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Emotional Intelligence – Why And How You Want To Build This Skill Muscle

Roxana is the Founder of All Personal, a Canadian award-winning leadership and team coaching & training company helping corporate team leaders and start-up co-founders boost leadership skills to become dream ‘bosses’ and build dream teams.

Executive Contributor   Roxana Radulescu

A recent study of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development in the UK (CIPD) says that: ‘Nearly as much as 80% of the reasons why careers are derailed can be traced to weaknesses in Emotional Intelligence.’ The good news? Emotional Intelligence is a skill we can all work on and improve.

emotional intelligence poster

‘Emotional intelligence is the difference that makes the difference. A lack of emotional intelligence is what limits some people in their ability to manage themselves, manage others, or manage situations.’ – (J.D. Meier, former Director of Innovation at Microsoft)

So, how do we do that?

First things first: let’s define emotional intelligence (more than 15 years of working with lawyers taught me that we need to define things before we start to talk about them!).

1. What is emotional intelligence (EI)?

In a nutshell, it’s about how you feel, and how others around you feel. Knowledge of EI helps you identify what feels good and bad and how to change. It also helps you maintain an emotional awareness and sensitivity, and develop the skills that will help you to stay positive.

What I love about it is that it is a dynamic process of learning the skills that help us understand ourselves and others better.

The original theory of EI was first identified and developed by two American Psychologists, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, who, in 1990, defined this as a ‘learned ability to perceive, understand and express our feelings accurately and to control our emotions so that they work for us, not against us’.

  • EI helps us to understand how we feel and how others around us feel;

  • EI gives us the knowledge to understand what feels good and what feels bad and how we can change;

  • EI helps us to maintain an emotional awareness and sensitivity to develop the skills to help maintain a positive outlook;

  • EI is a dynamic process of learning skills to understand yourself and others.

The term Emotional Intelligence was made popular by psychologist Daniel Goleman who defines it as the ability to:

  1. Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions

  2. Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.

‘In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others.’ (Daniel Goleman)

2. Why build emotional intelligence in the first place?

There are plenty of reasons, but here are two that I would like to leave you with in this article.

First, the main predictors of career success, according to different studies world-wide:

  1. Ability to handle frustrations

  2. Ability to deal with a diverse range of issues

  3. Ability to manage own emotions

  4. Ability to manage own social skills

These are all important parts of the Emotional Intelligence fully package, as I will share below.

Second, the same studies agree that the main 3 elements causing careers to fail are:

  1. Poor interpersonal skills

  2. Not being a good team player

  3. Having difficulties in handling change

3. How do we grow our emotional intelligence muscle?

So, what do we need to look at to develop our emotional intelligence? 

Here are the 4 dimensions you need to be aware of and practice in order to keep growing this particular skill muscle! 

Remember, our skills are just like muscles: they need to be ‘trained’ regularly, so that they grow and stay in shape. It’s just like going to the gym: we can’t expect we go to the gym once a year and be fit! We go and do our work-outs regularly. The same applies to our skills – they need practice to develop, grow and stay in shape!

Intra nd inter personal table

This is why I keep saying ‘it’s All Personal, nothing is just business!’ 

Because, especially in today's business world, success is all:

Intra-personal – how we manage ourselves;


Inter-personal – how we manage our relationships with others.

You will have noticed one thing: it all starts within. It starts with self-awareness. 

The mistake I see people making, especially at the beginning of their leadership journey, is this: they focus on building successful relationships. And they struggle. And get frustrated when this doesn’t work the way they thought it would. And then they give up and simply change the place where they operate (changing jobs because of that is something I’ve often seen happening) only to bump into the same issue later on.

Because they started in the wrong place. 

Start with yourself. The minute I am aware of how I react, which behaviours I want to keep and which ones I need to change, that’s when real change can happen. 

Self-awareness is what helps us all realize what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are that cause us problems. And then we can start fixing them. Then we can self-manage. Then we can choose to change one behaviour with another one that’s more helpful for us and the others around us.

And then, and only then, can we expect to genuinely build on empathy and create healthy and sustainable relationships with others. 

And then it all makes sense when we say success comes from within.

That said, pick and choose the ingredients that help you build your own successful leadership path. And whatever ingredients you choose, in whichever quantities, remember to always add the essential first: yourself.

Lead different! Lead with Emotional Intelligence.

If you’re interested to dive deeper in this topic, you may also want to watch and read:

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Roxana Radulescu, Leadership & Team Coach

Roxana is the Founder of All Personal, a Canadian award-winning leadership and team coaching & training company helping corporate team leaders and start-up co-founders boost leadership skills to become dream ‘bosses’ and build dream teams. Unlike other people leadership programs that focus on top executives, All Personal also works with mid-senior corporate leaders and start-up co-founders – and their teams! Roxana is a TEDx speaker, a certified Professional Coach – ACC with the International Coaching Federation, EIA with the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), and Team Coach – ITCA with EMCC, Scaled OKRs coach and a certified GCologist®. She holds a diploma in Learning & Development and Human Resources practice from the Chartered Institute for Personnel & Development in the UK.r-generational learning and loves the multicultural blend of European​,​ Canadian and US influences in her life.



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