The Components of Emotional Intelligence

communication components of emotional intelligence effective communication emotional intelligence human behavior leadership leadership culture leadership development model of human behavior why is emotional intelligence important May 26, 2021
Components of Emotional Intelligence

Since we now have a fairly solid grasp on Why Emotional Intelligence is Important, let’s look at what are considered to be the components of emotional intelligence so we can have some hope of actually being able to develop it within ourselves and within the teams we’re responsible for leading.

Around 2,500 years ago, Socrates said “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” I never met the guy personally, but everything I’ve heard points to him being a fairly smart dude… And if emotional intelligence really does account for 58% of performance in all types of jobs, knowing thyself probably is a fairly important thing to have in the mix! When we look at what I’ve seen referenced by multiple sources as the four components of emotional intelligence, the first thing we come to is Self-Awareness. In Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry defines self-awareness as “your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations.”

That sounds fairly simple, until we’re neck deep in any given moment and the last thing we’re concerned about is analyzing our feelings… By the time we’re covered up in a situation, we typically just want (or need) to do anything we possibly can to push through and get some sort of result without burning any bridges in the process - and that doesn’t even touch on those tense situations! (I’m kidding - kind of…)

I don’t believe I can even count the number of times over the last 30 years or so that my dad has told me that I’d get more patient as I got older. So far, only one of those things seems to have happened! At 45 years old, I’m still incredibly impatient… Realizing that didn’t require all that much detective work. But understanding why was an entirely different story, and something I was never able to put my finger on until just a few years ago.

I’m guessing you can relate my example at least a little bit. Maybe you’re impatient too… Regardless of what specific emotion came to your mind when I shared that, we all intuitively know some of the emotions we’re likely to experience in various situations. But understanding WHY we respond (or react) one way or another is completely different than just knowing how we’re likely to respond!

About 100 years ago, a guy named William Marston did an exhaustive amount of research studying human behavior. From that work, he published a book called The Emotions of Normal People. His effort served as the foundation for several resources that are widely used throughout our society today - whether we realize it ties back to him or not! One piece of that work has proven to be the most effective tool I’ve found in the last two decades for helping me understand WHY I respond certain ways in different situations; it’s really provided me with a solid framework for developing the kind of self-awareness that Bradberry defined!

In the next post, I’ll go a bit deeper into that particular tool and I’ll share how I’ve been able to use it to get better with the second component of emotional intelligence, self-management...