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Psychologist Daniel Goleman identified five elements that make up emotional intelligence. These are:

1. Self-awareness.

2. Self-regulation.

3. Motivation.

4. Empathy.

5. Social skills.

Let’s look at how you can develop good skills in each area.

Self-Awareness

(Questions 1, 8, 11)

Your score is 15 out of 15  

In his 1996 book “ Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More Than IQ ,” Goleman explained that people with high self-awareness are “aware of their moods as they are having them.”

To increase  self-awareness   , learn about  mindfulness   . This involves focusing on the present moment – including how you’re feeling. And keep a  journal    in which you write about and analyze the emotional situations you experience from day to day.

You also need to understand your strengths and weaknesses to build self-awareness. Do a  personal SWOT analysis   , and  ask for feedback    from your boss, friends, and trusted colleagues to find out how you can improve further.

Self-Regulation

(Questions 2, 4, 7)

Your score is 11 out of 15  

Self-regulation is about staying in control. To develop your skills in this area, learn how to  manage your emotions    effectively.

If you often get  angry   , note what triggers this feeling, and think about why this happens. Use techniques such as  deep breathing    to calm yourself down, and give yourself time to pause before you respond to emails or requests, so that you don’t say something that you’ll later regret. (See our article on  anger management    to learn more about this.)

You may also be affected by other negative feelings and emotions, such as  anxiety    and  stress   . So, do what you can to manage these feelings effectively.

Accountability    is another important element of self-regulation. Take responsibility for your actions and behaviors, and make sure that these align with your  values   .

Motivation

(Questions 6, 10, 12)

Your score is 15 out of 15  

Self-motivation is strongly affected by your emotions. When you’re distracted by your emotions, you may find it hard to see tasks through.

Boost your motivation levels    by developing  self-discipline   , and by looking for and celebrating  small wins   – simple jobs that, when you’ve completed them, give you a sense of achievement.

Also, set yourself longer-term  goals   . When you decide what you want to achieve, you’ll focus on what really matters to you. This can be highly motivating, especially when you connect personal goals with career-related ones.

If you’re still struggling to get motivated in your current role, take some time to rediscover your purpose   .

Empathy

(Questions 3, 13, 15)

Your score is 14 out of 15  

Empathy is the ability to recognize other people’s emotions and understand their perspectives. Goleman calls this aspect of EI “the fundamental people skill.”

To develop  empathy   , start by simply thinking about other people’s viewpoints. Imagine how they may be feeling, and use  active listening skills    to understand them fully when they express their emotions to you.

Try not to interrupt or talk about your own feelings during the conversation. Look at their  body language   , too: it can tell you a lot about their emotions. If you watch and listen to others, you’ll quickly become attuned to how they feel. (The  Perceptual Positions    technique can give you a particularly sharp insight into what other people may be thinking and feeling.)

Tip:

If you’re a leader, read our article “What’s Empathy Got to do With it?” for tips on using empathy in leadership.

Social Skills

(Questions 5, 9, 14)

Your score is 14 out of 15  

Even if you’re not a natural “people person,” it is possible to develop better social skills.

Start by taking our  quiz    to see which communication skills you need to improve on. Then, find out how you can  develop trust    and rapport   with people – this is an essential part of building  good working relationships   .

Don’t shy away from negative situations, either. Learn how to  deal with conflict   and other difficult situations effectively.

If you’re uncomfortable with social situations, work on building  self-confidence   . Start slowly, but then look for opportunities to practice your skills with bigger groups. For example, you could offer to attend conferences on behalf of your team.

Key Points

Developing high emotional intelligence (or EI) is incredibly important for a successful career. When we have high levels of emotional intelligence, we’re able to build strong working relationships and manage difficult situations more effectively.

Influential psychologist Daniel Goleman developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:

1. Self-awareness.

2. Self-regulation.

3. Motivation.

4. Empathy.

5. Social skills.

Even if you already have many of the elements of emotional intelligence, it’s important to look for opportunities to build it further. This will increase your leadership potential, and improve the quality of your relationships.

For more detail, see our full emotional intelligence article and video   and take a look at our infographic.

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