Developing Emotional Intelligence

Intelligence is usually understood to mean the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. It is often measured as Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Emotional intelligence (EQ) is also a form of intelligence. It refers to the ability to recognize and manage emotions. Experts say EQ is what truly determines success in any field. Three components of Emotional Intelligence are 1) Self-perception, 2) Social perception, and 3) Emotional control. Let’s look at these three components of emotional intelligence and see what we can learn from them and how we can use them to develop emotional intelligence!

Three Components of Emotional Intelligence

Component 1: Self-Perception

One of the ways to develop emotional intelligence is to gain a good sense of self-perception. This is probably the most fundamental component of the three but, how does one develop a good sense of self-perception? Socrates is reported to have said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom”. What is it that you already know about yourself? I mean, what do you know that is good and what you would consider to be not so good?

This is a good place to start because we, probably more than anyone else, already have insights into our own lives and it’s these insights that can give us a good starting point. What do you love and what do you hate, even if you’d never tell anyone else about it? Do not just stick to what you like about yourself, nor should you only stick to what you dislike about yourself.

Now that you’ve begun to look at how you see you, another question to ask is, how do you think others see you? If you were looking at another person who speaks, operates, and reacts like you do, how would you view them and what would you think of them? Doing this little exercise will greatly help you in identifying some things about yourself of which you might not even be aware. You might see, perhaps for the first time, how it is that other people view you and until we understand how we are perceived by others, it will be very difficult to know what to work on. Some things you discover about yourself you may like and some things you may not like.

Alternatively, some public speakers will go back and rewatch a speech they recently gave but this time they will watch and listen from the listener’s perspective. This can be intimidating at first, but after a while it brings forth lots of great results. Sometimes, just the act of imagining someone else doing that same thing we do is all that’s needed in order to bring our awareness to it so we can begin working on changing it for the better.

Component 2: Social Perception

Another way to develop emotional intelligence is to gain a good sense of social perception. This component deals with how we view others. Empathy is a good skill to have when it comes to developing this skill. Empathy is simply being able to sense how others are feeling and use that information when making decisions that affect them.

This does not mean you have to have the same life experiences they do, but it does mean that you take a genuine interest in them and learn about them as people and not just placeholders. You may (or may not) be surprised at how many managers (I purposely do not say “Authentic Leaders” here) do not take a genuine interest in the people they are trying to manage. The knowledge you gain about people will give you more insight into who they are, how they respond to certain things, what motivates them, what demoralizes them, etc. The information you gain can go a long way toward developing relationships with those same people. This in turn not only helps with developing a positive culture, but it also contributes greatly to developing your own sense of social perception, which then contributes to the greater goal of developing emotional intelligence.

Component 3: Emotional Control

The final component in developing emotional intelligence that we’ll discuss here is to learn the skill of emotional control. This is one of the greatest components of developing emotional intelligence. I say this because some of the best leaders have an incredible sense of control over their emotions. This is especially the case when a crisis of some sort arises and a dark cloud of uncertainty and doubt hangs over everyone’s head. It’s at this point that the team will be looking to the leader for answers and assurance. The emotionally intelligent leader is comfortable both knowing and acknowledging they may not have answers to all the questions being asked and just this fact alone often provides the team with a lot of the assurance for which they are seeking.

Now, make no mistake about it, developing emotional control isn’t easy, and this is just one factor of developing emotional intelligence. Someone may believe they are emotionally mature and possess emotional intelligence, but it is the emotional control (or lack thereof) that will tell the tale.

One way to build emotional control into your life is to interrupt negative thoughts when they start to stream through your mind. We’ve all been there. Something has gone wrong in our plans or routine and before we know it one negative thought becomes two which become three which become a whole stream of negative thoughts. The idea is to block the stream before it gets too much momentum going.

With what do you block it? The best answer is to block the stream of negative thoughts with positive thoughts; not positive thoughts about that negative situation, but positive thoughts about possible solutions. This is among the most difficult parts of developing emotional control because we already tend toward negative thinking.

If you missed a deadline on a project, is it possible to get started on the next project and maybe finish that one before the deadline? You may not be able to do anything about the last project, but maybe you can learn from that experience and do something about the next one and get a win under your belt that way. Is there an opportunity to go out and try again? If so, focus on that and let that be your positive thought with which you interrupt the stream of negative thoughts.

Additionally, is there an activity you enjoy doing that could help “reset” your emotions? Some people like gardening, sports, writing, walking, and exercising while others like manual labor such as doing yard work, tearing something down, or building something new. Sometimes you just need to do things that may seem to have no benefit on your job whatsoever, but they have a benefit on you and you should be your greatest investment by developing emotional intelligence!

We hope you’ve found these components to be helpful in your journey of developing emotional intelligence. If they were helpful to you, we’d love it if you’d consider subscribing and leaving a like or comment below on this article. It would really be appreciated!

Until next time, let’s work on developing emotional intelligence together!


Published by Jason Fulmer

Jason Fulmer is a Pastor and Personal Development Teacher. He currently operates two blogs: where he posts Bible-based Pastoral articles, and where he posts Bible-based leadership and development articles. His life's goal is to encourage men and women to go to THEIR next level of living and leading. He believes the best way to accomplish this goal is through Education and Example!

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