What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Think about the best boss you’ve ever had. What did he or she do well? Why did you like working for him or her?

Chances are, you didn’t like your boss because he or she was simply smart. More likely, you liked that boss because of their team-oriented management style, their ability to listen and respond thoughtfully, or their ability to stay calm under pressure.

These are qualities of someone with high emotional intelligence, defined as the ability to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of themselves and others.

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is being hailed as a must-have for navigating both the corporate ladder and your most important relationships.

Unlike traditional intelligence (IQ), which typically remains stable over a person’s lifespan, emotional intelligence is not fixed over time. In other words, EQ is something that can always be improved upon.

According to the work of Daniel Goleman, EQ expert and author of Working with Emotional Intelligence, there are four key components of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-Awareness: Ability to recognize and comprehend your own emotions.
  • Self-Management: Ability to govern and control your own emotions and reactions. Ability to adapt to new situations, maintain a positive outlook, and stay oriented towards achievement.
  • Social Awareness: Ability to feel empathy, or to recognize and understand the emotions of people around you. Ability to understand the overall dynamics of the organization or family unit.
  • Relationship Management: Ability to inspire, mentor, and influence others through interpersonal communication. Ability to manage conflict and promote teamwork.

These areas of competency are now widely recognized as key assets for corporate leaders. What’s more, mindfulness training actually supports growth in each of those EQ areas.

Like a mindfulness practice, a practice of emotional intelligence benefits us physically and mentally. Mindfulness-based emotional intelligence shows huge benefits for stress reduction and workplace performance. In addition, people who practice mindfulness at work are shown to have more appropriate reactions to stress, be more creative, more compassionate, better communicators and better leaders.

“When all is said and done, everything in life boils down to relationships. It doesn’t matter how smart, or well-accomplished we are — if we lack emotional intelligence, we miss out on reaching our full potential as professionals, and as human beings.” Daniel Goleman


As Chief Mindfulness Officer of Mastermind Meditation, Dorsey Standish brings research-backed mindfulness and mindful movement to clients throughout the state of Texas. A lifelong learner and scientist, Dorsey has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and is enrolled in the UT Dallas Applied Cognition and Neuroscience Master’s Program. After mindfulness transformed her own work, health and relationships, Dorsey left her corporate role at Texas Instruments to share the power of mindfulness with others full-time. Dorsey’s teachings combine neuroscience research with her experiences in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program and multiple weekend and 10-day silent meditation retreats. Join Dorsey for one of Mastermind’s upcoming applied mindfulness programs at mastermindmeditate.com/programs

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