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Emotional Intelligence: The Emotional Manager

September 16, 2022

Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence: Social Skills, Empathy, Self-Motivation, Self-Regulation, Self-Awareness

Five competencies of the Emotional Intelligence pyramid

Written by Cynthia Greer, Institute for Conflict Management

In 1995, Daniel Goleman wrote his pivotal book, Emotional Intelligence. He was on the cover of Time
magazine and the book, based on scientific research in neuroscience, explored how emotions are
regulated in the brain. Today, companies worldwide look through the lens of EI in hiring, promoting,
and developing their employees. Competence models for leadership consist of 80 to 100 percent EI-
based abilities. In fact, it has been determined that CEOs are hired for their intellect and business
expertise—and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is, in a nutshell, a way of understanding and organizing how well we know
ourselves and relate to others. We can quickly identify those people who get along with others, who
can stay focused, and who manage their interactions with others well. These people are easier to work
with, they are better collaborators, and they are well-liked.

Unlike our Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Intelligence is flexible, changeable, and can be
developed over time. And we can begin to develop it at any time and increase it throughout our
lifetime! With honest self-reflection, we can become better communicators, better negotiators, better
managers of our own emotions and our responses to the emotions of others, more empathetic, and
have the ability to develop strong, healthy relationships. Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, EI is based
on a pyramid concept. It has five competencies that must be developed from the bottom to the top.

The primary components of emotional intelligence begin with an awareness of self. It is the foundation on
which all the other competencies are built. Self-awareness is knowing what drives us and what we are
passionate about, and it will allow us to be more constructive and positive. Without self-awareness, our
emotions can blind us and guide us to do things or to become people we really don’t want to be.

Self-Regulation is the ability to regulate our feelings and manage them, so they do more good than
harm. “Checking” our emotions and reactions to others gives the rational side of our brain time to
temper our feelings when needed. Self-regulation helps us act intentionally rather than reactively.

Self-Motivation is the ability to direct the power of our emotions towards a purpose that will motivate
and inspire us. It allows us to accept change and be more flexible. We have better attitudes and do
balanced risk-taking. In addition, self-motivated people persist toward their goals, despite obstacles and

Empathy is being able to see a situation from another person’s perspective. In our chaotic world, this is
a much-needed characteristic in all people. People who are empathetic listen, respond, and display
genuine concern which allows them to “connect” with others.

By building the abilities of self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, and empathy, a person can
then have greater skill in developing healthy relationships. We become the people that others want to
be around and work for. We are better at resolving conflicts, creating effective teams, collaboration and
cooperation, and inspiring and guiding individuals and groups.

Learning more about our emotional intelligence is an empowering process. It increases our inner
strength and knowledge which allows us to be compassionate, understanding, and empathetic. It is a
lifelong journey!