Emotional Intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotions are involved in everything we do, every action, decision and thought.

Emotional intelligence is attracting a lot of attention because of its link to job performance. Emotions play a central role in our lives. They underpin our behaviour. Emotional competence, then, has a direct bearing on our behaviour.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of our emotions, to understand and observe them. In a nutshell, it is the ability to manage our own emotions and to manage relationships.

Sparrow and Knight put it this way in Applied EI (2006):

Emotional intelligence is the habitual practice of:

                                  using emotional information from ourselves and other people,

                                  integrating this with our thinking;

                                  using these to inform our decision making to help us get what we want from

                                  the immediate situation and from life in general.

(http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Applied_Emotional_Intelligence.html?id=g8JbuP9rrpoC&redir_esc=y) – page 32.


Emotional intelligence has a bearing on every aspect of your life:

  • the quality of your relationships – with your spouse, children, parents, friends and colleagues.
  • your job performance or successful running of a business
  • the quality of the relationship you have with yourself – the level of contentment, wellbeing and happiness you experience in life
  • your health –  research in the field of neuroscience and biochemistry clearly demonstrate that your emotions determine how well your body functions. It has been scientifically shown that emotions regulate our physiological systems such as the digestive system, immune system, endocrine system, state of health of your heart and lungs, cell renewal and maintenance.


In summary, there are two key aspects regarding emotional intelligence:

  1. Awareness of, understanding and management of one’s own emotions
  2. The ability to perceive the emotions of others and relationship management.