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Everything You Need to Know About Emotional and Social Intelligence

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Published on: 13 Oct 2022

First came regular intelligence (I.Q.). Next came emotional intelligence a.k.a EQ. Then came social intelligence or S.Q. We know what I.Q. is but let's understand E.Q. and S.Q. better through this blog. 

With the evolution of humans, the need to categorise intelligence has come up. Why? Because 'intelligence' in itself has many perspectives and dimensions. Who you may perceive to be "dumb" may be intelligent in some other way. Modern science explains E.Q. and S.Q. as two of the most prominent categories. 

Let's understand better what E.Q. and S.Q. are. 

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Emotional intelligence definition 

Emotional intelligence was conceptualised by famous psychologists like Daniel Goleman and Michael Beldoch. The theorists identified various principles of emotional intelligence (more on this later). They derived that emotional intelligence helps in recognising and managing emotions. 

Emotional intelligence skills are one's ability to acknowledge and control emotions. The emotions could be their own or someone else's. 

With a careful assessment of emotions, emotional intelligence nurtures a trustworthy environment. It builds empathy for more social and political awareness. Plus, emotional intelligence in the workplace has been noted to leverage diversity in work cultures. It paves the path for powerful skills like:


-change management



-and conflict management

Know more about how emotional intelligence can bloom your business

Social intelligence definition 

The social intelligence concept was derived by Edward Thorndike, a psychologist. His research from the early 20th century set the path for social intelligence. It was further developed by Daniel Goleman and Howard Gardner. 
According to Gardner, intelligence is a spectrum with many streaks. Two of these are interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. Gardner further explained the definitions of these two types:

Interpersonal intelligence

This includes analysing other people's:






-the ability to work in a team together
Intrapersonal intelligence

This category mainly focuses on the "self". The focus is on the person's own:





Gardner's social intelligence theory is similar to Daniel Goleman's theory of emotional intelligence. 
Goleman's "Social Intelligence: The New Science of Social Relationships" studies the differences between these theories.
Goleman explains:

emotional intelligence is the analysis of one's own emotions, and,

social intelligence focuses on the feelings and behaviours of other people. 
Let's know more about the various research done on E.Q. and S.Q. 

EI vs SI koolstories

Research on E.Q. and S.Q.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to read emotions.

Social intelligence is the ability to tune into other people's emotions and behaviours. It helps in analysing how to provide the most effective response in a situation. 

The postmodern world considers E.Q. and S.Q. to be the future of business. 

Here are some studies done on E.Q. and S.Q. that add to the theory claimed above. 

#1. The Lyle Spencer study 

A study was conducted by Lyle Spencer, American entrepreneur and philanthropist. The objective was to find the role of ESI (emotional and social intelligence) in business. The study included managers of a Siemens global division. (Siemens had over 400 branches in 56 countries in the mid-20th century). The study compared star performers to average performers working in these branches. Star performers were those with average annual sales of $29.8 m. Average performers were those with annual sales of $17 m. 

The study found that the difference in sales occurred due to ESI. There was no technical reason behind it. 

#2. The Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee Study

Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee further tested emotional and social intelligence. The three researchers compiled the data analysed for years. It included 500 models from British Airways, Lucent, IBM, and PepsiCo. 

The research aimed to determine what drove excellent performance in these companies. The capabilities were divided into 3 major categories:



-ESI (Emotional and Social Intelligence)

The study analysed the difference between an average performer and an outstanding performer. The results established that:

-ESI is essential for higher output. The results were especially seen at higher levels where technical skills mattered less. 

-85% of the difference was because of ESI.
Furthermore, Goleman's studies emphasised that:

-ESI gave the ability to manage human emotions

-ESI taught employees to treat human relations wisely. 

#3. Tested theories by Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner's book 'Theory of Multiple Intelligences' (1983) is worth a read. It is an assimilated report on emotional and social intelligence. He defines emotional(intrapersonal) and social (interpersonal) intelligence as separate but codependent entities. 

#4. Goleman's study of ESI and neuroscience 

Goleman's thorough study of emotional and social intelligence can provide detailed perspectives. His research believes in the leader-follower dynamic. According to Goleman, the leader's behaviour can leverage a "system of brain interconnectedness". This means:

Effective leadership can inspire or degrade the abilities of the follower(s). 

Hence, positive leadership can lead to the following:

-meaningful connections

-positive behaviour encouragement

-inspiration required in the corporate sector. 

This was a brief on the various research on emotional and social intelligence. 


Studies prove how emotional and social intelligence can boost business success. This is also why it's vital to acknowledge E.Q. and S.Q. as essential aspects of development. 

Now let's look at the core principles of social and emotional intelligence. 

Emotional Awareness koolstories

Principles of social intelligence

Social learning is the ability to assess other people's emotions and behaviours. Using social intelligence in reasoning, one can respond correctly. Below are the principles of social intelligence:

#1. Social awareness

When a person is aware of other people's behaviour and emotions. 

#2. Empathy

When a person has the ability to analyse other people's core emotions and what may be causing them. Empathy can also evolve to empathic accuracy. Empathic accuracy is the ability to catch other people's thoughts, intuitions, and motives. 

#3. Attunement

The ability to listen with utmost attention to what the other person is sharing. 

#4. Social Cognition

This is the ability to understand the web of relationships. It also covers the ability to manage and maintain relations in a social environment. 

#5. Conflict management

Understanding how to have smooth interactions whenever conflicts arise in challenging situations. 

#6. Synchronisation 

Interacting well, keeping in mind the needs of the other person. Being aware of what can trigger conflicts and avoiding them as much as possible. 

Now let's look at the core principles of emotional intelligence. 

Principles of emotional intelligence 

The emotional intelligence concept includes 5 fundamental principles. These principles are mentioned below in the list:

#1. Self-awareness

Being aware of your emotions and analysing why you feel the way you do. 

#2. Self-management

Managing emotions so that they don't cloud your judgement. Analyse and address your feelings the right way. Ensure that they don't overpower your decision-making skills. 

#3. Empathy

Understand the emotions of other people to provide correct responses. Being emotionally intelligent means having a sense of emotions. You learn how to deal with them even when they are not your own. 

#4. Relationship management

Listen to what the other person is saying. Understand what their needs are, and act to provide an appropriate reaction. Analyse how they feel and what would soothe their nerves. This will build a trustworthy relationship. 

#5. Team leadership

Build a positive environment in a team. You can do this by assessing the emotions of individual team members and when in groups. Understand what motivates them and what discourages them. Create a positive team-bonding that inspires the members to cooperate. 

Try to understand the importance of emotional intelligence in depth. This will help you shape your professional and personal life better.  

How to be more socially intelligent?

Want to be socially intelligent? Follow our tips below to build your S.Q.:

#1. View people as humans rather than as puzzles. 

Don't imagine people to be like chess pieces. Try not to picture them to be too complicated. Vision people as beings with tangled emotions. Once you untangle these, they are readable enough to analyse. 

#2. Respect and empathy for human nature

It's human nature to make mistakes, feel messed up, and not always perform their best. Acknowledge these "normal" things about human beings. Don't react with aggression when you find someone making a mistake. Anger and aggression can only make things worse. Above all, don't give ultimatums that they should NEVER make a mistake. They say to err is human. Memorise the saying and remember it every time you see a human error. 

#3. Give space for unique perspectives

It's okay not to agree with every person's perspective. But don't disregard someone's perspective only because they differ from yours. It's the unique perspectives that make the world move ahead. So, always leave a broad space for the uniqueness and queerness people bring. 

How to be more emotionally intelligent?

Emotional intelligence is how to sort the emotional chaos that can build inside you or others. Here are the top tips to be emotionally intelligent. 

#1. Recognise behaviour without judgements

Personal judgements are the biggest hindrance when it comes to being emotionally intelligent. Being aware of your emotions means you fully accept them. For instance, people may call anger a negative emotion. The truth is it's neither negative nor positive. Emotions aren't positive or negative. It's the actions following these emotions that are negative or positive. 

#2. Don't let others' emotions affect you

Most empaths and emotionally intelligent people face the most significant challenge:

They take in the energy (emotions) released by other people. Absorbing these emotions can hamper the emotional balance they build within themselves. Hence, be careful while analysing a person's emotions. Always maintain a wall that will keep you from drowning in their thoughts and feelings. 

#3. Give yourself the freedom to be wrong

Just because you analysed a person's emotions wrong doesn't mean you must be harsh on yourself. Keep trying until you succeed. Remove thoughts like "I am not able to understand their emotions. I am so daft". Instead, focus on "I couldn't analyse their emotions. Why is it so? And how can I get better?"

The final road to learn

On KoolStories, we bring you bite-sized content to help you learn various skills. Learn how to be emotionally and socially intelligent through micro content. Find your favourite experts available in a click. You learn through short videos, microcourses, one-to-one sessions, and more. Join today and dive deep into learning one step at a time. 


How can I use social intelligence?

There are many ways you can use social intelligence to your best benefit:

-Build a positive environment around you

-Create a positive rapport for yourself in your work culture

-Build trustworthy client/audience-company relationships. 

-Encourage positive teamwork. 

What skills do I need to build social and emotional intelligence?

If you want to build your emotional and social intelligence, focus on the following:

-Communication skills


-Relationship management skills

-Listening skills

-Self-analysis skills

-Knowledge of social etiquettes 

How does social and emotional intelligence build a better society?

Social and emotional intelligence are core skills for building relationships. Hence, they are essential to create a well-bonded society. These skills allow an individual to form alliances and friendships. They help cultivate a trustworthy bond where both parties feel comfortable and respected. 

How can I develop better social and emotional intelligence skills?

Follow the steps below to improve your social and emotional intelligence skills:
-Pay close attention to your feelings and those of people connecting with you. 

-Respect cultural boundaries and maintain social ethics.

-Listen actively.

-Provide positive responses. If you want to provide negative feedback, frame your words in an encouraging way. 

-Appreciate the importance of the other person.