Top 10 Signs of an Emotionally Intelligent Person

Did you know that emotional intelligence outperforms competency in the workplace? 1 Not only do emotionally intelligent people typically carry higher positions and make more money, but let’s be honest, they’re much more pleasant to work with! Emotionally intelligent people (we’ll call them EIs) are unique in how they navigate relationships, adapt their communication styles, stay composed in tough situations, and creatively problem-solve.

To get a little more practical, let's look at the top 10 ways you can identify an emotionally intelligent person.

  1. They lean into their values, not their tendencies.

    Emotionally intelligent people (EIs) know that behaviors are not permanent fixtures of a personality, but rather adaptable expressions of a value system. In other words, they don’t mindlessly subject people to their tendencies when the situation would be better served by adjusting their communication style or actions. They stay anchored to their values but always willing to concede their own comfort.

  2. They carry around a healthy dose of doubt.

    EIs carry a hint of doubt with them into every interaction. This is a healthy, ready-to-listen sort of doubt that doesn't compromise confidence, but prepares for the potential to be wrong. This keeps them humble and open to adjusting as the conversation unfolds, ultimately helping to steer the interaction toward a successful resolve.

  3. They exist to serve.

    EIs understand that servanthood is an unbiased indicator of emotional maturity that transcends personality type. They’ve learned that serving others is the secret to being the ultimate communicator and connector.

  4. They care more about being connected than about being right.

    Not that these are mutually exclusive, but sometimes we're put in positions where we have to choose one over the other. To be right but disconnected is to be wrong. EIs know their success is not found in knowledge or skill sets; it’s in their ability to inspire a belief in the mission and to take as many people along with them as possible.

  5. They protect the relationship before they protect their time.

    Emotionally intelligent people are keenly aware of how busy they are but never allow this to determine the version of themselves that others experience. They make a deliberate decision to keep clarity and kindness a part of every interaction no matter how much time or emotional energy it requires of them.

  6. They sit on the same side of the table.

    Metaphorically speaking, EI's don’t have conversations across from people, they have conversations next to people. In other words, they show up ready to come all the way around to the other side of the table, sit next to that person, and connect in a meaningful way—especially in the tough conversations.

  7. They make kindness the ruler of every conversation.

    EIs live life making the best possible assumptions of every person they interact with. They know that extending kindness is one of the most powerful ways to disarm the defenses, invite the truth, and keep connection.

  8. They don’t react.

    EIs have trained themselves not to be moved by every heightened emotion but to assess the input quickly and respond back with an appropriate energy. They keep themselves above the turbulence and affect the emotional temperature of a room by fueling what they want to see more of, starving what they don't, and redirecting where necessary to stay on mission.

  9. They’re YES people.

    Even when something isn’t a definitive “yes”, EIs have learned the art of gently repositioning the topic to provide others a new perspective or redirecting them to consider an alternative solution. EIs take their tendency to say “no” and turn it into an opportunity to keep the conversation moving in a positive direction.

  10. They’re flexible.

    EIs are flexible but not spineless. They protect their core convictions but stay open to how life unfolds in the small moments. They see flexibility as an emotional resource to be leveraged for the good of a relationship, knowing that every time they demonstrate an ability to bend without breaking, it builds invaluable trust with others.

What areas do you need to refine in order to become a more emotionally intelligent person? What other qualities would you add to this list? 

Works Cited

  1. “Naturally, people with high EQs make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with low EQs. The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary." Bradberry, Travis. Emotional Intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart. Kindle Edition. ” Bradberry, Travis. Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Kindle. TalentSmart, 2009, pp. 21-22.
Courtney JemisonComment