Monday, October 15The Voice of London

Why should I care about my emotional intelligence?



From making new friends to successfully starting off a career, emotional intelligence will help you to achieve this and much more. Here is why.

Reporter: Alina Isachenka| Sub-Editor: Jack Leslie

As the EI phenomena went mainstream on the brink of 21st century people started to question what it is and its relevance to improving own lives.

In simple terms, emotional intelligence – or so-called EI – is your own ability to learn about your emotions and the emotions of others, and to use this knowledge effectively at building on social and work-life.

Although emotional intelligence is a body of research that is difficult to summarise, here are some key points to consider when improve your EI.

 Self-awareness – just feel it

All of us experience different emotions throughout the day. Whether you feel stressed to hit a deadline at work or frustrated with the exam result, the worst thing is to ignore this feeling and to get busy with other stuff. Being self-aware – one of the core skills of the Emotional Intelligence – means allowing your mind to calm down and experience the emotions as they happen. As professor of an emotional intelligence Konstantinos Petrides puts it: “Emotional intelligence ultimately concerns self-knowledge; it is about our perceptions of ourselves and of the world.” Ultimately, being aware of your emotions will enable you to positively navigate your own behaviour.

Emotional intelligence can help you to make more money

Does Emotional Intelligence have an impact on your work? Yes, it does! A recent study by the EI think-tank Talent Smart showed that higher emotional intelligence level enhance performance at work, accounting for 58% of success across all the job sectors. People on senior positions tend to have high levels of an EI. Talent Smart also found that people with higher EI earn more money – on average $29,000 (£23,273) more per year than those with the lower degrees of EI. With this finding in hand, developing your own EI is not only emotionally but also financially beneficial.

The art of observing others

Being emotionally intelligent is not just about learning your own feelings. On the contrary, one of the most important aspects of EI is to learn the emotions of others. Analysing how people feel either by talking to them or through noticing their body language improves interactions with them. Relationship management is extremely important, as it’s equally relevant to both professional and social environments. Whether talking to your family member or going for lunch with a work-colleague make sure to spend some time observing people’s emotions – this may change your relationships with them for the better.

EI is different from IQ

Whether Emotional intelligence is different from IQ is one of the most popular questions to ask when it comes to learning the EI. There is no correlation between IQ and EI; the higher levels of IQ do not heighten your emotional level. Just like the different parts of our brain both kinds of intelligence help to achieve the results in different fields. To put it in practical context, high IQ levels boost your performance on an academic test, while the emotional intelligence helps to establish good relationships with your classmates.

You can develop your EI

While there is an ongoing debate as to whether the IQ results can be increased over a period of time, the practice of improving an emotional intelligence is almost certain, with the techniques and practices available out there. The neurological research has proved that the so-called ‘plasticity’ or growth of the brain increases as we learn new emotional intelligence strategies. The main challenge is to find a will to do that. “Few people who are still under the impression that they can somehow extract lasting success and fulfilment from the external world will develop a keen interest in self-understanding,” says professor Petrides.

Want to learn more about the emotional intelligence? Listen to this podcast with the EI professor Dino Petrides who is also a director of Trait emotional intelligence research programme in London: