According to Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence (1995), Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. So Keli was right in that it is the ability to look outside yourself, but it's also the ability to look inward, too.
Goleman theorizes that there are four parts to EI: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness (empathy), and relationship management (social skills).
Now you know our characters don't have all of these! Any book would end with a better character arc if your characters can improve in one or more of these areas. Let's look at them closer. Below is a chart that nicely shows how the four areas are spread over actions/observations and personal/social arenas.
- Self-awareness – The ability to recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior, know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence. This is the ability to step outside yourself with focused observation of how you feel and react in various situations.
- Self-management – The ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances. Having a non-reactive analytic approach to your feelings and problem solving to increase appropriate responses.
- Social awareness – The ability to observe and understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization. In a nutshell, this is empathy, a fundamental "people skill."
- Relationship management – The ability to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict. In other words, having good social skills and being competent in relating to the emotions of others and remain connected.