Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.  Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor in organisational success. The connection is so strong that 90% of top performers have high and balanced emotional intelligence.

“No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it” (Jack Welch)

When looking at the nature of Emotional Intelligence, it is sometimes easier to understand its impact when we see it low or missing. And analysis of the data from a million-plus people conducted by TalentSmart has revealed the behaviours that are the hallmarks of a low EQ and here they are:

Getting stressed easily.  While in this state critical thinking is severely affected leading to poor decisions and problem solving while often impacting very negatively on relationships.  

Difficulty with being assertive. People with high EQ balance good manners, empathy, and kindness with the ability to assert themselves and establish boundaries. This tactful combination is ideal for handling conflict and for getting more achieved with others, as they can say ‘no’ while saying ‘yes’ to other people. 

A limited emotional vocabulary. All human beings experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. The research shows that only 36% of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabelled emotions often go misunderstood, leading to irrational choices and counterproductive actions. 

Making assumptions quickly and defending them vehemently.  Emotionally intelligent people let their thoughts marinate, because they know that initial reactions are driven by strong emotions. They give their thoughts time to develop and consider the possible consequences and counter-arguments. Then, they communicate their developed idea in the most effective way possible, taking into account the needs and opinions of their audience.

Not letting go of mistakes. Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. 

Feeling misunderstood. Even with practice, emotionally intelligent people know that they don’t communicate every idea perfectly. They catch on quickly though, adjust their approach, and re-communicate their idea in a way that is not only understood but accepted. 

Not getting angry. Emotional intelligence is not about being nice; it’s about managing emotions to achieve the best possible outcomes. Emotionally intelligent people employ negative and positive emotions intentionally in the appropriate situations.

Blaming other people for feelings. Higher levels of EQ allow people to take responsibility for their own emotions.  This becomes a conscious choice in every situation leading to better decision making, problem solving, influencing, negotiation and positive relationships. 

Easily offended. Emotionally intelligent people are very self-aware, understand their emotions, are tuned into how their emotions affect other people and have a high sense of self-regard. They tend to be self-confident and open-minded. If you are naturally a sensitive person, growing your resilience through emotional intelligence will help you here enormously.


Unlike your IQ, your EQ is highly malleable and can be grown. As you train your brain by repeatedly practising new emotionally intelligent behaviours, it builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. As your brain reinforces the use of these new behaviours, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviours die off. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it.  

(The above research is based on the work of Dr. Travis Bradberry, Emotional Intelligence 2.0)

Interested? What’s Next….

  1. Find out more about Emotional Intelligence (all 15 dimensions) – make contact here.
  2. Order an EQi.20 Report for yourself and/or your Team – find out more here.
  3. Register for a Build Your Emotional Intelligence Coaching Programme here.
  4. Register for a Build the Emotional Intelligence of your Team Half-Day Workshop here.

Anne Marie is a Certified Practitioner in Emotional Intelligence with more than 12 years experience of coaching and training individuals, leaders and teams with the EQi.20 and the ECR psychometric assessments. 

Anne Marie is fully Certified to deliver the EQi.20 EQi certification including at 360 Degree  and is an Accredited Senior Practitioner in Coaching Logo EMCC