When people talk about emotional intelligence skills (also known as EQ skills), they tend to talk about other people who don’t have these skills.

Many people also think that emotional intelligence skills are mostly about relationships. For example, if you are unable to communicate with someone and solve a relationship issue, they will say you have no EQ skills.

Few people realize that EQ skills involve understanding and managing their own emotions.

In this blog post, we will discuss the four attributes of emotional intelligence: self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management, and why emotional intelligence is essential for personal and professional success. For each attribute, you will discover some tips and strategies on how to improve them.

Let’s get started!

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of others. Wikipedia defines it as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions.

EQ is not the same as IQ, which measures your cognitive abilities. EQ is more about how you use your emotions to communicate, empathize, and influence.

Why emotional intelligence skills are essential for success

Emotional intelligence skills are essential for success because they can help you:

  • Achieve your goals, stay motivated, focused, and resilient in the face of obstacles and setbacks.
  • Communicate effectively by expressing yourself clearly, listening actively, and avoiding misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Empathize with others, and understand their feelings, needs, and perspectives, thus building rapport and trust with them.
  • Overcome challenges by coping with stress, anxiety, and frustration and bouncing back from failures and disappointments.

That’s great to know, but how can you boost your emotional intelligence skills to improve your success?

Emotional intelligence attributes

Let’s look at the four attributes of emotional intelligence and how you can improve them for personal and professional success.


Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior, to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and to be confident in yourself.

Self-awareness is important for personal and professional success because it helps you better understand yourself and your emotions.

How to improve your self-awareness skills?

Here are some suggestions:

Reflect on your emotions: Reflecting on your emotions can help you identify what triggers them, how they influence your actions, and how they impact others. You can do this by asking yourself questions such as: What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this way? How does this feeling affect my behavior? How does this behavior affect others?

Seek feedback: You can gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses by seeking feedback from people who know you well or work with you closely, such as friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors. You can ask them for specific examples of areas where you did well or areas where you need to work on.

Take EQ assessments: You can take assessments to help you measure your emotional intelligence skills objectively. These assessments can be taken online or offline that evaluate different aspects of your emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, or relationship management.


Self-management is the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions healthily, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.

Self-management is essential for personal and professional success because it helps you stay calm and composed under pressure. With self-management skills, you can make better rational and informed decisions, handle change and uncertainty more effectively, and achieve your goals without difficulty.

Here’s an example of a person with little self-awareness and self-management skills:

Margaret works as an admin staff and has frequent emotional outbursts and cannot handle criticism. She feels that everyone in the office is against her and that no matter how hard she works, there will always be complaints. She has trouble understanding what causes her feelings, managing her emotions, and receiving feedback.

How to improve your self-management skills?

Here are some suggestions:

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with curiosity and openness. It can help you become more aware of your emotions, thoughts, and sensations, and reduce stress and negative emotions. You can practice mindfulness by meditating, breathing deeply, or doing yoga.

Express your emotions: Expressing your emotions in healthy ways can help you release tension, cope with difficult feelings, and communicate better with others. You can express your emotions by talking to someone you trust, writing your thoughts in a journal, or engaging in a creative activity.

Take action: Taking action can help you overcome procrastination, inertia, and fear. It can also help you achieve your goals and feel more confident and satisfied. You can take action by breaking down your tasks into manageable steps, setting deadlines, rewarding yourself for progress, and seeking feedback.

Be flexible: Being flexible can help you adapt to changing situations and cope with unexpected challenges. It can also help you learn from mistakes and embrace new opportunities. You can be flexible by keeping an open mind, trying new things, seeking different perspectives, and being willing to compromise.

Social awareness

Social awareness is the ability to understand other people’s emotions, pick up their emotional clues, feel at ease socially, and recognize power dynamics in a group or organization.

Social awareness is essential for personal and professional success because it helps you to build rapport and trust with others, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and negotiate win-win outcomes.

Here’s an example of someone with little social awareness skills:

Robert, a school teacher, has given up on his students and continuously blames them for their poor grades. He doesn’t care why his students are not performing, and he struggles with personal issues, expressing his thoughts, and blames everyone for giving him problems

How to improve your social awareness skills?

Here are some suggestions:

Observe others: You can learn about other people’s emotions and behavior just by observing them and paying attention to their facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and the words they use. Observe how they interact with different people and situations.

Listen actively: Listening actively can help you understand what others are saying and feeling, as well as show your interest and respect. You can listen actively by maintaining eye contact, nodding, asking questions, paraphrasing, and giving feedback.

Empathize: When you empathize or put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can feel what they feel. Doing this helps you build compassion and kindness for others.

Respect diversity: By respecting diversity, you appreciate and value the differences among people, such as their backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and perspectives. This helps you to avoid stereotyping people and biases that may hinder communication and collaboration. You can respect diversity by learning about other cultures, seeking diverse opinions, and celebrating diversity.

Relationship management

Relationship management is the ability to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Relationship management is crucial for personal and professional success because it helps you build a strong relationship with people working with you, persuade and motivate others to take action, and more able to handle disagreements and disputes.

Here’s an example of a person with little relationship management skills:

Jane insults her customers by making inappropriate jokes about them. She is insensitive, oblivious to others’ feelings, and says the wrong thing at the wrong time. She has no idea why her sales are so poor compared to other salespeople in her company and believes she is just unlucky with sales.

How to improve your relationship management skills?

Here are some suggestions:

Communicate clearly: When you communicate clearly, you convey your message effectively. You avoid misunderstandings, and most importantly, you establish trust. You can communicate clearly by using simple and concise language, choosing the appropriate medium, providing context, and checking for comprehension.

Manage conflict: By managing conflict, you help resolve issues constructively, preserve relationships, and prevent escalation. You can manage conflict by identifying the root cause, listening to different viewpoints, finding common ground, and suggesting solutions.

Work well in a team: When you work well in a team, you capitalize on the strengths and skills of others, enhance your creativity and innovation, and you achieve better results. You can work well in a team by clarifying roles and expectations, sharing information and resources, giving and receiving feedback, and celebrating successes.

Emotional Intelligence Skills - Learners with teacher
Emotional Intelligence Skills at Work

Misconceptions about emotional intelligence skills

There are some common misconceptions about emotional intelligence skills that may prevent people from developing these valuable skills. Here are three of them:

Emotional intelligence skills are not tied to job success

This myth stems from the false dichotomy between hard skills (such as technical or analytical abilities) and soft skills (such as interpersonal or communication skills). In reality, both types of skills are essential and complementary for personal and professional success.

Emotional intelligence skills are not just about being nice or emotional; they are about being smart with your emotions and using them to enhance your performance, decision-making, and relationships.

Research has shown that emotional intelligence skills are a key factor that predicts success in various domains, such as leadership, sales, customer service, and education.

Emotional intelligence skills mean you can avoid feedback

This misconception assumes that people with high EQ are too sensitive or afraid to give or receive challenging feedback. In fact, the opposite is true.

People with high EQ are able to handle feedback effectively because they can manage their emotions, understand the perspective of others, and communicate clearly. They can give feedback in a constructive and respectful way, and they can receive feedback in a receptive and open-minded way. They see feedback as an opportunity to learn and improve, rather than as a threat or criticism.

Emotional intelligence skills can be misused

Some people feel that emotional intelligence skills can be used for manipulation or deception. While it is true that some people may try to use these skills for unethical purposes, this does not mean that these skills are bad or harmful. Emotional intelligence is neutral and can be used for good or evil, depending on the intention and values of the person who uses it.

People with high emotional intelligence are not necessarily more manipulative or dishonest; they are simply more aware and skilled at using emotions. The best way to prevent the misuse of EQ skills is to cultivate moral values and integrity along with emotional intelligence.


Emotional intelligence is a key factor for personal and professional success. By improving your emotional intelligence skills, you can boost your brain power, thinking skills, and learning methodologies.

You can improve your emotional intelligence skills by practicing self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

If you want to learn more about emotional intelligence, check out our workshop on emotional intelligence skills where participants learn how to use EQ skills to become a more effective manager.


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