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Categories of Emotional Intelligence

Updated on November 9, 2012

We are all probably familiar with the concept of IQ or Intelligence quotient. But did you know that there is an emotional intelligence as well?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions as well as the emotions of others. It plays a vital role in how we interact and relate to each other. Emotional intelligence (also known as EQ or EI) can often be more important than intelligence (IQ) when it comes to finding success in life. The ability to read other people’s signals and react appropriately is an essential skill when it comes to career advancement, personal relationships, and more. A strong EQ allows you to understand, empathize, and negotiate with people facilitating success throughout life.

The Four Categories of Emotional Intelligence

The four branch model of emotional intelligence describes the four abilities that collectively make up the EQ. These include:

1. Perceiving Emotion. This is the ability to accurately recognize emotions in the face and voice of others. Facial expressions such as sadness, anger, happiness, etc. are universally recognized in humans. This area of emotional intelligence is the very basis for the advanced understanding of emotion.

2. Using Emotions. This second area of emotional intelligence is the ability to use emotions to facility thought. Our emotions are quite often a guiding force when it comes to critical thinking and problem solving. They prioritize our thinking allowing us to focus on those things we feel are most important. Having a strong system of emotional reasoning is important when it comes to directing our thoughts and for certain types of creativity.


3. Understanding Emotions. Emotions play an important role in communication. They convey more than simply how someone is feeling. Understanding emotions can provide you with insight into the motives of others, and can help you to gage how someone is likely to behave under certain circumstances. This is valuable information to have. It can assist you with proactive, forward thinking and even keep you safe. For example, a person that is angry may withdrawal to seek calm, take time to simply vent their feelings, or attempt to harm someone. Indentifying and then understanding this person’s anger is essential to gauging the possible outcomes of interacting with them, enabling you to take appropriate action.

4. Managing Emotions. Emotional management involves the ability to regulate emotions for personal and social growth. This involves taking responsibility for one’s own feelings, turning negative emotions into a positive learning experience, and helping others to recognize and benefit from their emotions.

Tips for Developing Emotional Intelligence

After many years of debate, it has been determined that emotional intelligence is a learnable skill. The first step is to determine your current EQ in order to find those areas which would benefit from some work. There are many books and tests on the market that can help you determine this information and provide you with steps to improve you EQ. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction.

  • Consciously observe how you react to others. Look honestly at yourself in terms of how you think and that types of interactions you have. Are you the type that rushes to judgment? Do you allow prejudices and stereotypes to rule your thinking? Knowing these things about yourself is the first step to correcting them.
  • Do a self evaluation. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you accepting of them?
  • Look at how you handle stressful situations. Do you become upset when things don’t happen the way you want them to? The ability to stay calm during difficult times is a value trait. Can you keep your emotions under control when the going gets tough?
  • Take responsibility for your actions. Do you typically avoid people when you have wronged them or made a mistake? If so, work on apologizing directly and correcting the problem. People are generally much more apt to forgive when you do.
  • Examine how your actions will affect others before you act. Take a moment before making a big decision and consider who else may be affected. Put yourself in their shoes. How will they feel? Is there any way you can minimize any negative impact? If not, how can you help them deal with the outcome?

Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart. It involves knowing what you are feeling and then using your emotions to make good decisions about your life. Being able to manage your moods, control impulses, remain optimistic during times of adversity, and to motivate others through empathy builds leadership and can ultimately lead to a life full with successes.


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    • encephalTune profile image

      Michael Fekade 5 years ago

      I truly agree that improving and having a strong EQ can facilitate a successful life. I am like many others trying to improve my interpersonal skills. My biggest hurdle is understanding emotions. It might not be a big deal when I compare my EQ to others but I always feel that I need to understand the infrastructure of my colleague. It is important to bring out the best in one another by understanding and communicating with one another.

      I appreciate your post. I too work to unleash human potential but through brain enhancement/IQ at:

      Michael Fekade

    • LQWILLIams profile image

      LQWILLIams 5 years ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have heard of Emotional Intelligence in the past, but have not seen it explained this way before. It certainly makes sense that we can increase our ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions by developing awareness of our actions and reactions, as well as those of others.

    • LQWILLIams profile image

      LQWILLIams 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 5 years ago from United States

      I'd like to evaluate how I react to others if I can remember to, maybe the next time I am working. I know that when I can see or sense that a customer is upset or grumpy I tend to avoid speaking much or basic eye contact, in hopes to avoid a conflict. Your hub is very interesting.

    • LQWILLIams profile image

      LQWILLIams 5 years ago

      I totally agree. Thanks for reading.

    • landocheese profile image

      landocheese 5 years ago

      Nicely written. I think the hardest part of emotional intelligence for people is for them to evaluate themselves, since many people see themselves differently than they are seen. That's where a trusted friend or co-worker can be of help.

    • KawikaChann profile image

      KawikaChann 5 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      EI? That is awesome. I have never heard that term but have understood the correlation that emotions plays in every social interaction. Nicely done. So many people can learn a lot of themselves reading your hub. Voted up, awesome. Peace. Kawi.