Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence: Why is it important?

There can be no doubt that time spent developing emotional intelligence is time spent developing performance. So why don't we invest enough in to it?

The good news is that organisations are increasing investing more on developing emotional intelligence. Some organisations even go to the extent of hiring or promoting based on the level of emotional intelligence a candidate possesses.

So what exactly is emotional intelligence and why is it so important? Simply put, emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself and others. The competencies required to be emotionally intelligent are no different from the competencies required to be a high-performance leader.

Daniel Goleman's Four Domains of Emotional Intelligence is in our view, one of the most robust models for understanding emotional intelligence. Here's a snapshot of the 4 domains and some tips to help you develop your emotional intelligence.


Self Awareness

Self Awareness is the ability to understand one's emotions and their impact on decision making. You can develop your Self Awareness by mastering the following competencies:

Emotional awareness

The ability to recognise one's emotions and their effects. Individuals with this competence:

  • Know which emotions you are feeling and why
  • Realize the links between your feelings and what you think, do, and say
  • Recognize how your feelings affect your performance
  • Have a guiding awareness of your values and goals

Self assessment

Self assessment is the ability to know one's strengths and limits. Individuals with this competence are:

  • Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
  • Practice active reflection and learn from your experiences
  • Be open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning and self-development
  • Show a sense of humour and perspective your themselves

Self confidence

Self confidence is the ability to know one's self-worth and capabilities. Individuals with this competence:

  • Learn how to project yourself with self-assurance and have presence
  • Don't be afraid to voice out unpopular views and go out on a limb for what is right
  • Learn how to be decisive and make sound decisions despite uncertainties and pressure


Self Management

Self management is the ability to manage one's emotions and adapt to change. You can develop your Self Management by mastering the following competencies:

Self Control

Self control is the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses. Individuals with this competence:

  • Learn how to manage unpopular impulsive feelings and distressing emotions
  • Learn how to stay composed, positive, and unflappable even in trying moments
  • Learn how to think clearly and stay focused under pressure


Transparency is the ability to maintain standards of honesty and integrity. Individuals with this competence:

  • Act ethically and are above reproach
  • Learn how to build trust through by being reliable and authentic
  • Admit your own mistakes and confront unethical actions in others
  • Don't be afraid to take tough, principled stands even if they are unpopular


Adaptability is the ability to be flexible in handling change. Individuals with this competence:

  • Learn how to handle multiple demands, shifting priorities and change rapidly
  • Adapt their responses and tactics to fit fluid circumstances
  • Be flexible in how you see events


Achievement is the ability to strive to improve or meet a standard of excellence. Individuals with this competence:

  • Focus on results. Drive to meet your objectives and standards
  • Set challenging goals and take calculated risks
  • Pursue information to reduce uncertainty and find ways to do better
  • Learn how to improve your performance


Initiative is the ability to be ready to act on opportunities. Individuals with this competence:

  • Be ready to seize opportunities
  • Pursue goals beyond what is required or expected of you
  • Cut through red tape and bend the rules when necessary to get the job done
  • Mobilise others through unusual, enterprising efforts


Optimism is the ability to persist in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks. Individuals with this competence:

  • Be persistent in seeking goals despite obstacles and setbacks
  • Operate from hope of success rather than fear of failure
  • See setbacks as due to manageable circumstance rather than a personal flaw


Social Awareness

Social Awareness is the ability to understand and react to the emotions of others. You can develop your Social Awareness by mastering the following competencies:


Empathy is the ability to sense the feelings and perspective or others, and taking an active interest in their concerns. Individuals with this competence:

  • Be attentive to emotional cues and listen well
  • Show sensitivity and understand others' perspectives
  • Help out based on understanding other people's needs and feelings

Organisational Awareness

Organisational awareness is the ability to read a group's emotional currents and power relationships. Individuals with this competence:

  • Learn how to accurately read key power relationships
  • Detect crucial social networks
  • Understand the forces that shape views and actions of clients, customers, or competitors
  • Accurately read situations and organizational and external realities

Service Oriented

Service oriented is the ability to recognise, anticipate, and meet the needs of customers. Individuals with this competence:

  • Understand customers' needs and match them to services or products
  • Seek ways to increase customers' satisfaction and loyalty
  • Gladly offer appropriate assistance
  • Grasp a customer's perspective, acting as a trusted advisor


Social Management

The ability to manage, inspire, influence and develop others. You can develop your Social Management by mastering the following competencies:

Developing Others

Developing others is the ability to sense what others need in order to develop, and bolstering their abilities. Individuals with this competence:

  • Acknowledge and reward people's strengths, accomplishments, and development
  • Offer useful feedback and identify people's needs for development
  • Mentor, give timely coaching, and offer assignments that challenge and grow a person's skills

Inspirational Leadership

Inspirational leadership is the ability to inspire and guide groups and people. Individuals with this competence:

  • Articulate and arouse enthusiasm for a shared vision and mission
  • Step forward to lead as needed, regardless of position
  • Guide the performance of others while holding them accountable
  • Lead by example

Change Catalyst

Change catalyst is the ability to initiate or manage change. Individuals with this competence:

  • Recognise the need for change and remove barriers
  • Challenge the status quo to acknowledge the need for change
  • Champion the change and enlist others in its pursuit
  • Model the change expected of others


Influence is the ability to use other people's emotions as effective tactics of persuasion. Individuals with this competence:

  • Are skilled at persuasion
  • Fine-tune presentations to appeal to the listener
  • Use complex strategies like indirect influence to build consensus and support
  • Orchestrate dramatic events to effectively make a point

Conflict Management

Conflict management is the ability to negotiate and resolve disagreements. Individuals with this competence:

  • Handle difficult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact
  • Spot potential conflict, bring disagreements into the open, and help deescalate
  • Encourage debate and open discussion
  • Orchestrate win-win solutions


Teamwork is the ability to create group synergy in pursuing collective goals. Individuals with this competence:

  • Model team qualities such as respect, helpfulness, and cooperation
  • Draw all members into active and enthusiastic participation
  • Build team identity, esprit de corps, and commitment
  • Protect the group and its reputation and share credit


Emotional intelligence is a skill, and like any skill, it can be developed.

Based on the work of Daniel Goleman and the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organisations.

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