Emotional Intelligence: What Does It Take?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the latest buzzword in corporate circles and it’s something that every employer or contract manager is looking for in their hires. Quite simply, a person with emotional intelligence is someone who can identify and manage their emotions and the emotions of others.

Sounds straight forward enough, yet many people don’t have the ability to apply their emotions to tasks like thinking and problem solving; or to manage (ie regulate) their own emotions and help others do the same.

Not that you’d want to manage your emotions out of existence – after all, raw emotions have plenty of upside. As researcher Dr Paul Ekman points out, “We have a mechanism that appraises what’s going on very quickly, senses danger and responds without thought. And it saves our lives. But it also means that we sometimes react quite inappropriately. Like when there really is no danger and the response we give isn’t the right response.”2

There are plenty of business workshops and self-help books available to help people learn emotional intelligence, but is it possible to actually do so?

Psychologist and Dean of Yale College Peter Salovey believes that EI is primarily shaped by genes and early experiences, however “people can learn a richer emotional vocabulary and… self-regulate emotions better.”1

However, he believes the benefits of workshops, self-help books and school programs are probably incremental, much like increasing a person’s IQ. 1

Of course the first step in achieving emotional intelligence is to become aware of your own emotions – this will enable you to take control of what you become emotional about and how you behave when you are emotional.

Check the list below to work out whether you have the essentials of emotional intelligence… but don’t despair if, having read them, you find yourself lacking, your skills in this area can naturally increase over time.

Do you have emotional intelligence?

  • When confronted with a challenge or change, you step up, focus on the positives and persevere;
  • When new initiatives go wrong, you don’t revert to old ways, but instead stop, consider and make a new plan;
  • When you’re getting overly comfortable with where you’re at, you overcome the urge to plateau and instead look for new challenges to further yourself and your business;
  • You recognise when your emotions are out of kilter – when you’re angry or overly anxious for example, and you proactively take steps to modify your behavior;
  • You recognise that your perspective is yours and its biased by your knowledge and your belief system. You acknowledge other perspectives and you’re willing to consider these new ideas and initiatives with an open mind;
  • You’re able to read and respond appropriately to non-verbal clues that may or may not correspond with the verbal communication of those around you;
  • You’re able to put yourself in another person’s shoes and empathise with their emotions – this is particularly important in customer service jobs for example, that require you to manage your emotions according to the organisation’s rules.

Emotional intelligence will certainly help you acquire and succeed in your next contract. Ayers Group can help you manage your contract with expert contract management services that remove the burden of ongoing administration. Talk to an Ayers Group expert today.


  1. www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200411/the-socially-savvy
  2. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/between-cultures/201801/the-benefits-emotional-awareness