Emotional Intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence?

"Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person and to the right degree, at
the right time and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not easy"
The concept of emotional intelligence is not a new one. Daniel Goleman may have popularised the concept, but it can be tracked back to an American Psychologist named Edward Thorndike (1920), who suggested that social intelligence is the ability to understand and manage people whilst acting wisely in human relations (sound familiar?).

Several decades later Gardner (1983) considered interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence, defining them as:

  • Interpersonal intelligence: recognising a person's ability to process and understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people and to work well with others.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence: looks at the extent to which you are able to understand yourself; your desires, fears and capacities in order to regulate your life.

Drawing on this we can provide a practical definition of EMotional Intelligence (EI): a collection of traits that can help people gauge social and emotional situations and interactions with others. This set of traits is considered critical in today's complex contexts, particularly in leadership roles.

Do I high or low emotional intelligence?

Measuring Emotional Intelligence in this way suggests that it is directly measureable and that there is a right or wrong/good or bad result. This is borne out by the use of ability testing in the most common EI testing platforms.

We favour the use of the trait based assessment developed by K V Petrides (2001), which means that there is no right/wrong, good or bad and that people can easily develop the traits necessary for effective EI. Notice that we are not stating "high" EI: remember it is not about the score, it is about the ability to use the traits (and use them more or less, like a volume control) in each situation.

The Trait approach views EI as a collection of 15 traits that can be measured using self-report questionnaires, which ask individuals to rate their own perceived abilities relating to various emotional characteristics, such as happiness, empathy or emotional management.

Using the trait approach leads to deeper conversations and heightened self-awareness without the concern of being high or low.

We use the trait based approach to support individuals to develop their emotional intellgence, incorporating self reporting and face to face feedback.


Contact details

Please contact us using the following details, or via our online enquiry form.

0844 549 9007