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Your Emotional Intelligence: 5 Questions to Figure it Out

What is emotional intelligence? Here's a few questions to help you figure out yours.


Do you want to know your emotional intelligence (EI)? Before we get to the questions, let’s define what EI is.

What is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes. Self-management, self-awareness, social awareness and relationship management.

I love how describes EI.

Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

If we take it a step further, we can break emotional intelligence down like this:

  • Self-management – You can control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses and have self-confidence.
  • Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
  • Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain beneficial relationships, communicate, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Why Should I Care About EI?

As a business owner, you’re only as successful as the people you surround yourself with. And your team, whether they tell you, only want to be around leaders who can lead with their emotions in check.

Not to mention, companies are placing a high-value on workers with emotional intelligence.

In a CareerBuilder survey of 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals, they found “Thirty-four percent of hiring managers said they are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees.”

The survey then states, “Seventy-one percent said [hiring managers] value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ.”

But our goal is not to be employees! We’re striving to own our businesses and have teams that help build our revenue.

Therefore, we need to treat our employees with respect, empathy, fairness, sound leadership, and an ability to react to stressful situations with control and candor.

Enough said… Emotional intelligence is important, so let’s move on.

There are thorough assessments you can complete online to determine your emotional intelligence level, but here are five questions that can help you get a basic idea.

#1 – What Are Your Values?

Name a handful of values that are the most important to you.

These should be the core values that guide your decision-making. These are the things you strive for in life.

Actually, this is a trick question.

Ask yourself this, “How long did it take for you to think of your core values? Are you still wondering what they are?”

People with high emotional intelligence know their core values well.

These values are always at the forefront of their mind. If you struggled to consider yours, you may need a little boost to your EI.

Self-awareness is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence. Improving your EI can help you become more self-aware.

#2 – Do You Recognize Your Emotions as You Experience Them?

Could you tell someone what emotional state you’re in while you’re in it?

Can you identify which emotions are driving your behavior? Or do you get overcome and upset and only later discover the emotions behind what you were feeling?

Answer this question honestly and objectively.

People with high emotional intelligence can identify their emotions as they feel them. They know how to regulate and control and thus handle emotions appropriately.

If you don’t feel you can, you could stand to improve your emotional intelligence.

#3 – Do Your Emotions Have a Strong Impact on How You Behave?

Are you in control of your emotions, or are you led by them?

Consider a time recently when you felt a powerful emotion. Did you do or say anything rash?

Or, despite what you were feeling, were you able to handle the situation calmly and appropriately?

Emotional intelligence gives you control over your emotions and provides coping mechanisms to help you deal with them.

TIP: Next time you feel like your emotions are getting the better of you pause for 6-seconds. The chemicals of our emotions in our brain and body typically only last for 6-seconds.

#4 – Are You Curious about People?

Are you interested in other people, and especially people you don’t know?

People who are emotionally intelligent are excellent listeners and strongly empathetic.

They take a sincere interest in other people. If this sounds like you, you probably have a high-level of emotional intelligence.

As a business owner, this translates to “listen when a team member speaks”. Or perhaps it’s a customer who’s speaking. We’re always preparing our response and don’t take the time just to listen.

#5 – Can You “Read” People?

Can you understand the emotions and motivations behind the things people do or say?

Most people aren’t self-aware, and this comes through in how they communicate. They may communicate through subtle phrases or body language hints, and they may not even know that they’re doing it.

If you’re emotionally intelligent, you can read these signals and understand the emotions behind them.

This makes you an excellent communicator and empathetic person.

Resources and Tests

If you’re like me, when I started studying emotional intelligence the first thing I did was look for a test… HA!!

Here’s a couple I found that were easy and helpful.

Mind Tools – Free 15-question test. Super quick and easy. Once complete it’ll give you a score of 15 (low EI) to 75 (high EI). I barely squeezed in to the high EI category at 57! Looks like I still have work to do on raising my EI.

Psychology Today – A free 146-question test. Takes about 45-minutes to finish. I’m still working on mine 🙂

In Conclusion

These five questions are far from thorough, but hopefully they’ve given you some idea of where you stand in terms of emotional intelligence.

Remember, EI is something you can learn and improve.

Let this be a starting point for nurturing your emotional intelligence.

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