage interactions with others. This includes developing empathy, communicating effectively, and building trust.


Why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace?

Emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly important in the workplace, as it offers a range of benefits that can positively impact both individuals and organizations. Here are some of the key benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace:

Improved communication

Individuals with high emotional intelligence are able to communicate more effectively, both verbally and non-verbally. This leads to better collaboration, fewer misunderstandings, and more successful outcomes.

Enhanced teamwork Emotional intelligence enables individuals to work more effectively in teams. By recognizing and responding appropriately to the emotions of others, individuals with high emotional intelligence can build stronger relationships and foster a more supportive and collaborative work environment.
Better conflict resolution Conflict is an inevitable part of any workplace, but individuals with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to manage conflict effectively. By remaining calm and responding appropriately to the emotions of others, they can diffuse potentially volatile situations and find mutually beneficial solutions.
Increased empathy Emotional intelligence allows individuals to develop greater empathy for their colleagues, clients, and customers. This leads to a better understanding of the needs and desires of others, and enables individuals to build stronger relationships and provide better service.
Stronger leadership  Effective leaders require a high degree of emotional intelligence. By understanding and responding to the emotions of their team members, leaders can build trust and inspire motivation, leading to better outcomes and greater success.


How to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace?

Developing strong emotional intelligence can lead to improved communication, collaboration, and overall workplace success. Here are some strategies to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace:

  • Practice self-awareness: Start by paying attention to your own emotions and reactions in different situations. Take note of how you feel and what triggers certain emotions. This will help you better understand your own emotional responses and become more mindful of your behavior.
  • Improve your communication skills: Effective communication is key to building strong relationships and managing emotions in the workplace. Practice active listening, empathizing with others, and expressing yourself clearly and assertively.
  • Build empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and feel the emotions of others. To build empathy, try to put yourself in other people's shoes and see situations from their perspective. This will help you develop stronger relationships with your coworkers and create a more positive work environment.
  • Develop conflict resolution skills: Conflict is a natural part of any workplace, but it's important to handle it in a constructive way. Practice resolving conflicts by actively listening, acknowledging the other person's perspective, and finding a mutually beneficial solution.
  • Manage stress: Stress can negatively impact emotional intelligence, so it's important to learn how to manage it effectively. Take breaks when needed, practice mindfulness or meditation, and engage in physical exercise to reduce stress levels.
  • Seek feedback: Ask coworkers or supervisors for feedback on your emotional intelligence skills. This will help you identify areas for improvement and receive constructive criticism that can help you grow.

A man and a woman sitting on chairs opposite each other talking


Emotional intelligence vs behavioral intelligence 

Emotional intelligence and behavioral intelligence (BI) are key components of success in the workplace. Behavioral intelligence is the ability to watch and evaluate one's own and other people's behavior. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and manage one's own emotions and understand and influence the emotions of others. 

Emotional intelligence is a critical component of effective leadership, as it allows individuals to understand and manage their emotions and those of others. Those with significant emotional intelligence are better able to establish lasting bonds with others, communicate clearly, and manage disputes at work because they are better at understanding and responding to emotions. Individuals with strong behavioral intelligence tend to have superior situational awareness and the ability to predict other people's actions. 



Examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace 

There are many examples of how it can be applied in a variety of situations. Here are some examples of how emotional intelligence can be demonstrated in the workplace:

  • Having a positive reaction to new initiatives: You may demonstrate emotional intelligence by demonstrating that you're willing to take on new ideas or tasks. Positivity may show that you understand what your boss is asking of you and that you're prepared to put in the effort necessary to get the job done. By doing this, you may strengthen your connections and gain greater authority at work. By taking on initiatives, you can also demonstrate this trait by clarifying your responsibilities and gaining a better understanding of how things work by asking questions.
  • Being adaptable and flexible: Your emotional intelligence may be demonstrated by how quickly you can change course in the face of adversity without the help of your superiors. Being aware of the motivations behind these choices and sympathetic to those who are affected by them might help your reputation. By doing this, you could increase your coworkers' confidence in your ability to deliver and adjust to changing circumstances. Also, by taking on some of your coworkers' chores, you may help them out and possibly inspire them to do the same for you if the situation calls for it.
  • Showing emotional support:  Showing empathy for your coworkers will increase their confidence in you and make it easier for them to confide in you about their challenges. The best method to demonstrate your emotional intelligence is by assisting them in finding effective solutions to their challenges. Because you are able to recognize and effectively manage the emotions of others, you may be able to convince others that you are deserving of a leadership position.
  • Accepting criticism maturely: It might be difficult to accept criticism. When you accept criticism with excitement and make the necessary changes, you might demonstrate a high degree of emotional intelligence. Effectively completing this task can be crucial for both career and personal development. Together with accepting criticism, make an effort to offer helpful criticism when it's needed to your coworkers in order to help them improve.

Examples of emotional intelligence tests 

Emotional intelligence tests can be a very useful tool in the hiring process to evaluate a candidate's capacity for self-awareness, emotional regulation, and understanding of others' emotions. These are some examples of emotional quotient exams that can be applied for recruitment:

  • The Mayer-Salovey-Caurso (MSCEIT) Emotional Intelligence test: This is a widely recognized emotional intelligence test that evaluates emotional intelligence in four major areas: perceiving emotions, using emotions to help with thinking and decision-making, comprehending emotions, and controlling emotions.
  • The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-1 2.0): The Emotional Quotient Index A candidate's emotional intelligence is evaluated using a self-report questionnaire in five areas: self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal communication, decision-making, and stress management.
  • The Situational Judgement Test (SJT): In this test, applicants are given real-life circumstances and are asked to select the best response in their opinion. This can be used to evaluate a candidate's capacity for emotion control in various contexts.
  • The Bar-on Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i): This emotional intelligence test is a further self-report test that measures emotional intelligence in five major areas—interpersonal, intrapersonal, stress management, adaptability, and overall mood—is presented here.
  • The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire: This self-report test measures 15 different aspects of emotional intelligence in candidates, including empathy, social skills, emotion control, and perception of emotions.



With Retorio's AI Coaching platform, you and your company will be able to move onto the next level of success within your team and build strong, positive employees! Want to learn more? Click the button below and get started!

Try for free




1. How does an AI Coaching platform differ from a traditional coaching platform? 

An AI Coaching platform offers you more than just personalized training experiences. It also provides you with personalized real-time feedback on your development progress, and allows you to continuously transform your potential and drive sustainable winning behavior change. An AI Coaching platform also does not rely on a human coach and can be accessible anywhere at any time. On the other hand, a traditional coaching platform typically relies on human coaches to deliver guidance and support, which may be less scalable and may not offer the same level of personalized insights as AI-driven platforms.


2. Is behavioral intelligence the same as emotional intelligence? 

While there is some overlap between behavioral intelligence and emotional intelligence, they are distinct concepts. Behavioral intelligence focuses on predicting behavior based on observable cues, while emotional intelligence focuses on understanding and managing emotions. Both types of intelligence can be important in personal and professional relationships, but they involve different sets of skills and abilities.



Anna Schosser

I create engaging and informative content about the importance of artificial intelligence and video-based AI technology for recruitment. I discuss cutting-edge AI developments and new technology with storytelling skills.