Cheryl A. Moore, PsyD

CEO, Prestige Countertops & Services

Domain and competenciesInlast month’s article (September 2021), I presented several different leadership styles. Maybe you resonated with one of those styles, or maybe you considered incorporating the characteristics of one of those styles into your style. Nevertheless, the discussion on leadership styles was a good lead into the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

EQ is an important construct of leadership traits and abilities. Extant literature has shown that emotional regulation may be a form of intelligence. Early studies on EQ assisted in explaining why people scoring high in intelligence quotient (IQ) outperform those with average IQs only 20 percent of the time and yet people with average IQ levels would outperform those with high IQs 70 percent of the time (Bradberry and Greaves, 2009). `This anomaly presented a conundrum among those who believed that an individual’s success was related to their IQ score; there must be a variable that explains success above and beyond the IQ score. 

EQ is the ability to recognize and control not only your personal emotions, but those of others as well. Goleman (2001) and his associates identified four key domains of EQ in their earlier studies, and in more recent studies, Goleman and Boyatzis (2017) in a Harvard Business Review study identified 12 EQ competencies within the four domains. 

Emotion(s) is defined as a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationship with others. We are all faced with situations in the workplace that creates a response from us that will either be positive or negative and can dictate the kind of relationships we will have. EQ is the ability to not only recognize these emotions but to also use this awareness to manage our behavior and relationships as well. Recognizing what “triggers” certain emotions in ourselves is the first step in managing our emotions. Once we recognize a trigger, we can practice productive ways of reacting with the purpose of making the reaction habitual, so the reaction automatically becomes the response in the future. Our brains are wired in a way that we ignite an emotion to a circumstance, or stimulus, before the information reaches the rational part of our brain. Bradberry & Greaves (2009) explicated that “the communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence” (p. 7).

Recognizing our triggers and being proactive in our responses is part of our personal competence, which is the first two domains of self-awareness and self-management. Self-awareness is the ability to perceive our emotions in the moment and understand how we respond across different situations. Self-management is dependent on self-awareness, it is what happens when we act, or do not act, on our emotions, and our ability to use our awareness to be flexible and guide our behavior in a positive way.

The other two domains of EQ are part of our social competence, social-awareness and relationship management. 

Social-awareness is the ability to pick up on, and understand, other’s emotions, to really understand what is going on with them and what they are thinking and feeling, even if it is not the same as how we are thinking or feeling. The final domain, relationship management, is the ability to take our knowledge from the first three domains and manage interactions and conflicts with others successfully. Possessing the ability to initiate a direct, constructive conversation helps to manage conflict at work.

EQ can be an interesting topic to delve into, because we all have emotions and what we do with our emotions affect others. While this was just a broad overview of EQ, I would encourage you to perform additional research among scholarly resources and study the positive and negative attributes of EQ. Bradberry & Greaves (2009) tested over 500,000 people over a decade to understand the role emotions played in their lives and found that two-thirds of us may be controlled by our emotions and do not yet have the skills to spot our triggers and use them to our benefit. 

There is no known connection between IQ and EQ and it hasn’t been possible to measure an individual’s EQ based on their intelligence, but a higher EQ can be developed.


Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. San Diego, CA: TalentSmart.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2001). Primal leadership: The hidden driver of great performance.
Harvard Business Review, 42–51.

Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R. (2017). Emotional Intelligence has 12 elements: Which do you need to work on?
Harvard Business Review, 1-6.

Cheryl is the CEO of Prestige Countertops & Services, Inc. Contact her at
cmoore2@mercyhurst.edufor additional resources in EQ studies.