The Twelve Elements of Emotional Intelligence

As we move into the modern age, employers have followed by making many changes. Once a competitive arena where men reigned supreme, it has taken a softer approach.

Soft skills have become increasingly important. Emotional intelligence is no exception, and we will explore this today. In the ’90s, when John Mayer and Peter Salovey, two American psychologists, came up with the first articulation of this skill. Though it has been around for a few decades, it has taken on a life of its own. Aa a top consideration for employment, it has become vital for managers, leaders, and the general work environment.

Emotional intelligence has developed into a model of four disciplines and twelve competencies. As it grows in complexity, it will continue to shape the world of business and our society.

Four Disciplines

Emotional intelligence takes on many perspectives. Though identifying our emotions is a significant part of it, it is more than just that. The four dimensions include.

1. Self-Awareness

2. Self-Management

3. Social Awareness

4. Relationship Management


This dimension is rather narrow in what it encompasses. Containing one of the twelve elements, we see that this is true. Though self-awareness can take many routes, in this context, it relates to our emotions.

Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to understand how our emotions affect us in our everyday lives. Taking a deeper dive into this, we will find three things.

1. What are the different emotions?

2. How do these emotions affect us?

3. What environments cause these different emotions to arise.

For our emotional worlds, this is only considering half of what it takes to be stable. This need brings us to our next competency, self-management.


Knowing our emotions means very little if we continue to let them control us otherwise. With four elements, self-management takes on different parts of our ability to control our emotional states.

Emotional Self-Control allows us to take our knowledge and apply it to our internal and external environments. Many people will see this as suppressing our negative emotions, but that’s not the goal. Instead, we should healthily express them and change the factors that cause them to arise.

Adaptability is essential because our environments are never static. People and events are always in flux, and we must accept this. As we increase open-mindedness and agreeableness, we can work with the adversity in our lives.

Achievement Orientation allows us to find common ground from which we can grow. If restrictive goals gridlock us, we tend to over-manage and become irritable. Knowing our goals and consistently achieving them helps us move forward.

Positive Outlook puts us in a position to face a world that isn't always fair. With a positive outlook, we don't become more productive, but it allows us to affect the world for the better.

Social Awareness

Social Awareness is the first dimension to take us out of our inner world. The two involved competencies allow us to step outside of ourselves and understand the people and environments around us.

Empathy is a skill that we all understand to a varying degree. With it, it allows us many avenues that push us to build with those around us. Without it, it becomes difficult to have a team that works together with consistency.

Organizational Awareness is all about understanding the dynamic relationships of those around us. Who is in charge? Who has the influence? What rules are governing my surrounding environment? Understanding these questions helps us find out how we should act and behave.

Relationship Management

The last dimension of emotional intelligence, relationship management, contains the final five competencies. As we will find, this is the second discipline that pertains to management. However, unlike self-management, this is our external ability to do such. Just as self-awareness requires applicability, so does social Awareness.

Influence is crucial if we are looking to have an impact. We must develop it within ourselves to voice our opinions and making actionable plans that those around will consider.

Coach and Mentor Relationships cultivate new talent but also helps the teacher learn. Perhaps the most critical relationship dynamic it is something we continuously come to constant contact. From it, teams, groups, and organizations find their driving force.

Conflict Management is vital because adversity is inevitable. With that in mind, we shouldn’t shy away from it, but learn how to deal with it and move forward. When done correctly, conflict can prove to be a constructive force rather than a destructive one.

Teamwork takes away from the individual ego and allows everyone to play their part. This ability is the oiled efficiency that enables organizations to grow and generates ideas that help everyone flourish.

The last element of emotional intelligence is Inspirational Leadership. Without it, teams and individuals wouldn’t have anyone to rally around to achieve the impossible. Cultivating this takes time, but can prove invaluable when adequately understood.

Final Thoughts

Emotional intelligence has been a growing interest over the past few decades and shows signs of continued growth. Helping the youth understand this from a young age is pertinent to a society that proves accepting. Though we naturally learn it, schools should refine it in their students and understand their emotional attachments to their environment.

Our hard skills are fundamental, but this has become less so in our changing world—a world that is looking for talented individuals, both mentally and emotionally.

Community Engagement Question

In what ways have you seen emotional intelligence become necessary in your personal and professional lives? IN what ways do you see it continue to develop? Drop your answers in the comments below!

Special Thanks!

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

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