Emotional intelligence & Emotional Quotient
- The Psychological Mantra

Madan Mohan Tripathy

“Mitti Kahe Kumhaar se, Tu Kyaa rundhe mohi
Ek din aisaa aayegaa, main runghungi tuhi”

(The clay tells the potter making the pots of clay; “Mr. Potter! Do you take pride that I am being managed by you. Poor fellow! Don’t forget time is not far off when you will be managed by me)

I am not sure in which context, Santh Kabir had composed the above Doha but as a professional manager I understand it this way that even the clay does not want to be managed by the potter.

Let me put a personal question. If your boss, who is responsible for your appraisal, for your promotion, for your growth in the organizational hierarchy, feels and conveys to you that he has managed you from a raw manager to become an effective manager by management techniques, how will you feel? Not very happy, of course. Even if you confess both outwardly and inwardly that he is your friend, philosopher and guide, the moment he mentions that he has managed you or is managing you, you feel he talks rubbish. He has not managed you, you have done it yourself. The reason is very simple, not far to seek. To get managed means to play a subservient role to the person who manages, to succumb to his authority. Nobody wants to be managed. We have our own ego, feelings, emotions which come in the way.

In the present context when competition is becoming stiffer by the day, consumer demand and change has become the order of the day, the manager is asked to manage much more than the five classical dimensions; man, material, machine, method and money (the well known 5 M’s). The manager is required to manage his environment, his customers, his suppliers, his competitors, in addition to managing the traditional resources mentioned above. Since the word management necessarily placed the “managed” under the authority of manager, it is increasingly difficult to comprehend how environment, suppliers, customers in addition to the employees, their trade unions, officers’ associations can be subservient to the managers to be managed by him.

The fallacy is while talking of management, we tend to equate inanimate objects like material machine, method and money with animate beings, persons with life who carry with them their own thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs, attitudes and emotions. Inanimate objects or resources do not have value not because what they are, but because what they can become. We cannot treat both the groups with the same yard stick.

Further, a manager is not really concerned in managing any individual. What he is really concerned is eliciting the desired response from him. Whether the response is spontaneous response or forced response, most of the times do not really concern the manager. A manager feels that he has achieved his mission if the response is positive. As such, the concept of the management is not actually the management of individuals but the management of their responses.

Probably, for understanding Response Management, the key ward is perception, i.e. the way in which people see things. No two people see alike because no two people are exactly alike. Our perceptions do not emanate from what we see with our eyes made of flesh and blood by reflection in the cornea obeying the Laws of Optics. Rather they come from us – our total personality. Every image is painted and flavoured out of our personal / individual experiences and clothed by our own want / desire / motive.

Let me take an example from my own experience. I happened to visit Agra from Delhi by a tourist bus. After we went round the most prized attraction of the tour “The Tajmahal”, the tourist guide asked us how we felt. Spontaneous reactions from people varied from “What a marvelous monument” to “What an unique way of showing love!” etc. But, reaction from one young man stunned us when he said “Oh! This is your Tajmahal! What is so great about it ? It is like any other building where public money was wasted by the erstwhile rulers”. We all were amazed by his statement. It was a sturdied silence for some time. The young man was in his early 20s. However, since he was sitting by my side in the tourist bus, I could gather from him later during the return journey that his original plan was to visit Tajmahal on the day with his beloved, which did not materialize and he had to come alone as they fell apart only the previous evening. I could understand the reason of his reaction. His reaction probably would have been different had he been moving inside the monument with his beloved hand in hand.

Any practicing manager must have experienced that the same stimulus elicits different responses from different people and even from same people at different times. This is because of the difference in perception. That is why there are so many problems in any organization involving people and their interactions. More than 70% of the problem in any organization are not technical, but because of involvement or noninvolvement of people. If the human behavior would have obeyed the laws of mathematics, there would not have been any charm in Human Resource Management or Organizational Psychology. It is interesting because of its inherent variations, its contradictions, and the uniqueness it encompasses.

Further, it must be realized that our response to any stimulus is greatly influenced by our interpretation as to its effect on our comfort and happiness. We view it in the way it affects us. If a manager is given a draft promotion policy or a draft appraisal system for his views, he invariably evaluates his own gain in the policy and his suggestions are based on how it affects him. Though we may not accept it overtly, the fact remains that all of us are self-centered and for me “I am the central point and the whole humanity / organization revolves around me” and that is equally applicable for you, and for that matter for anybody else as this is the simple fact, the nature’s way of perpetuating the species, a natural law of self preservation. I am little blunt. But, I am well within my sense when I say it. A Simple matter-of-fact statement but difficult to accept. Any one differing may put his hand on his chest and try to analyze the simple situations like where his eyes are dragged when he looks at a group photograph, may be a family picnic or a training programme attended by his or annual day celebration of the Company. Our eye balls are invariably focused on us even if the photographs is located in an obscure place and the face is only half visible. When you turn the pages of the Economic Times for Stock Market Quotations, where your eves are dragged; obviously to know the values of shares held by you. Of course, this is not universal. Exceptions do exist. In situations of emergency sometimes individual preferences and like / dislikes are forgotten and individual interest are sacrificed for a greater common goal. But these are true exceptions. Such situations are not many, not such individuals are many.

As such, management of responses entails with it the understanding of the emotional rallying point of the individual to establish a linkage between the emotional instinct of the individual and the desired response. Logic, reasoning supported by facts, figures, computerized data, statistical analysis may be very attractive, perhaps for book-keepers and statisticians and may be perhaps to prove your own knowledge. But when you want a man to go all out for you, quoting a mountain of indigestible facts and figures are sheer garbage. You have got a to appeal to his prime mover, his emotion rather plan intellect, his heart rather than his head.

Researchers have concluded that people who manage their own feelings well and deal effectively with feelings and emotions of others are more likely to succeed in their life, be it work life or home life. To relate to the feelings and emotions of others, you have to take charge of your own emotions first.

A manager in the present business environment always faces situations which tests his emotional maturity. The pressures to succeed, pressures to produce, insurmountable schedules, demands to coordinate with people of different hue and cry, together put a lot of strain on his emotions. How many times we have come across a boss or a subordinate or a colleague blowing up at trifles? This is the result of failure to manage their own emotions.

Imagine, you are in the office at 05 PM on a Saturday. There is a labour problem not yet solved. A report is to be sent to Corporate Office for which there is constant reminder from Managing Director’s office. You beloved child telephones you again and again that you have to carry her to her school at 06 PM for her School Annual Function and her Miss has reminded that participation of both the parents is a must. You are pressed for time. Suddenly, your junior comes and announces that the computer has failed and the file is irretrievable. A situation in which your management qualification from a premier institute, you high intellect, you scoring very high marks in the Intelligence Quotient scale, your academic brilliance cannot come to your rescue. What you need now is something to ensure that you are not thrown off balance.

For years social scientists, psychologists have searched for this something else and studied what qualities differentiate business leaders and outstanding performers. It has been proved time and again that it is neither their technical skills nor their High Intelligent Quotient. That something else is the “Emotional Quotient”, High Emotional intelligence is the lubricant for success. It is that quality in a manager which makes him capable of coping with pressures to work for longer hours, navigate through complicated business relationships and function under high level of stress, simultaneously balancing the demands of personal lives. Intelligence Quotient gives a measure of what you can do (what you are capable of doing), but Emotional Quotient tells you what you will do (What you will actually do). That is why we have seen so many executives with high intellect fail miserably while people with modest Intelligence become very successful in the professional field beyond anyone’s imagination. It is aptly told, high Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) can make you a legal scholars; successful fiscal analyst, but you need really very high Emotional Quotient (E.Q.) to become a good trail Lawyer or the Chief Executive.

Emotional Intelligence has its root in the concept of “Social Intelligence” first identified by Thorndike in 1920. But, the term “Emotional Intelligence” is actually coined in late 80C by two American psychologists Peter Salovey of Yale and John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire to describe intangible qualities such as understanding one’s own feelings, regulation of emotion like empathy, self-awareness and ability to love and be loved, ability to relate with other emotions etc. But the credit for making the term “Emotional Intelligence” popular goes to Daniel Goleman, a writer with the New York Times and his best seller. “Emotional Intelligence : Why it can matter more than I.Q.” published in 1995.

Now the phrases “Emotional Intelligence” and “Emotional Quotient” are propping up every where. If you open up magazines or browse internet sites, you come across innumerable tests that boast of testing your “Emotional Quotient”. Some organizations have changed from IQ tests to EQ tests for selection of personnel. Even in India, some companies have resorted to selecting people with high Emotional Quotient. Some organizations have included development of EQ in their training module for executives. In countries like America and Canada, there is growing realization to include development of E.Q. in the school curriculum. There is a new breed of professionals developing called “EQ Specialists” or “EQ Coach”. It appears E.Q. is becoming all pervasive. Emotional Intelligence might have made its appearance to satisfy academic curiosity, but it is fast becoming a psychological mantra.

Let us answer these basic questions about Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence :

1. What is Emotional Intelligence ?
2. What are the ingredients of Emotional Intelligence ?
3. Can Emotional Intelligence be really measured in a meaningful way ?
4. Can people wanting in it be taught the necessary skills ?

What is Emotional Intelligence ?

Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to sense, understand our own feelings and those of others, the capacity to respond to them appropriately for motivating in ourselves and in our relationships. Emotional Intelligence does not emerge from the intellect, but from workings of the human heart. It encompasses the so called soft skills, the art of live and let live.

It involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotion, to discriminate among them and use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions (Mayer & Salvey, 1993 : 433).

Emotional Intelligence is the aggregate of abilities, competencies and skills that represent a collection of knowledge used to cope with life effectively (Dr. Reuven Baron).

Emotional Intelligence offers tremendous practical application in different facets of our life – be it at work or at home, at the club or in seminar. A touch of Emotional intelligence at the right time can make a hale of a difference between nearness and distance, open and closed, conflict and cooperation, acceptance and rejection, love and hate, understanding and misunderstanding, violence and non-violence, jubilation and disappointment. Emotional Intelligence gives the competitive edge.

Emotionally Intelligent people plan and aim for success. They expect success and hence are not bothered by temporary set backs. They do not perceive them as failures even if they fail sometimes in their effort as they never internalize their failure. They are out and out optimist.

There is much of Emotional intelligence which rather sounds like plain common sense. Does it not appear obvious that the ability to control emotion, anger, fear or to develop empathy are the true indicators of success rather than abstract intelligence based on reasoning and rationality?

Ingredients of Emotional Intelligence

The tern Emotional intelligence has the following ingredients :

1. Self Awareness
2. Self Management Intra Personal
3. Self Motivation

4. Social Awareness Inter Personal
5. Social Competence

Self Awareness

Self awareness is termed as “The Inner You” by Dr Michael E Rock, the Prof. Of Business Ethics, Values and Organizational Behavior in Canada. Self Awareness encompasses with it the ability to understand one’s own emotions, also causes of one’s own emotions and its impact on work performance. This also encompasses a realistic evaluation of one’s own strengths and weaknesses. It includes knowing one’s internal states, preferences and intuitions. This is very important because there may be a number of blind spots in the personality of the individual and unless these blind spots are located, it will be difficult to have an accurate understanding of how we behave, why we behave in a particular way. Self Awareness gives a leverage to us to understand accurately how other people perceive us and recognize how we respond to others in the way we do. People who have a high EQ on Self Awareness know how to take care of themselves. “Know Thyself” is what Socrates said over 2000 years ego. He said, “Self knowledge is the beginning of wisdom” and it still is.

I am reminded of a story read by me years ago.

“A passerby found a man searching for something below a lamp post. The passerby wanted to help the man, stopped and asked the man “What are you searching for?” “I am searching for my lost wallet” – promptly came the reply. The passerby also joined him in the search for the lost wallet. After sometime, the passerby asked, “Exactly where did you lose it?”. To his amazement, the man replied “In my room on the second floor in that building over there”. The passerby asked, “Then why are you searching for it here?” “Because there is no light over there as there is power cut,” was the reply.

Trying to understand others without self awareness is searching at the wrong place like the person searching for the lost wallet below the lamp post.

Self Management

Self Management is termed as “The Manageable You” by Dr Michael E. Rock. Self Management encompasses with it the ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses under one’s own control, handling feelings to make them appropriate, realizing the reasons behind a feeling, finding ways and means to manage negative emotions e.g. fears and anxieties, anger and sadness. Management of self is also not a very easy job. There are some impulses like anger and anxiety which are difficult to control. The age old advice to count from 1 to 10 when you are angry is still considered a better control system. Similarly, anxiety can be made to solve useful purpose if it is channalised to focus on a problem. This competency allows us to withstand adverse situations without falling apart.

Self Management encompasses impulse control, stress tolerance, trust-worthiness (maintaining standards of honesty and integrity), conscientiousness (taking responsibility for personal performance) adaptability (adjusting to changing situations and flexibility in handing changes) and innovation (being comfortable in novel ideas, approaches and new information).

Self Motivation

Self Motivation is termed as “The Motivational You” by Dr. Michael E. Rock. This gives the emotional tendency that guides us or facilitates reaching goals. In other words, it is gathering of our own feelings and emotions and channalising our emotions to attain a goal despite self doubt, inertia or impulsiveness. Self Motivation keeps us hopeful in spite of setbacks. This includes achievement drive (the drive to improve or meet a standard of excellence), commitment (skills responsible for aligning with goals of the group or organization) and initiative (readiness to seize opportunities and act on opportunities) and optimism. It is proved time and again that optimist people cope well with life as they have the capacity to handle rejection well since they do not personalize the failure. It is aptly told that if you think only the worst will happen, it generally does. Pessimism is like Cancer and it drains energy not only from self but from everyone around. People with high self motivation do not spend days worrying about uncertainties as they strive for shaping their future. The dictum of Self Motivation is “Expect the best, be prepared for worst and take in the stride whatever comes”.

Social Awareness

It is termed as “The Social You” by Dr. Michael E. Rock. Social awareness includes empathy, organizational awareness and service orientation. The Emotional Intelligence core competency Empathy allows us to be aware of and appreciate other people’s feelings. This also allows us to appreciate the differences in how people feel about things and show concern about their feelings and emotions. Empathy is not same as sympathy. Empathy makes us to feel with others and see the world through their eyes. It is something like tuning into other’s cues, both verbal and non-verbal.

Organizational awareness refers to the ability to understand the state of the organization and its requirements, its currents and crosscurrents and the ability to navigate through such crosscurrents. Service orientation refers to anticipating, recognizing and meeting customer’s needs.

Social Competence

It is termed “The Leader in You” by Dr Michael E. Rock. This is the component of EQ which shows the adeptness at inducting desirable response in others. This EQ component in us is responsible for handling relationships. This makes us able to help others deal with their feelings and emotions in productive ways. This comprises of social skills that are used in leadership, building bonds and relationships, team work and collaboration, conflict management, skills of communication including listening, influencing including persuasion and counseling and developing others through feedback and guidance.

People having social competence can make relationship work for them, not against them. They enjoy relationship with others as relationship with them is mutually satisfying. Others like being around them not because of their power or authority but because they feel at ease and comfortable around them. This is the so called magnetic personality.

Can EQ be measured?

Psychologists differ on this point because EQ basically deals with soft skills of heart and pivots on such intangibles such as empathy, persistence, depthness and self awareness etc.

“The idea that you can measure EQ like IQ is very misleading. Emotional skills are slippery and relative in a way that IQ is not. For example, your communicative ability with someone you know is different from your communicative ability with a stranger and each relationship will have its own characteristics of emotional communication”, says Ross Buck, Professor of Communication Sciences at the University of Connecticut. In contrast, some psychologists feel that the way people respond to reverses – either optimistically or pessimistically – is a good thumb rule to judge their EQ. But the fact remains that it may not be possible to reduce the concept of EQ to a nominal yard stock for measurement as is done for IQ.

Unlike the famous Stanford Binnet test that measures IQ, there is no standard tests for assessing EQ. But, some of the components of EQ like optimism can be measured with a fair degree of accuracy by a test devised by a psychologists of Pennsylvania University named Martin Seligsman which is very popular. As per Seligsman, optimists, whenever they fail, never attribute their failure to some inherent weakness which cannot be overcome, but to something they can change. This self confidence in them to effect change is self re-enforcing.

Daniel Goleman mentions in his best seller book on EQ, a test know as Marshmallow Test developed in 1960 by Walter Mischel, a psychologist at Stanford University. A group of four years old children were given a marshmallow each and were told that anyone who could postpone eating the marshmallow for 15 to 20 minutes, would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. After 12 to 14 years the same children were tracked down as adolescents. It was discovered that four year olds who could triumph over their desire to eat the marshmallow at once and waited for the second one, meaning thereby that their self-control were found to be better adjusted, they developed to be confident, dependable and more popular adolescents. But even this test which measures the effectiveness of the child in putting off rewards cannot be said to be the true measure of EQ, even for children.

Daniel Goleman, the Harvard Psychologist who is responsible for popularizing EQ, has devised a test which can give a rough sense of what our EQ might be. The EQ test given by Goleman can also not claim to be the single paper pencil test for measuring emotional quotient, but the questions answered honestly can give a rough idea about the EQ of the person concerned. There are also EQ tests developed by Dr. Reuven BarOn, a psychologist who developed EQ Inventory tests in five scales. This test has been validated around the world with nearly 20,000 people.

Can EQ be increased ?

Even if there are differences of opinion among psychologists regarding the measurement of EQ, there is unanimity among the psychologists and proponents of EQ that EQ is essentially learnt and as such EQ can be developed and nurtured even in adulthood, in contrast to IQ which is basically determined at birth and is inherent. It is widely believed that IQ does not increase once we attain the age of 18 years. Emotional Skills such as empathy can be taught at any stage which can prove beneficial for the individual. EQ is not something we are stuck up with. We can always develop ways and means to improve our relationships, our behavior with our colleagues, in our home and in our work places. We can always learn to channalise our thoughts into creative expressions.

But increasing EQ is not a cake walk. In the words of Ross Buck, Prof. of Communication Sciences at the University of Connecticot “Even if it is accepted as a fact that EQ can be increased by training or coaching, it is nevertheless a difficult task. If someone has a tendency to be aggressive, we can train him to recognize and control his feelings. But training an extrovert will be different from training an introvert and it is not the same as saying this person is or is not empathic”.

But for increasing our EQ, more than the EQ coach or any psychologist what is needed most is our own consciousness and own desire to raise our EQ. In fact, you are already on the path of raising your EQ the moment you have taken interest in knowing about EQ, more so when you have understood what EQ is and how essential it is and still more when you have desired to raise it.

In summary, I would like to quote Daniel Goleman himself “Emotional Intelligence is a master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them” – Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, P-80.

At the end, I am reminded of a couplet of an Urdu Poet concerning the effectiveness of a Ghazal.

“Ghazal main bandish-e-alfaz hi nahin Kafi
Zigar Ka Khun bhi Kuchh Chahiye asar ke liye”

(In a ghazal, it is not the words or the lyrics which are enough o create the desired effect. It is the blood pouring from the heart, the emotional touch which brings out the true effect).


1. Goleman D., (1995) Emotional intelligence, Bantom Books, New York
2. Weisinger H., (1998) Emotional Intelligence at work : The untapped edge for success. Josey-Bass, San Franciaso
3. Dr. Michael E. Rock, EQ-I (Emotional Intelligence) and the new workplace – Website (http:/www.inforamp.net/mrock)
4. Dhawan Radha, How good is your EQ ? Business World 14-20, June 1999, Page 50 to 52.

( Mr. Madan Mohan Tripathy is a HR professional presently employed in Rallis India Ltd.- A TATA Enterprise as Head, Human Resources. He can be contacted at madan.tripathy@gmail.com)

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Madan Mohan Tripathy is a HR professional presently employed in Rallis India Ltd.- A TATA Enterprise as Head, Human Resources. He can be contacted at madan.tripathy@gmail.com. He has more than 25 articles on HR & Behavioural Psychology published in journals of repute. He has a number of articles published in selfgrowth.com