Leadership, Personal Development


The complex topic of emotional intelligence is disturbing scientists, consultants, and leaders over the last 25+ years. It has been so easy before they all knew that emotional intelligence exists. People only thought about others in terms of intellectual intelligence. Organizations have promoted the smartest members of the teams, recruiters recruited the ones who knew better business, consultants put people in groups, based only on their intellectual level.

But gone are the days when you had to judge on people based on their IQ. We now need a more complex model, showing us the human part of each person. Based on this, we define persons “potential for growth”, develop programs and plans, measure achievements, plan further steps for development, analyze results and deliver feedback (in some cases winning, in others – negative).

In the 1990s Daniel Goleman work has presented for us his list of competencies, helping us to identify emotional intelligence level for each particular person and start working with the person more focused on developing areas for improvement, to make people more productive, efficient, winning by nature, etc.

Bellow, I will share with you the steps as I understood and involved in my practice to build a winning and growing emotional intelligence. We will start with the basics by explaining the:


This, according to Daniel Goleman is the building block to all other steps. Without being able to recognize your feelings, you are not able to proceed to the other competencies. Self-awareness involves three key skills:

Emotional self-awareness – In terms of the theory of Daniel Goleman, this means that if you don’t recognize feelings that make you happy and productive and the causes for them, you cannot manage them to ensure success. To be truly happy you need to determine what makes you happy and what makes you feel bad. Based on that knowledge you must build informed actions for improvement. Unfortunately, modern society does not support this process. For example, have thought about all the people who stay in jobs they hate, or relationships that poison their days, or maybe are trapped in repeating negative behaviors because ignoring the cause of the emotion by all them. Yes, under the surface there is something that is not alright. It is trying to tell us that something is not OK, that we are unhappy, or stressed, lonely, scared, or any other negative emotion, and that we need to do something to change that, but it seems that we have forgotten to listen on that internal voice.

To increase your self-awareness on emotions you will need a lot of practice. Your ability to note your feelings won’t change in one moment, you will need time to see results. To help increasing self-awareness you will first need to start cheking with yourself where you are. Begin identifying your emotions will take time. It will be better to schedule some time to “check with yourself”, or in other words- to stay alone and think about situations and emotions that have raised.

This time with yourself must be filled with questions such as:

  • How am I feeling?
  • How long I feel that way?
  • Is this feeling causing any change in my body? (here you can think of physical expressions from the feelings like tremors or others).

Something else that will help you in this phase is to name your emotions. The simplest technique to this is to label them. Before you do that will have to identify the reason for these emotions. Identifying what caused them will help you easily label and structure them and recognize what effect these emotions have on your health, personality, and level of happiness. Identifying what triggered emotions can be easily achieved by asking yourself several questions. Some of them can be:

  • When did the feeling rose?
  • What was the situation around when the feeling arose?
  • How the strength of the emotion has affected your behavior and how it has changed over time?

The next you can do is to ensure a higher level of self-awareness is to be there in the moment. That simply means to try listening to the emotions on the moment they happen. In most of the cases, our emotions are something like a warning sign when we are walking in an unknown area. The nerves or the emotions our body produces is the way to warn us about something possibly dangerous that can happen to us. A good practice can be to try verbalizing your emotions. As an example, I can share with you a phrase I use when I get into a new challenging project. With all the unknown points, the leaders I’m talking about often ask: How do you feel about the project? And often my answer (surprisingly for them) is: I feel nervous and I kinda feel it in my stomach.

The last step here, after you have identified your emotions and explored what is this emotion trying to tell you to ensure that you are dealing with a whole story at each particular moment and that these emotions are not only part of something much bigger. The paths, or the roots(as called from BJ Kingman) of the emotions are a good way to start and explore further to ensure that you have reached all that emotion can cause. If finding something else you will need to go the root again to further explore.


The second step of the self-awareness process is to be able to accurately assess how your emotions are affecting your performance. This step involves honest investigation and acknowledgment of your strengths and areas for development. Remember that people with strongly developed self-assessment skills are capable to go critical on their personality and learn new things successfully. There are different tools that can help you to understand where you stand emotionally and identify your strengths and areas for development. Try to develop your own questionnaire with different reactions on how you are moving ahead in different situations and use it to diagnose your most emotionally heavy sides. The most important thing you have to remember here is whether you use a ready to fill questionnaire, or you create your own, the imperative you will have to follow is – BE HONEST. If you are not honest about things that disturb you then you are hiding from yourself valuable information about how to handle different problems and situations. Let me give you a single example from the questionnaire I have created for my self-evaluation:

Emotional intelligence quiz example:

  1. When someone says that you are wrong your reaction is:
  • Thank them
  • Deny it
  • Defend yourself
  • Blame them or someone else
  • Point on mistakes they have made 

One of the things you should focus on identifying the triggers causing particular emotion. When the process grows and you gain experience on the topic, you will be able to even move ahead and predict how will you feel in the future when similar triggers rise up.


This is the last step of the self-awareness. You have to understand and accept that recognizing and acknowledging feelings and their impact is not always comfortable for the explorer. People going high self-confident in the process are able to easily identify their strengths and development areas and star upgrading on them. Here are some of the characteristics of the self-confident people:

  • Strong presence
  • High level of self-assurance
  • Ready to go the last mile for something they think is worth
  • Express unpopular opinions without being afraid of that
  • Make quick decisions even in an uncertain environment
  • Believe that they own their own lives and control it the best way they think

To achieve control over your life it will be beneficial for you to make your own lists of strengths and areas for development and compare them. After that, you should start planning how you can build with learning on the things you think you can improve.



If you want to build on something you will have to start with the basics. To build a consistent and last longing emotional intelligence you will first have to be aware of the most important trait in your life- your emotions. Self-awareness is the basic you have to achieve in order to move ahead with successfully managing and developing your emotional growth.

Look at the next to articles to aware yourself o how to successfully manage yourself and create social awareness.


Have you missed the previous chapter?

Find it here:

Chapter 1: Emotional intelligence explained in a taxi ride



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