How to Measure Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

By: Tracey Levison, Managing Partner, Above + Beyond Management Consulting

Different Types of Smarts

For over a century, people and businesses alike have been measuring success through the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), a test that focuses mostly on raw intelligence, language, and mathematical abilities. Granted, IQ tests are good at measuring certain mental faculties like logic, abstract reasoning, learning ability, and memory, but fail to evaluate the social awareness required to know when and where to apply one’s skills in real-life situations.

That’s where Emotional Intelligence (EQ) comes in. In a nutshell, EQ encompasses the the ability to perceive, control and evaluate the emotions that influence how people engage with their day-to-day lives. It is a measurable component of who we are, just like IQ. Basically, if IQ measures how smart you are, then EQ determines how effectively you can use your smarts.

While some people perceive it as innate, EQ competencies are developed over time. As we age and experience life, we tend to grow more emotionally intelligent.

EQ: What is it made up of?

EQ isn’t a skill only practiced when dealing with others; it begins internally. In our coaching and self-awareness assessments, we break down emotional intelligence into 6 measurable scales:

1)   Mood Labelling:

Mood Labelling measures the ability to accurately label feelings and emotions, and the extent to which someone can interpret their feelings as they occur. It reflects whether someone has developed a language for their emotions and is able to communicate as such.

This ties strongly to self-awareness, which is the competency that heightens self-confidence and helps determine one’s values and belief systems. This is important, because it gives us the ability to identify our own strengths and weaknesses.

2)   Mood Monitoring:

Mood Monitoring measures the amount of energy someone puts forth in monitoring their feelings and emotions. It reflects how much thought one puts into their actions, the results of their actions, their mood, how they might be perceived, and generally how one feels.  

When a person has very high monitoring, sometimes this is reflected in worrying behaviour. For this person, it is important to focus on managing their worry, being more mindful, and not getting ‘lost’ in self-reflection. When this is low, it might require a person to spend more time reflecting on things that occur and the results of their behaviours.

3)   Self Control:

This measures the control one has over their feelings and emotions. This also provides insight into impulse control, which is important for coaching and leading others, and for working as part of a team.

4)   Managing Emotional Influences:

This measures a person’s ability to stay neutral in highly emotional situations.  It reflects how ‘swayed’ one gets by both their own emotions and the emotions of others, and their ability to persevere toward their goals in the face of these emotions.

5)   Empathy:

Empathy reflects a person’s ability to understand the feelings and emotions of others. It is a reflection of how fully one listens to someone else’s situation and is able to validate what they hear.  Empathy is an important quality in understanding others and establishing strong relationships.

6)   Social Judgment:

This reflects a person’s ability to make appropriate decisions in social situations, based on the emotional states of others. It is a reflection of the finesse and attunement one has in a social situation.

Emotional intelligence, at its core, is all about self awareness and the awareness of others. Recognizing the importance of EQ is just the starting point for creating a new level of positive experiences personally and with others, both in our personal lives and our professional ones.

EQ and Effective Leadership

Every person in an organization has a unique set of skills and diverse passions.  When you empower people and guide them on how to best apply those skills and passions, you’re going to have a company full of very engaged people.

That’s why an emotionally intelligent leader focuses on the behaviours that elevate the people in their organization. They actively encourage empowerment, kindness and appreciation. They do things like greet their team when they get to work in the morning, provide mentorship and coaching, celebrate success on a regular basis, recognize effort, and make time for others.

By recognizing people and caring about their well-being, leaders can effectively drive motivation and satisfaction across their teams, leading to better results and a happier culture.


How well do you understand your EQ? Contact us today to learn about how our assessments and coaching can elevate your EQ potential. For more information, click here.