By Damian Goldvarg Ph.D., MCC

How Is Your Emotional Intelligence?

Have you ever found yourself upset because someone said something  you found offensive or wrong but you said nothing? Or have you sent an email and regretted it a second later? In this blog I will explore how our emotions can be our allies or our enemies on the way to achieve our goals and to develop satisfying relationships. Will define emotional intelligence, its four key components, I will share some examples and invite you to practice the ideas presented.

What is emotional intelligence? You may have read about it, or it may be a completely new concept for you. When you listen to emotional intelligence, what comes to your mind? How would you define it in your own words?  Bradberry and Greves in the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, define Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as “your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, as well as your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” According to research conducted by the authors, EQ is the greatest predictor of job performance and a strong predictor of leadership and personal excellence. Also, people with higher EQ earn more money, an average of $ 30,000 more than people with lower levels of EQ.

If several people with the same level of training, knowledge and experience are applying for the same job, the successful candidates will probably be selected based on their emotional intelligence. Which do you think is your level of EQ?

Bradberry and Greeves indentified  four key elements of EQ are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. I will explain each and give some examples.


Is your ability to perceive precisely your own emotions at the time and understand your tendencies to feel different emotions. It’s your ability to name your emotions and explain why they are there. Emotions are reactions to our life experiences. People with high self-awareness are clear about strengths, weaknesses, what satisfies them and what situations make them angry. When you are self aware, you put your strengths to work and keep your emotions in control. In other words, you control your emotions, they do not control you. For example, in my case, injustice makes me very very angry.  Justice is a very important value for me, so I know I am very sensitive to situations and people who I judge as unfair. In these situations, I am  less effective in my communication and my ability to express myself. Being able to recognize that, in situations I judge unjust , I take time to respond instead of sharing my ideas impulsively. When I do this, I am much more  effective at delivering my message. When you have a high level of awareness of yourself, you are able to identify situations that can hinder your effectiveness and be better prepared to deal with them. You can stay calm, cool and relaxed even under stress.


Is your ability to manage yourselve and decide what to do in different situations. Is your capacity to decide to act or not to act. It is the ability to use self-knowledge of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively. This includes the ability to tolerate ambiguity, uncertainty, and explore your different options. With good management of oneself, there is greater consistency between intention and behavior. I worked with a client who requested my coaching services because even though he was and excellent worker, he was very angry and aggressive with people in his office. The company did not want to lose him but his boss was not willing to continue working with him if he was not willing and able to change his aggressive behavior. Through the work we did together, he developed a clearer understanding of his unrealistic expectations and his low level of patience, distinguished the different learning styles of other employees in his team and developed insight about his lack of awareness of the consequences of his behavior on others. When he was able to develop some awareness about what trigger his angry behavior  he began to stay calm in situations where he usually lost his temper, and was able to stay calm, listen and show understanding of other team members.

Social Awareness

Is the ability to be empathic and understand what is happening with other people. It means being willing to explore what other people feel even when you do not think or feel the same way. Includes stopping your inner monologue to be present to others. Additionally, people with high level of social awareness and being able to show understanding by paraphrasing, summarizing, showing that we are able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and show that we are understanding. What skills do you think are key to being effective in showing social awareness? There are several skills but, listening, observing and demonstrate understanding are the key ones. Are you effective at demonstrating your social awareness or need to work on that? Are you effective in observing the behavior of others or you  too focused on your own perspectives?

We do not need not be of the same gender or age or ethnicity to understand a friend. We can identify with the challenges of others even when we did not go through the same experience. Social awareness means being willing to focus on understanding how other people are feeling, that is happening to them, that are having challenges, how they are thinking and that way you can communicate with them demonstrating that understanding.

Relationship Management

Involves applying the skills covered in the first three elements of emotional intelligence. It’s your ability to properly use your awareness and emotions  to have healthy interactions. Relations management presents the greatest challenge of the four elements of EQ, particularly when people are under stress. Conflicts at work tend to be higher when people passively avoid problems because they don´t have the skills to start constructive conversations.

Have you been in a situation at work where there is a conflict, but nobody said anything hoping the conflict will resolve itself, but the situation get worse and worse? What can you do in these situations? You can take the risk of communicating clearly and invite people to be creative in solving problems. Many times people get upset because they think others have negative intentions. Many times, clarifying intentions help avoid misunderstandings and reach agreement. Remember the common goals you have with your team members, this  is helpful when managing conflict.

I would like to remind you that these four skills can be developed. If you are interested in learning more about the subject, I recommend you read Bradberry and Greaves book: “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, which comes with a test that measures the four elements of EQ. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me at  I wish you good luck in developing your skills to increase your emotional intelligence.


By Damian Goldvarg.