LEADING SELF: Emotional Intelligence

In my ten years as an headhunter, I have never had someone raise their hand and declare that they need to work on their emotional intelligence. Yet I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard from people that the one thing their colleague needs to work on is emotional intelligence. This is the problem: those who most need to develop it are those who least realize it.


In fact, a high degree of emotional intelligence matters more for effective leadership than do technical skills or IQ.


The “Four Components” of emotional intelligence:

Self-Awareness: lies at the heart of emotional intelligence and has a great influence on our ability to develop competencies in the other Domains. It enables us to understand our own behavior and to sustain it over time despite setbacks.

Self-Management: is about how effectively we manage our own emotions and how well we control our responses to new or challenging situations.

Social Awareness: is concerned with how we manage the emotions of other people. It allows us to be aware of other people’s feelings, needs and concerns. Being attuned to other people’s emotions is key to building rapport.

Relationship Management: is the final domain. It is our ability to apply emotional understanding in our relationships with others. This is the visible side to emotional intelligence and is underpinned by the competencies in the other three Domains.


The “Four Components” model:




Emotional intelligence (EI) is based on competencies that can be learned with time and commitment to change. In fact, EI comprises the abilities to perceive and express emotions, understand emotions, and regulate emotions.


Perceiving and Expressing includes:

  • The ability to identify the emotions others feel

  • The ability to detect the authenticity of others’ emotional expressions

  • The ability to appraise one’s own emotions

  • The ability to express one’s own emotions clearly to others

Understanding includes:

  • The ability to comprehend emotional language

  • The ability to analyze the cause and effect between events and emotions

  • The ability to see how basic emotions combine to form complex emotions

Regulating includes:

  • The ability to determine whether current emotions are optimal in current circumstances and to modify them if necessary

  • The ability to select strategies to create desired emotions

  • The ability to deploy strategies to change emotions


Essentially, emotional intelligence is not a single skill, but rather a combination of awareness, analysis, and application. With increased self-awareness at attention to the dynamics of emotional intelligence, EI can become rooted in everyones behaviour.


Source and inspiration: University of Colorado and Harvard University

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