The ingredients of emotional intelligence

Much of the debate surrounding EI centres on the lack of scientific measures to quantify intangible assets.

The following list of competencies was compiled by the Emotional Intelligence Consortium ( And while the list — culled mainly from the works of EI pioneer Daniel Goleman — may be neither conclusive nor definitive, it should give readers a better understanding of the behaviours, skills and characteristics that comprise EI.


Emotional awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects. People with this competence:

•Know which emotions they are feeling and why.

•Realize the links between their feelings and what they think, do, and say.

•Recognize how their feelings affect their performance.

•Have a guiding awareness of their values and goals.

Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits.

•Aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

•Open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning, and self-development.

•Able to show a sense of humour and perspective about themselves.

Self-confidence: Sureness about one’s self-worth and capabilities.

•Can voice views that are unpopular and go out on a limb for what is right.

•Are decisive, able to make sound decisions despite uncertainties and pressures.

Self regulation

Self-control: Managing disruptive emotions and impulses.

•Manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well.

•Stay composed, positive, and unflappable even in trying moments.

Trustworthiness: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity

•Act ethically and are above reproach.

•Build trust through their reliability and authenticity.

•Take tough, principled stands even if they are unpopular.

Conscientiousness: Taking responsibility for personal performance.

•Meet commitments and keep promises.

•Hold themselves accountable for meeting their objectives.

•Are organized and careful in their work.

Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change.

•Smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities, and rapid change.

•Adapt their responses and tactics to fit fluid circumstances.

•Are flexible in how they see events.

Innovativeness: Being comfortable with and open to novel ideas and new information.

•Seek out fresh ideas from a wide variety of sources.

•Entertain original solutions to problems.

•Generate new ideas.

•Take fresh perspectives and risks in their thinking.

Self motivation

Achievement drive: Striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence.

•Set challenging goals and take calculated risks.

•Pursue information to reduce uncertainty and find ways to do better.

•Learn how to improve their performance.

Commitment: Aligning with the goals of the group or organization.

•Readily make personal or group sacrifices to meet a larger organizational goal.

•Find a sense of purpose in the larger mission.

•Use the group’s core values in making decisions and clarifying choices.

•Actively seek out opportunities to fulfill the group’s mission.

Initiative: Readiness to act on opportunities.

•Are ready to seize opportunities.

•Pursue goals beyond what’s required or expected of them.

•Cut through red tape and bend the rules when necessary to get the job done.

•Mobilize others through unusual, enterprising efforts.

Optimism: Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.

•Persist in seeking goals despite obstacles and setbacks.

•Operate from hope of success rather than fear of failure.

•See setbacks as due to manageable circumstance rather than a personal flaw.

Social awareness

Empathy: Sensing others’ feelings and perspective, and taking an active interest in their concerns.

•Are attentive to emotional cues and listen well.

•Show sensitivity and understand others’ perspectives.

•Help out based on understanding other people’s needs and feelings.

Service orientation: Anticipating, recognizing, and meeting customers’ needs.

•Understand customers’ needs and match them to services or products.

•Seek ways to increase customers’ satisfaction and loyalty.

•Gladly offer appropriate assistance.

•Grasp a customer’s perspective, acting as a trusted advisor.

Developing others: Sensing what others need in order to develop, and bolstering their abilities.

•Acknowledge and reward people’s strengths, accomplishments, and development.

•Offer useful feedback and identify people’s needs for development.

•Mentor, give timely coaching, and offer assignments that challenge and grow a person’s skills.

Leveraging diversity: Cultivating opportunities through diverse people.

•Respect and relate well to people from varied backgrounds.

•Understand diverse worldviews and are sensitive to group differences.

•See diversity as opportunity, creating an environment where diverse people can thrive.

•Challenge bias and intolerance.

Political awareness: Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.

•Accurately read key power relationships.

•Detect crucial social networks.

•Accurately read situations and organizational and external realities.

Social skills

Influence: Wielding effective tactics for persuasion.

•Are skilled at persuasion.

•Fine-tune presentations to appeal to the listener.

•Use complex strategies like indirect influence to build consensus and support.

•Orchestrate dramatic events to effectively make a point.

Communication: Sending clear and convincing messages.

•Are effective in give-and-take, registering emotional cues in attuning their message.

•Deal with difficult issues straightforwardly.

•Listen well, seek mutual understanding, and welcome sharing of information fully.

•Foster open communication and stay receptive to bad news as well as good.

Leadership: Inspiring and guiding groups and people.

•Articulate and arouse enthusiasm for a shared vision and mission.

•Step forward to lead as needed, regardless of position.

•Guide the performance of others while holding them accountable

•Lead by example.

Change catalyst: Initiating or managing change.

•Recognize the need for change and remove barriers.

•Challenge the status quo to acknowledge the need for change.

•Champion the change and enlist others in its pursuit.

Conflict management: Negotiating and resolving disagreements.

•Handle difficult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact.

•Spot potential conflict, bring disagreements into the open, and help diffuse tension.

•Encourage debate and open discussion.

Building bonds: Nurturing instrumental relationships.

•Cultivate and maintain extensive informal networks.

•Build rapport and keep others in the loop.

•Make and maintain personal friendships among work associates.

Collaboration and cooperation: Working with others toward shared goals.

•Collaborate, sharing plans, information, and resources.

•Promote a friendly, cooperative climate.

•Spot and nurture opportunities for collaboration.

Team capabilities: Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.

•Model team qualities like respect, helpfulness, and cooperation.

•Draw all members into active and enthusiastic participation.

•Build team identity, esprit de corps, and commitment.

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