How Strong is Your Emotional Intelligence?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability and willingness to attend to and modify emotions in oneself and others. Often, this is done through empathy and controlled emotional expression. People who are emotionally intelligent are able to recognize and manage their own and other’s emotions, as well as communicate those emotions to others through non-verbal cues.

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is important for a variety of reasons. Benefits of high emotional intelligence include:

  • Employers are increasingly looking for employees with high levels of both cognitive ability (IQ) and EI1
  • Supervisors tend to rate their emotionally intelligent employees higher on task performance, interpersonal facilitation, and job dedication than their less proficient peers2
  • The recognition and regulation of one’s own emotions can also help buffer against job-related stress3
  • Employees high in EI tend to be more engaged and less likely to leave the organization4
  • Effective leaders know how to balance logic (IQ) and intuition (EQ) when making decisions5
  • Leaders who are self-aware are also more agile, adaptable, and receptive to feedback6
  • EI has been shown as beneficial for teamwork, particularly in managing constructive conflict and conflict resolution7

Emotional Intelligence Self-Reflection Questions

How strong is your emotional intelligence? Use the self-reflection questions below to gauge your strengths and opportunities for development.

  1. Do you practice checking in with yourself regarding how you are feeling? If so, are you
    able to describe in words how you feel?
  2. Do you have a process to calm yourself down when you get angry, frustrated, or
    stressed? If so, what is your process?
  3. Do you find yourself getting distracted by your own thoughts or things in the
    environment when listening to others? If so, what do you do to stay focused?
  4. When you see others in distress, do you typically intervene? If so, what steps do you
    take to help? How are your actions received by others?
  5. Do you conceal how you are feeling to your coworkers? When do you think it is
    appropriate to express your emotions at work? When is it inappropriate? Are there
    times when you would like to be more/less controlled?
  6. Think about the people directly and indirectly impacted by your decisions at work.
    How would you feel if you were in their position(s)?
  7. Do you tend to trust your intuition? How do you balance your intuition with logic?
  8. When is it easier versus harder for you to be creative? Does your mood impact your
    creativity?
  9. Think about one positive thing that came out of the last negative experience you were
    in (even if it is small). What did you learn from that negative experience?
  10. Think about the aspects of your work that drive you to produce high quality work.
    What was the last project you worked on that you felt motivated by?
  11. Think about the long-term goals you have that you would like to prioritize. Does your
    everyday work behavior bring you closer or further to those goals?
  12. Are your tendencies different at work versus at home? Are there certain people,
    events, or projects that are particularly triggering for you – times when it is harder to
    control your emotions than others. If so, why do you think this is?

Looking for More?

If you are interested in learning more about EI, SIGMA has the tools to help you get started. The Multidimensional Emotional Intelligence Assessment-Workplace-Revised (MEIA-W-R) is a valid and reliable measure of emotional intelligence, specifically designed to capture EI at work. The test can be administered easily online, and generates a user-friendly report that will help you understand your emotional intelligence, identify strengths, and begin working on opportunities for development. For more information, check out our website, or contact us below.


1 Silliker, A. (2011, October 24). EI valued more than IQ in hiring, promoting. Canadian HR Reporter. https://www.hrreporter.com/news/hr-news/ei-valued-more-than-iq-in-hiring-promoting/314046

2 Law, K. S., Wong, C. S., & Song, L. J. (2004). The construct and criterion validity of emotional intelligence and its potential utility for management studies. Journal of Applied Psychology89(3), 483-496. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.89.3.483

3 Karimi, L., Leggat, S. G., Donohue, L., Farrell, G., & Couper, G. E. (2014). Emotional rescue: The role of emotional intelligence and emotional labour on well‐being and job‐stress among community nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing70, 176-186. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.12185

4 Brunetto, Y., Teo, S. T., Shacklock, K., & Farr‐Wharton, R. (2012). Emotional intelligence, job satisfaction, well‐being and engagement: explaining organisational commitment and turnover intentions in policing. Human Resource Management Journal22(4), 428-441. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-8583.2012.00198.x

5 Smith, M., Van Oosten, E., & Boyatzis, R. E. (2020, June 12). The Best Managers Balance Analytical and Emotional Intelligence. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/06/the-best-managers-balance-analytical-and-emotional-intelligence

6 Edmondson, A. C., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2020, October 19). Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/10/todays-leaders-need-vulnerability-not-bravado

7 Schlaerth, A., Ensari, N., & Christian, J. (2013). A meta-analytical review of the relationship between emotional intelligence and leaders’ constructive conflict management. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations16, 126-136. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430212439907