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5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence with Examples

5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence with ExamplesUpdated on September 21, 2020 | Published on November 9, 2019

5 Elements of Emotional Intelligence with Examples

Do you know someone who is smart, but has a messy personal life? Or someone who has made millions of dollars, but is not happy? The absence of emotional intelligence makes all the difference! All of us experience emotions – happiness, grief, anger, fear, and so on. But these emotions that surface inside us can be hard to spot. So, the following emotional intelligence examples will help you recognize them.

As much as 80% of adult “success” comes from EQ.

Daniel Goleman

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is also referred to as EI or EQ. It is the ability to monitor and manage emotions; not only of yours but also others. Likewise, Daniel Goleman writes about EI in his book. “Emotional Intelligence” suggests that EQ is as important as IQ, if not more. 

Emotional Intelligence Examples

Some emotional intelligence examples are:

  • Accepting defeat – It is not easy to accept your loss. But people with high EI easily let go of things. 
  • Ability to understand the point of view of others – It does not take a lot for disputes to turn into heated arguments. However, people with EI understand others. As a result, they get things under control even when they are turbulent. 
  • Taking criticism – Harsh criticism is never easy to take. Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, criticism is there. An example of emotional intelligence is to take negative feedback positively. With this in mind, using it to your advantage is the key. 
  • Managing your emotions – What do you do when you are stuck in a traffic jam? Blow the horn over and again or stay calm and composed? Since people with EI have their emotions in check; they would choose to do the latter. 

5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman put forward components of emotional intelligence as:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Skill 

The 5 elements of EI give deeper insights into developing it.

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to understand your thoughts. It also involves recognizing your emotions. In addition, recognizing your emotional strengths and weaknesses fall under self-awareness, too.


When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life

— Tara Meyer Robson

Self-awareness helps in –

  1. Understanding how your emotions affect others around you. Further, this transcends into effective communication.
  2. Recognizing your own limitations. Thus, one can use constructive feedback to his/her benefit.
  3. Developing the ability to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. As an example of EI, you may hire experts in the areas that you struggle with.
  4. Increasing self-confidence.
Benefits of elements of emotional intelligence
Benefits of elements of emotional intelligence

How to Improve Self-awareness

  1. Muling over questions like “ What are my emotional strengths and weaknesses?” can bring valuable insights. Once you know who you are, only then you can begin the journey of growth.
  2. Keeping a journal to record any disruptive emotions like anger and grief. That is to say, trace the pattern of the situations that trigger those emotions.
  3. Observing how people around you respond to your behavior

2. Self-regulation

Self-regulation is the skill of managing your emotions and impulses. That also, at any given time, place and circumstance. Self -awareness without self-regulation is like a brand new car without steering wheel.


  1. Develops self-control which allows you to act rationally.
  2. Earns you trust and respect. As an example of EI, consider you are in a restaurant. Somebody spills a drink on you by accident. Instead of getting stirred up with anger, you understand that it’s a mistake. Manage to maintain your cool. Similarly, nobody likes a grumpy boss.
  3. Makes you flexible to changes.

How to Improve Self-regulation

1. Practice response instead of reaction. Reactions are often abrupt and unthought-of. But, responses are well-thought-out, not just an outburst. As an example of EI, suppose a coworker says something which triggers an unwanted emotion. Instead of an instant bitter reply, take a deep breath. And respond calmly.
2. Accepting that some things are out of control. Let go of the sense of control, if you’re craving for one.
3. Taking responsibility. Instead of blaming the situation, accept your mistakes. Above all, thrive on improving yourself.

How to improve elements of emotional intelligence
How to improve elements of emotional intelligence

3. Motivation

Another main element of EI is intrinsic motivation. This kind of motivation is not driven by external agents. For instance, money, fame, or acclaim. Instead, it is related to passion, commitment, and vision.


  1. Makes you resilient in the face of adversity.
  2. Increases your focus.
  3. Reduces the odds of procrastination.

How to improve

  1. Remember your “why”.
  2. Focus on what you like about your job. Moreover, paying attention to the things that you truly enjoy can change your attitude. For an example of EI, you may like helping your clients with a project.
  3. Being positive will motivate you to look forward to another day. For instance, notice the contagious enthusiasm of optimistic people at the workplace.
  4. Lastly, set small goals that add to the bigger goal that you have. Setting smaller goals will provide you with a sense of accomplishment. It will keep you motivated to keep going.

4. Social Skills

Research has shown that good social skills are a sign of high EI. According to Goleman, social skills are “friendliness with a purpose.”


  1. In understanding the intent of people.
  2. Makes you comfortable with negative feedback. So, you ponder over questions like “how can this improve me?” instead of sulking.
  3. Builds a rapport with people around you.

How to improve

  1. Be authentic. Since we are in a world where most people have pretense on, being genuine will earn you trust. It does not mean being polite day in and out to avoid conflicts. Rather it means that you say what you mean.
  2. Praise others and provide constructive feedback. In order to pay genuine compliments, you need to observe people. That is to say focus on the good side of others.
  3. Develop your communication skills. As effective verbal and non-verbal communication is crucial, it will help you resolve conflicts or even avoid them altogether.
  4. Understand the point of view of others. That is, try to observe the problem from all possible angles. This is because seeing things from different perspectives makes you realize the needs of others. In other words, try to arrive at a conclusion benefitting everyone.
  5. Even more so, pay attention to non-verbal communication.

5. Empathy

We must remember that we are talking to somebody who has emotions. Empathy is understanding and recognizing those emotions. Furthermore, it includes your response based on this information.


  1. Firstly, you understand the reasons for which people behave the way they do.
  2. Shows that you care to put yourself in the shoes of another. Abandoning your own point of view is rather difficult.
  3. Rather than judging and labeling others, you identify the underlying issues. This is one of the examples of EI. As put correctly by poet Stevie Smith, “not waving but drowning”.

How to improve

  1. Avoid distractions when somebody is talking. It is sheer disrespect to the person and time.
  2. Understand their point of view. Yes, it is possible that you might not have been in a similar situation. But imagining a circumstance when you felt similar emotions helps.
  3. Do not give opinions if they’re unsolicited. The person might just be looking for an ear that will listen.
  4. If you’re an employer, do not ignore your employees’ emotions. Consider this as an example of EI. If an employee seems upset, address it rather than letting it go unnoticed.

Finals Thoughts

To sum up, building up your EI is essential, as shown in the emotional intelligence examples. It allows you the chance to avoid misunderstanding and confusion. In other words, your relationships with others and yourself get more meaningful and deeper. Even more so, it is vital for your well-being and a successful career. Remember, EI is the primary factor of success, not IQ.