Most of us are familiar with IQ or intelligence quotient – the supposed measurement of how smart you are. But what if there is another type of intelligence that could have more effect on your life than your IQ? Read on to learn more about emotional intelligence and why it is so important.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a type of intelligence that refers to a person’s ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some people say that EI can be learnt and improved, while others say that it is something that you are born with.
One model says that there are four different factors within emotional intelligence: the perception of emotion, the ability to reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotions, and the ability to manage emotions.
We are all familiar with the standard type of intelligence in the form of the intelligence quotient or IQ. However, the IQ on its own cannot fully account for why people succeed or fail. It is interesting to note that social scientists believe that only 20 to 30 percent of a person’s outcome is accounted for by the IQ. Emotional intelligence may be a way of explaining why some people do better than others, and it may do so more accurately than IQ can. Emotional intelligence is an important part of our overall intelligence as it allows people to understand and recognise the role of emotions in life, as emotions surround us. It allows people to relate to others, to understand the subtle complexities in a situation, and most importantly, to understand themselves.
Emotionally intelligent people are able to:
• be self aware in what they are feeling and be able to think about and express these feelings
• have empathy for others
• have an insight into how other people think
• are able to delay their own gratification
• are optimistic and generally positive people
• are able to understand the dynamics of a group and where they fit in
There are different tests that may be used to measure emotional intelligence. These include:
• Reuven Bar-On’s EQ-I – this is a test that is designed to measure a person’s competency in areas such as awareness, tolerance of stress, problem solving, and happiness.
• Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS) – this is a test in which the person performs tasks that are designed to assess their ability to perceive, identify, understand and use emotions.
• Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ) – this test measures optimism and pessimism.
• Emotional Competence Inventory – this test involves having people that know the person being tested give ratings of the person’s abilities on a number of different emotional competencies.