Growing Emotional Intelligence (EI)

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Do you ever imagine being a boss or having and raising children? Both require growing your emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) and learning to manage yourself and others. The two terms are used interchangeably and you will typically see this skill referred to as EQ so it aligns better with IQ. To enter the workforce and successfully manage and grow your career, you must be able to manage yourself and manage your relationship with others. While this seems pretty obvious, most of us either do it naturally or through trial and error. This next series of blog posts will use more formal approaches to growing your emotional skills and intelligence. Why should you care? People who have higher levels of EI are better able to interact with others and to manage their careers more successfully.

Most of us train for 12 to 16+ years in order to be ready for living our lives and growing our careers. During that time we intentionally grow our knowledge base and likely our Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Through our interactions with others during that time we also grow EQ or EI. That growth may not include formal training and the growth could be incidental rather than intentional.

With the modern environment we live in, we may not have to interact with others as much as in the past, and may not grow a strong EQ/EI. This could hurt new entrants into the workforce and could also hurt those of us who have been in the workforce for years and are trying to grow our careers. Home schooling, cell phones, game systems, online shopping, and social media allow us to interact with others less, or at least more remotely so the growth in EQ or EI growth may be limited.

The Goleman model provides a good approach to growing your EQ muscle and Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ provides detailed information on his approach. In the book he explain that emotional intelligence (EI) is made of two primary skills, personal competence and social competence. 


The idea is to become someone that others feel they can rely on and want to be around, and then blossom into someone that others see as a leader or someone they want to look up to and follow. To do that, having a process to follow is much more effective than learning through trial and error.  

To grow your personal competence and become someone others want to be around, you need to know yourself, and then be able to manage yourself. To grow your social competence you must shift your focus from yourself to the people and environment you are in, and then learn how to effectively interact with others.

The next few blog posts will talk about each of these four quadrants and some things you can do to grow you skills in each area.  


Andy Ruth 
SEI Mentor
Apprenticeship Program