What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is a frequently-used term in today’s business circles.  It refers to your ability to identify your own emotions and the emotions of others and respond appropriately.

Emotional intelligence is, in a sentence, understanding emotions and acting like a grownup.


Of course, there's much more to emotional intelligence.

More specifically, four characteristics of emotional intelligence are the:

  • Ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others
  • Ability to respond appropriately to emotions
  • Ability to control your own emotions
  • Ability to influence a desired emotional response in others

Does Emotional Intelligence Actually Work?

Think about how children's behavior is affected by the behavior of an adult. Experienced educators know that, by maintaining their personal state of calm, they can help to de-escalate excited children.

It even works across species. Think about how your dogs react to you. When you're excited, they tend to get excited. When you're calm, they tend to calm down.

There's a great story from the early days of the Iraq conflict in which Army Colonel Christopher Hughes used emotional intelligence skills to de-escalate a tense situation. You can read it here.

On the next page is a video in which a man displays a total lack of emotional intelligence skill. He is aggressive, demeaning, and profane. (Don't worry. I bleeped out any offensive dialogue!)

The result of his behavior is not what he is hoping for! Click the button below to watch the video.