The term Emotional Intelligence became widely known in the second half of the 1990s after the worldwide success of Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence. Why it can matter more than IQ ” (1995). 

By Mia Kollia

Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos

The term emotional intelligence - EQ - has become particularly popular in the business sector and workplace. In the recent decades, it has attracted the interest of both the scientific community and the general public, with an abundance of books and articles in the press.

The concept of emotional intelligence was based on the concepts of social and multiple intelligence. Mayer and Salovey gave one of the first definitions of emotional intelligence as "a form of social intelligence that includes the ability to understand one's own and other people's emotions, to make subtle distinctions between different emotions, and to use this information to guide their thoughts and actions accordingly".

Goleman, in turn, defined emotional intelligence through the 5 dimensions contained in it: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Emotional intelligence is everywhere  

Emotional intelligence is a key factor in the development of healthy interpersonal relationships, whether personal or professional. People with developed EQ, recognise their emotions, control their reactions, have a complete judgment and a positive mood, understand the emotional state of their fellow man, can cope with difficult situations, act under pressure and survive in adverse conditions. 

Moreover, people with high levels of emotional intelligence are also those who take risks, have confidence, work with patience and perseverance, have clear judgment and faith in their abilities, while at the same time can perform by working as a team and encouraging their colleagues.

From the above it becomes clear that emotional intelligence is at the core of multiple skills which belong to the framework of soft skills, horizontal or interpersonal skills, which are proven to contribute to the success of a person in his life.

Research has shown that a prerequisite for the development of emotional intelligence is that executives are aware of it, that is, they know the limits of their potential and admit their shortcomings.

We can easily understand the importance of the above characteristics in the professional field. In the workplace, research has shown that the above skills are at the top of the pyramid of traits that employers are looking for in most industries. This is because emotional intelligence not only makes leaders - at every level - "intelligent" and effective but also "builds emotionally "intelligent" businesses. Finally, according to research, the emotional intelligence of leaders is directly related to the success of their companies.

How does emotional intelligence develop?

The development of emotional intelligence begins during childhood, in the family environment and later in school and other activities of a child. The development of emotional intelligence is achieved through the imitation of the parents and important other caregivers of a child.

It is also achieved through the healthy interpersonal relationships of children but also by strengthening them in their educational and non-educational activities. These activities teach children to express their needs, enhance their self-confidence and the sense of uniqueness, allowing them to be themselves and teach them self-respect.

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be developed throughout our lives through self-awareness programs, psychotherapy, or through coaching. Coaching is an extremely emerging industry in recent years that comes to comply with market needs. Coaching, as defined by the International Coaching Federation, is "partnering with the coachee in a creative process that creatively evokes thinking and inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."

Practice and experience

In order to develop in adult life, emotional intelligence presupposes two things: self-knowledge and experience. It doesn’t develop through reading theories or through powerpoint presentations. A complete EXPERIMENTAL coaching program is the practice of emotional intelligence, as the individual can in certain circumstances apply self-improvement techniques, get to know themselves better and expand or develop new skills through their creative interaction with others.

One of the international, integrated, experiential Coaching methods recognised by the international coaching federation (ICF) is Jungian Coaching, a methodology that contains something unique in its creation: it contains the logic and the irrationality of life, meaning that it integrates the mind with emotion, developing and evolving emotional intelligence.

C.G Jung used to say that change only comes into contact with emotion - through "pain". In the context of a creative experiential process, the person is called to focus his interest on the present and the future and to take steps that will bring him closer to achieving his goals and dreams.

"In order to develop his emotional intelligence, the jungian coachee", explains Markella Masura, Psychotherapist through the Arts, Jungian Coach, Visual Psychotherapist, "is called to activate his body, his intuition, his emotion and his mind; to experience a holistic experience that will lead him first to self-knowledge and later to the development of interpersonal and critical skills that will help him achieve his goals in his personal or professional life".


In practice, people with high emotional intelligence…

1. Can recognise moderation and turn their backs on narcissistic perfectionism

Because they know full well that there is no such thing as "perfect" and, therefore, when something reaches a limit that is not exceeded, they move forward instead of regretting it. If they make a mistake, they consider it logical and natural, take lessons from it and try to adapt to the data they have created instead of being trapped in frustration. In general, they are characterised by the fact that they are not stuck.

2. They essentially understand that the solution is in the balance of work and life.

Working 24/7 and not giving the proper importance to oneself and one's needs, creates excessive and useless stress, causes health problems both organically and psychologically. All this sometimes causes serious consequences in the professional field as well. That's why "emotionally smart" people know when it's time for work and when it's time for a break and life. Unloading is essential for best performance.

3. They adapt and take a positive approach to change

Instead of fearing change and stepping back in front of it, emotionally intelligent people embrace it, considering it part of life. Thus, they enjoy innovations and new challenges, while they are ready, at any time, to face any change, of greater and wider scope. If we think about how many changes we are experiencing due to multiple crises in recent years, we will understand how important adaptability is.

4. They have concentration and discipline

People with high EQ do not get carried away and are not distracted for no reason. A focused and disciplined person means that he isn’t easily led and carried away by his environment, abandoning his own goals. He knows that completing what you are doing calms you down and relaxes you.

5. They show interest to other people in various ways

They are interested, in fact, not only in terms of compassion, which is important, but also out of curiosity, in the good sense of the word. It is extremely important to get to know people, to look for their soul, to open your eyes to other characters, to observe reactions. Essentially, this only increases the possibility of crisis and you can easily explain what is happening around you, gaining the ability to manage multiple types of human characters.
6. They fearlessly acknowledge their weaknesses and accept their strengths

Emotionally intelligent people know what they are good at and what they are not. So simple. When you accept your strengths and weaknesses, you make fewer mistakes and balance better with those around you. When you accept all this, it means that you are closer to the true self more and therefore to others more courageously and sincerely.

7. Self-mobilize

Ambition and hard work, even when there is no immediate reward or even when you are not sure that you will succeed, offers great confidence and teaches you not to give up the fight easily.

8. They don’t stuck in the past

Constantly recalling the past poses serious obstacles to the present and the future. The possibilities for the future can be many and great, but there is no other way to discover this than to look ahead. The attachment to the past, the glorious or the failed, is only a brake on what we live.
9. Focus on the positive

We dedicate time and energy to problem solving, controlling negative conditions and optimistic outlook. Nobody said that everything is rosy or that the happy attitude erases the real difficulty, but in any case, the positive look controls the negative effects and strengthens us against everything.

10. Limits! They set limits!

Although people with high emotional intelligence seem introverted and extroverted, this does not mean that you can "push" them. They know how to set boundaries, they know when others are taking advantage of them and how to handle them. In short, they self-protect, prevent and defend. Boundaries in personal and professional life build healthier and more stable relationships that last long.