What is Emotional Intelligence and why is it important? How can it help you live a more successful life?  How can it help you to improve your performance at work, and enhance your personal and professional relationships? Understanding how emotional intelligence works can be the answer to many puzzling questions you may have.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is often described as an ability or a trait that makes it possible for individuals to “perceive, understand, use, and manage emotions, in themselves as well as in others.” What this really means is that individuals who are emotionally intelligent are able to understand the visual cues from others, which reveal how they are feeling.

Emotional intelligence also makes it possible for individuals to understand more clearly how they feel under different situations. Individuals who are emotionally intelligent also know how others understand their emotions and how they could be affecting others.  In other words, emotional intelligence reveals how individuals see others and how others see them.

When is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Emotional intelligence becomes important in relating to individuals on an everyday basis.  Persons who are emotionally intelligent are therefore at an advantage in being able to ‘read’ their own emotions and the emotions of the other people with whom they may be interacting. These individuals are therefore in a position where they can regulate their own emotions to suit the circumstances.

Emotional intelligence is important in relating to others: your parents, your friends, your partners, your boss, your coworkers, and other people you meet in different everyday situations.

Emotional Intelligence in Your Home Life

Relating to your parents, your siblings, or your children can become tense at times.  Part of the reason for this may be misunderstanding of situations or miscommunications.  An example of this could involve a parent coming home after a hard day’s work and not understanding that the reason his or her child does not want to communicate or gives a sharp answer is because that child also had a hard day at school.

The child may think that his or her parent is being unreasonable in expecting him or her to cheerfully carry out some activity that the child does not like doing anyway.  When the child may respond sharply, the parent may interpret this as the child not being sensitive to all that the parent has to undertake to make a living. 

Both parent and child may think each other is being unreasonable. This situation could escalate for days with both parties believing that the other is being mean.   

Emotional Intelligence in Your Home Life

Emotional intelligence in either case could have made the situation less tense and diffused a potentially difficult situation. Either party with emotional intelligence would have been aware of how their own emotions may have affected the other person and could have changed their behaviour.  Clear communication would have indicated that both parties understood that the other person may have had a difficult day.  A conversation could have led to both parties feeling better emotionally and it could have avoided the misunderstanding between the two parties.

Emotional Intelligence in Your Work Place

Relating to one’s employer or one’s employee by using emotional intelligence could lead to a more harmonious work environment. Using emotional intelligence, a manager could respond to an employee’s mistake not by making that employee feel totally incompetent, but by using a more emotionally intelligent approach in recognizing the employee’s effort, and showing the employee how he or she could have avoided the mistake or even correct it. 

Emotional Intelligence in Your Work Place

Emotional Intelligence in a Group Setting

Also, recognizing that a person is in a difficult or embarrassing situation, an emotionally intelligent person could say something that would diffuse the embarrassment and allow the other person to extricate himself or herself without losing face.  This could be a very instrumental way in diffusing a situation that could have escalated into violence.


What this reveals is that emotional intelligence could greatly improve the relations and lead to great relationships among family members, work mates and group relationships.  The advantages of promoting emotional intelligence cannot be over-estimated.  It is the basis for much successful and harmonious relationships.

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