How Emotionally Intelligent are You?

Boosting Your People Skills

Long grass in sunlight.

High emotional intelligence helps you stay calm and positive in the face of adversity.

© iStockphoto/spooh

We all know people who are in full control of their emotions. They're calm in a crisis, and they make decisions sensitively, however stressful the situation.

We also know people who can read the emotions of others. They understand what to say to make people feel better, and they know how to inspire them to take action.

People like this have high emotional intelligence (EI). They have strong relationships, and they manage difficult situations calmly and effectively. They're also likely to be resilient in the face of adversity.

So, how emotionally intelligent are you, and how can you develop further? Find out below.

How Emotionally Intelligent are You?

Instructions:

Evaluate each statement as you actually are, rather than as you think you should be. When you've finished, click "Calculate My Total", and use the table that follows to think about next steps.

   15 Statements to Answer

Not
at All
Rarely Some
times
Often Very
Often
1 I can recognize my emotions as I experience them.
2 I lose my temper when I feel frustrated.
3 People have told me that I’m a good listener.
4 I know how to calm myself down when I feel anxious or upset.
5 I enjoy organizing groups.
6 I find it hard to focus on something over the long term.
7 I find it difficult to move on when I feel frustrated or unhappy.
8 I know my strengths and weaknesses.
9 I avoid conflict and negotiations.
10 I feel that I don't enjoy my work.
11 I ask people for feedback on what I do well, and how I can improve.
12 I set long-term goals, and review my progress regularly.
13 I find it difficult to read other people's emotions.
14 I struggle to build rapport with others.
15 I use active listening skills when people speak to me.
Calculate My Total
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
15-34

You need to work on your emotional intelligence. You may find that you feel overwhelmed by your emotions, especially in stressful situations; or, you may avoid conflict because you think that you'll find it distressing.

It's likely, too, that you find it hard to calm down after you've felt upset, and you may struggle to build strong working relationships.

Don't worry – there are plenty of ways that you can build emotional intelligence, starting now. Read our tips below to find out more.

35-55

Your emotional intelligence level is... OK.

You probably have good relationships with some of your colleagues, but others may be more difficult to work with.

The good news is that you have a great opportunity to improve your working relationships significantly. Read more below to boost your EI still further.

56-75

Great! You're an emotionally intelligent person. You have great relationships, and you probably find that people approach you for advice.

However, when so many people admire your people skills, it's easy to lose sight of your own needs. Read our tips below to find out how you can continue to build your EI.

Researchers have found that emotionally intelligent people often have great leadership potential. Realize this potential by seeking opportunities to improve even further.

Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence

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, and 11)

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, and 7)

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

(Question 6, 10, and 12)

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

(Question 3, 13, and 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

(Question 5, 9, and 14)

Even if you're not a natural "people person," it is possible to develop good 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 (EI) is incredibly important for a successful career. When we have high levels of EI, 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 EI:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

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

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Click here for more, subscribe to our free newsletter, or become a member for just $1.

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Comments (6)
  • nmmac wrote Over a month ago
    Excellent analysis - very helpful going forward.
  • James G. wrote Over a month ago
    Outstanding... EI is often overlooked or at least under emphasized as an important success metric.
  • Yolande wrote Over a month ago
    Hi vsnow

    I just did the test and was able to calculate the total. Please try it again. Once you've clicked on calculate total it should give you a score on the right hand side. Also make sure that answered all the questions. If you still struggle, please let us know.

    Yolandé
  • vsnow wrote Over a month ago
    Hi there, I'm struggling to calculate my total. The Calculate Total link doesn't seem to work for me?
  • Midgie wrote Over a month ago
    Hi Bree,
    Glad to hear that you found the quiz of benefit to brush up on some things you already know.

    Sometimes we call can benefit from reminders to do things differently. It is easy to fall back into old habits and patterns that do not serve us. So, reminders every now and again help us to get back on track.

    I'm curious, what other reminders have you, and other members, had lately to help you get back on track?

    Midgie
  • Bree wrote Over a month ago
    Hi everyone,
    I consider that I have good emotional intelligence, yet saying that, it was still interesting to do this quiz and brush up on a few things. I also appreciated all the links to additional resources.

    Many of us can benefit from reviewing our skills and our approaches to situations, and this was a great review! Thanks.

    Bree

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