What is EQ?

The current definition of EQ (emotional intelligence) includes abilities and skills that enable us to identify and effectively manage our emotions and the emotions of others. Researchers have approached the topic in different ways, resulting in variations in the way EQ is explored, assessed, and described. All frameworks work on the the basic principle that there is information in emotions. How that information is perceived, managed, and how it affects human behavior vary.

Nearly three decades of research by Peter Salovey, John Mayer, and David Caruso have identified four capabilities associated with perceiving various elements of emotional expressions and four associated with managing emotional responses. These researchers believe that the eight capabilities they have identified are both foundational to EQ and innate, such that very little development of the capability is possible.

Some writers like to define emotional intelligence exclusively from the perspective of capabilities of perceiving and managing emotions, and others define emotional intelligence as an array of skills and perspectives that enhance well-being and improve relationships. There are a large number of different assessment tools which have focused on specific dimensions and competencies of emotional intelligence, depending on the definition and the focus of the model. Among the popular assessment tools of this perspective is the EQi 2.0.

There are researchers in personality who feel strongly that emotional intelligence is threaded through attributes related to interpersonal skills and psychological mindedness, and no additional models are needed. Personality tools like the Hogan, CPI 434 or CPI 260, NEO-pi, Workplace Big Five, 16 PF, and others are used to address aspects of emotional intelligence from the perspective of personality.

Each of these threads in research on emotional intelligence have added to the knowledge of the nature and practical utility of developing the skills and competencies associated with EQ. Because each of these threads have a theoretical bias, each framework avoids or ignores insights from the other. For example, the Mayer, et al research focus has not necessarily considered the full set of behaviors that are byproducts of a capability like reading the emotional expressions evident in others’ faces. The a-theroetical frameworks like those in other assessments—focused either on EQ or personality—fail to consider how broad many of their scales are which avoid identification of behaviors that are subtle and profound. For example, while measuring empathy, scores do not inform the individual as to the contribution of active listening, interpersonal savvy, patience, reading body language, and other skills which impact both the experience and outcomes of empathy.

A comprehensive and wholistic look at emotional intelligence includes all of the above perspectives and focuses on the skills and behaviors that have consistently shown to be important in being effective with dealing with one’s own emotional effectiveness and in relating well with others. A library of fifty-four people skills allows for identifying those behaviors that are relevant in a current role or situation and focus on those behaviors that enrich relationships. Four research practitioners began a four year project to analyze published research sources to cast a net to identify all relevant behaviors associated with emotional intelligence resulting in the definition of fifty-four competencies which have been licensed to Matrix Insights. In addition to outlying the behaviors, specific action tips, supporting materials, and various learning strategies are provided to assist the learner.

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