FAQ: What Are Key Components of Emotional Intelligence?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 8, 2022 | Published July 13, 2021

Updated September 8, 2022

Published July 13, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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Having emotional intelligence can help you maintain lasting connections with colleagues, peers and family members. It's important to understand how a person's feelings can affect their conduct and everyday life to maintain an optimal environment for positive interactions and personal growth. By learning the components of emotional intelligence, you can determine which aspects to develop in the future.

In this article, we answer questions about what emotional intelligence is, the benefits of developing it and describe its five key components with strategies on how to practice them.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own feelings and the responses of other people. Having emotional intelligence typically means you can understand which factors cause your emotions and how those factors can influence your behavior. People can practice the five core components of emotional intelligence every day to learn more about why they react to certain situations and how to best address them, which can allow you to increase your overall capabilities.

Read more: Emotional Intelligence: Definition and Examples

What are the benefits of developing emotional intelligence?

Consider the following benefits of developing the five core components of emotional intelligence:

  • Becoming a constructive leader: People who can understand and address the emotional needs of others can become effective leaders in multiple fields and industries. They can help you instill trust in others about your capacity to maintain active communication in your job position.

  • Developing stronger relationships: Emotional intelligence can help you develop deeper relationships with the people you encounter every day, including your colleagues, peers and family members. You can also better support their endeavors, taking an active role in their lives.

  • Building self-confidence: Having successful interactions with other people can help you build confidence in multiple areas of your life, including the workplace. Emotional intelligence can also allow you to become more confident about stating your point of view.

  • Resolving conflicts with more ease: If you can understand the emotional nuances of a situation, including which external factors are relevant, you can better address it and learn how to prevent it from happening in the future. People often appreciate an ability to resolve situations efficiently in multiple areas of life.

  • Improving a work environment: By communicating effectively with other people, you can nurture a work environment that's helpful to developing positive relationship development and career growth. You can also better devise new strategies for improving it in the future.

  • Managing time effectively: Understanding how your own emotions work can help you create more accurate timelines and better manage your schedule. For instance, if you understand how you feel about a certain project, you can determine helpful ways to motivate yourself and predict how long you might take to complete it.

  • Adjusting to new situations quickly: Emotional intelligence can help you accept and address new emotions, which may allow you to adapt to changes more efficiently. For instance, if your workplace changes a policy that affects your daily schedule, having certain skills can help you manage your emotional reaction to this new event so you can incorporate it into your work conduct.

Related: The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

What are the key components of emotional intelligence?

Consider the five key components of emotional intelligence and strategies for increasing your capabilities:

Self-awareness

Self-awareness involves the ability to perceive what your emotions are at a particular time and how your mood and conduct may affect other individuals. Self-aware people can also recognize both their core strengths and areas to improve in the future. They may enjoy new experiences, which can help them understand aspects of their personality and demeanor. To practice self-awareness, it's important to track your emotional responses throughout the day so you can learn what stimuli might cause them.

Here are some methods for enhancing your self-awareness:

  • Ask someone for feedback on your conduct. Learning about your emotions can help you better monitor your conduct. It may be helpful to ask a colleague for an informal evaluation of your actions during a recent project.

  • Write about your experiences in a journal. Examine your emotional responses in a private journal regularly. Some people enjoy journaling in the morning to begin the day with more self-awareness, while others prefer to their day by journaling at night to reflect on their conduct.

  • Think about each situation logically: If you feel inclined to react with emotions, consider taking extra time to process a situation in more detail and reflect on the feelings of other people involved. For instance, you may discover key insight that changes your first assessment, giving you the chance to alter your reaction.

Related: 55 Tips for How To Improve Emotional Intelligence

Self-regulation

Self-regulation involves the capacity to control your emotional responses and express them conscientiously. People who can self-regulate typically hold themselves accountable for their actions and can preserve a certain demeanor during any situation that arises. They may also remain positive and patient while solving issues, able to accept their emotions so they can take care of them at a later time when they can better address their needs. For example, if a person standing next to you expresses frustration with a situation, you can use self-regulation skills to remain calm and offer help.

Consider the following strategies for regulating your emotions:

  • Assess your bodily needs. You can consume food with a high nutritional value and maintain a consistent sleep schedule to give yourself a stronger foundation for regulating emotions. It may also be helpful to incorporate an exercise routine that best suits your preferences.

  • Practice meditation or similar exercises. Learn how to regulate your breathing and gain awareness about how emotions can affect your body. Some people benefit from meditating for ten minutes every day to give themselves the time and space to assess how they're feeling and better accept how they're reacting.

  • Express yourself through an art form. Adopt an artistic practice, like singing or painting, to express your emotions in a unique way. Art can also help you connect with other people, share your experiences and understand how your reactions can affect others.

Internal motivation

Internal motivation involves the capability to set goals and achieve them. People who can self-motivate can dedicate themselves to a particular goal by focusing on their interests and passions. They also typically have the initiative to learn new skills, seek methods to improve their conduct and remain optimistic about the future. For example, if you encounter an obstacle during the day, internal motivation can help you discover effective ways to overcome it and give you the drive to succeed.

Here are examples of strategies to increase your motivation:

  • Focus on the aspects of life that encourage you to achieve. Think about which endeavors make you feel happy and content. For many people, this can include a career, some active hobbies, family activities and social events. Make a promise to yourself to prioritize these endeavors in your everyday life.

  • Set some short-term and long-term goals. Determine a few goals to accomplish in a day, a week and a year. This practice can help you include your interests in your daily schedule and learn strategies for achieving them that best work for you.

  • Practice a positive mindset during the day. Approach situations with an intention to make improvements and learn new lessons to incorporate into your life. For example, if you approach a work project with a positive mindset, you can better encourage yourself to make useful plans and solve any arising issues.

Related: How To Set and Achieve Goals

Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to comprehend another person's feelings and circumstances, then choose to listen and assist them. Empathetic people often show concern for other individuals and understand the best way to respond to their feelings. They also know how to approach emotions in a social dynamic, particularly between people with different perspectives. To practice empathy, it's important to remain aware of the people around you and assess how social dynamics operate in different situations, including public spaces like a workplace.

Consider the following methods to strengthen your ability to empathize:

  • Understand the circumstances of others from their perspective. Approach another person's circumstances by learning how they developed their point of view. For example, when speaking to another person about their experiences, it may be helpful to listen carefully so you can ask relevant questions about their life.

  • Develop a strong values system. Reflect on your beliefs and previous actions to better understand how to approach another person's concerns. If you understand the core values that influence your decisions, you increase your ability to express empathy.

  • Volunteer at an organization: Participating in a community-centered event can help you learn about the experiences of other people and how to approach varied social situations. It can also allow you to assess practical strategies for helping others in particular contexts.

Social skills

Social skills involve the ability to have positive and meaningful interactions with other people in multiple areas of life. They typically incorporate strong skills in communication, teamwork and collaboration. People with social skills can more easily build relationships with colleagues, convey their ideas to others and engage in activities with their peers. For example, if you enter a new social situation like a new job or an industry event, social skills can allow you to connect with people with different personality traits and network more effectively.

Here are some strategies for developing your social skills:

  • Show appreciation for other people. When a person helps you accomplish a task or listens to you share an experience, you can help them in return or gift an item to express gratitude and maintain a connection. For example, if you know they enjoy a particular type of coffee, you can purchase it for them the next morning.

  • Ask questions with many potential answers. Make inquiries about another person's life that allow them to discuss multiple details, which also gives you the opportunity to share your own experiences in response. This strategy can help you develop your communication skills and build relationships with others.

  • Practice active listening during interactions. When a person discusses aspects of their life, use nonverbal indicators, like eye contact or nodding, to show you're focusing intently on what they're saying. After they're done, you can ask clarifying questions and reiterate their responses to show you're interested and engaged.


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