Emotional intelligence decoded

Emotional intelligence has been a buzzword in the corporate arena for many years now.

Prospective job applicants all over the world undergo psychometric testing to determine their suitability for a job. Your future might very well rely on the outcome of such a test. Although most of us are well adjusted and considered “normal” with regards to our ability to deal with the challenges we face in the working environment, we all have blind spots and weaknesses that are worth investigating and improving on.

What are the main characteristics of an emotionally intelligent person?

Different models have slightly different areas of focus, but the main ones that are present in all of them are as follows:

  • Self awareness: the ability to introspect and self reflect; to know one’s own strengths and weaknesses and their impact on others
  • Perceiving emotions: the ability to detect emotions from facial expressions and body language. This is important as perception is necessary in order to analyse.
  • Using emotions: the ability to use one’s emotions to function optimally (specifically in the workplace)
  • Managing emotions: the ability to know when the display of certain emotions is appropriate and constructive or not.
  • Empathy: the ability to consider other people’s feelings when making decisions that will affect them
  • Motivation: The ability to self-motivate and achieve specific goals.

Is Emotional Intelligence real?

Some professionals in the scientific fraternity have questioned the validity of the measurement of emotional intelligence and it has even been disputed whether emotional intelligence is a form of intelligence at all. The prolific use of EI measurements by corporate seem to indicate that broader society does find value in the system. A study conducted in 2012 examined the emotional intelligence of two hundred people, one hundred of whom were addicted to marijuana. The results showed that the addicts scored significantly lower in EI and self esteem. A similar study found that recovering addicts can improve their EI with sufficient therapy during recovery.

How to raise emotionally intelligent children?

Parenting is an extremely complex role and probably the most important undertaking any adult will ever make. Every parent will make mistakes at some point, but it is useful to examine one’s own weaknesses to ensure that the same weaknesses aren’t instilled in one’s children. Here are some basic tips. (You can also use them to figure out where your own weaknesses came from during childhood).

  • Empathise: Allowing your child the opportunity to express him/herself releases some of the confusion and stress that comes with complex emotions that they may not yet understand. Empathizing with them will ensure that they don’t feel alone. This will lower anxiety levels and help your child to deal better with anxiety as an adult.
  • Acknowledge their perspective: Even though you know better, acknowledging their point of view will help them accept a different one. Children develop respect for different views by experiencing it themselves.
  • Listen to how they feel: If you allow your child a platform to express how they feel, they will be more likely to allow themselves to express as adults without having outbursts of anger. Calm deliberation is a habit that is learnt during childhood through empathetic parenting.
  • Teach problem solving techniques: Help your child learn how to let go of their overwhelming emotions by suggesting solutions. Only do this after you have allowed them to vent though! When they have reached a calm state, offer some ideas for them to try out. This will encourage them to be proactive when they are adults instead of getting stuck in the emotion.

is a freelance musician and writer. She is thoroughly curious about everything and enjoys sharing her thoughts with the world.


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