EQ...Hype or Hope

EQ or Emotional Intelligence isn’t really new—the Time Life cover shown dates back to the early 90’s. The subject continues to gain attention as more companies (and individuals) look for a competitive edge. In this post I’ll attempt to demystify the concept of EQ and offer some guidelines on how to increase your personal EQ.

The basics of EQ are simple and straight forward, yet by and large, the concept is misunderstood at best and viewed as a “soft” skill at worse. So here’s what you need to know:

EQ: 5 pieces, 2 buckets…

What that means is there are 5 specific dimensions that make up your overall EQ. These 5 dimensions are broken up into two sections; Intrapersonal and Interpersonal. Intrapersonal are those elements that occur or live within your mind. Interpersonal are the elements that show up in your interactions with others.

INTRApersonal Dimensions

Three of the five dimensions live inside your head. They are the basis for effecting an improvement or increase in your overall EQ so that’s where we’ll start.


As the title implies Self Awareness is exactly that. The clinical definition is “The ability recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others”. Said another way, they say the first step is to know you have a problem!


This is where we can start to make a difference and ‘up’ our personal EQ. Self-Regulation is “The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgment as well as think before acting”. On a personal note this is the area I struggle with the most. I call it “Blurt-ers Syndrome”.


I’ve always said the word Motivation means motive to take action. As it relates to your EQ it means “A passion to go to work for reasons other than money or status and pursue goals with energy and passion”. It’s that thing that drives you to take action beyond personal gain.

INTERpersonal Dimensions:

The remaining two dimensions making up your overall EQ are how the first three show up when you interact with others. Just like the first three it’s important to note that these last two dimensions can be seen and observed by the people you engage with everyday.


Empathy is a powerful and critical skill! Unfortunately it’s usually misunderstood and gets confused with sympathy. The most literal definition is “The ability to see through the eyes of another”. Understanding another person’s point of view goes a long way towards effective communication. It’s important to note what empathy doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with or even like another persons point of view. It just means you understand it. To quote Homer Simpson “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand”. On a deeper level it’s the ability to understand another person’s emotions and what causes them.

Social Skills:

This is where the rubber meets the road! This is “One’s ability to proficiently manage relationships and build networks”. Of the 5 dimensions this is the one where other people’s opinion of your skill set matters more than yours does!

So now what?

Understanding the 5 elements is the first step in the journey to enhancing your overall EQ. If you made it this far and you have an interest in knowing your EQ shoot me an email with “I want more EQ” in the subject line. I’ll send you a link to a free assessment that will show you where yours is…