Emotional Intelligence and Why It Matters

I bet when you were growing up, and maybe even to this day, you’ve been told that you have to be smarter (IQ) if you want to make it in life. Social media sites are flush with various tests you can take to determine how smart you are. But what researchers have discovered is that your Intelligence Quotient (IQ), while important, is not the sine quo non of your success. Something more primal in your brain will take you farther than what you learned in a book.

Emotional Intelligenceand why it matters

Formally it is called Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQi), but we’ll call it Emotional Intelligence.

Think about that person you know who isn’t necessarily book smart, but they sure are street smart. You know who I’m talking about. The person who has made something of their life because they understood themselves really well and were able to navigate relationships with a variety of people. They had emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is how you manage yourself and your relationships. Emotional intelligence has four elements you need to know so you can improve them:

  1. Self-Awareness: Are you not only aware of your own emotions but also how those emotions affect you and your interactions with other people? Do you have an accurate appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses? Do you play to your strengths and ask for help with your weaknesses? Emotionally intelligent people have an accurate self-assessment.
  2. Self-Management: You may know your emotions and how they will manifest, but are you in control of your emotions, or do you have enough self-control to keep your emotions from negatively impacting your work and your relationships? Do you keep yourself going when it gets tough or do you shorten the finish line so it isn’t as hard to reach your goal? Emotionally intelligent people are in control of themselves, and they keep going until they reach the goal.
  3. Social Awareness: Can you understand what people are communicating beyond their words? Do you pick up on the underlying culture in the office? Do you make yourself approachable to followers and clients? Emotionally intelligent people use empathy to interpret what people are saying and are tuned into the atmosphere around them.
  4. Relationship Management: Do people resonate with you when you present a vision for the future? Can you persuade people who are initially resistant? Do you mediate conflict? Are you the person who draws together a team? Emotionally intelligent people lead with resonance, influence others toward a shared mission, solve problems, and build teams.

These four elements comprise emotional intelligence. The good news is that unlike IQ, you can drastically improve your emotional intelligence over time. The adaptability we have to the ever-changing circumstances of life give us the ability to improve our emotional intelligence.

Research suggests that emotional intelligence is the greatest single predictor of star performance and success in life and the workplace.

Question: Now that you know the basics of emotional intelligence, which of the four elements is your greatest strength, and in which of them do you have the most room for improvement? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Jimmy’s PhD studies have centered around emotional intelligence and leadership. For more great content delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to this website using the widget to the right or in the footer of this page.


I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or downright annoying.

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