I just ran into this topic yesterday, and do not know much about it yet, but it already has me interested.
Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is sort of like the Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, but seems a little more complicated to measure and manage. It consists of a person's Personal Competence and their Social Competence, and is further divided into Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management (Bradberry, & Greaves, 2009).
Like any multi-pronged, testable psychological measure, there is a degree of subjectivity to the test, but after taking it myself, I found it to be quite accurate, and it comes with strategies for improving one's EQ (which I need).
So what does it all mean?
I can only tell you what I think it means. In academia, value is placed on the ability of a person to recall facts, deductive reasoning, and their raw intelligence. This is how you get grades (ignoring for now whether the grading scale and assignments even accurately measure these things), and how you progress. There is even an accidental measure of motivation built in. You will not do well in academia if you simply do not do the work.
In social situations, people often lack the ability to be effective for many reasons. For example, some people may assume that others think much worse of them than they actually do. Some people may have a built in propensity to fail for their own emotional protection. Sometimes people fear change so much that they maintain the status quo at all costs. Still others have personal desires for themselves or for their lives that are never fulfilled because they are their own worst enemy, or because they can not go beyond their own insecurities, their own sense of being disturbed, or their own upset state to simply make the best of their situation.
It came to my attention recently from a friend that I tend to allow my own wounds to keep me from making progress. I then stumbled on this topic, and I think it may have been a good bit of what he was trying to tell me. Granted, life has been pretty tough for me lately for a few reasons, but when I consider EQ, I am met with an interesting challenge.
All of these things can be a problem if we are not intentional. That is, if we always think and act based on how we feel, then we will not only be unpredictable, we will lose our perspective on life, especially when things do not go well. We are emotional beings by nature. Emotions are, at the base level, a chemical reaction in the brain that precedes any conscious thought. In other words, they set the tone for how we handle things if we allow them to.
Emotional Intelligence, as I understand it, is self-control, awareness, and intentionality in all situations, and it is a choice.
More on this later.
Bradberry, T, & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0. San Diego: TalentSmart.