Are We Born With Emotional Intelligence?

Kristy Hunter For Ponderings Magazine

Written by Kristy Hunter - Guest Ponderer

June 1, 2020

What is Emotional intelligence? 

Understanding EQ (Emotional Quotient/Emotional Intelligence) is a concept that was initially made popular by psychologist Daniel Goleman. In his book written in the mid-’90s, Goleman identified 5 key pillars of EQ; 5 key characteristics of a person that determined their EQ.   


What are the 5 pillars of EQ? 

In short, they are Self Awareness, Self Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills.


Image for Ponderings
Image for Ponderings Magazine

Am I born with EQ, or can I develop the skills/characteristics? 

The answer is both. We are all born with different personalities and character traits. Some of us may possess the character traits of empathy and social skills as part of our natural person. These character traits are not black/white assets, rather sit on a spectrum of grey – like most things human! Some people will possess large amounts of empathy, others less.

Whether we are born with natural energy and motivation or not, we are born with a brain we can use to teach and train ourselves when we choose to set an intention.  

Why would I want to develop my Emotional Quotient? 

Since becoming popularised, much research has been conducted surrounding EQ. Having high EQ has been directly correlated with “success” in life, studies indicating that in some situations EQ can be much more important than IQ.

Defining success is difficult; however, I’m mainly referring to people who are happier, healthier and have functional relationships – these are the people who have a higher EQ than their unhappier counterparts. 

I also work with several organisations to help them recruit people based mainly on EQ because it is well recognised that people with high EQ make great teammates and leaders.

Being able to receive constructive feedback is a crucial skill of someone with EQ! 


How do I develop my EQ? 

By making a decision and setting an intention for yourself. Living intentionally is something I talk about A LOT (Just ask my students or clients – insert eye roll emoji here). If we don’t live intentionally, we can meander along a path that leads to who knows where? As humans, we can choose our behaviour, choose our attitude and choose our direction – why wouldn’t we decide to go in a positive direction for ourselves and those in relationship with us? 

If you want to develop your EQ, assess your character, attitude and behaviour in each of the 5 pillars – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. 

If you want a truly objective assessment, ask your partner or closest friends/family for feedback! 



Once you have a realistic assessment, set some goals in each attitude and behaviour, of things you are going to choose to think and do. For example, to increase my empathy, I am going to choose to ask two work colleagues how they are, and genuinely listen and engage in their answer. 

Or to improve my social skills, I am going to choose to introduce myself, even though I don’t feel comfortable or natural doing that.

I could talk about this stuff for days! It is challenging to condense into a short article. If you would like to learn more about developing your EQ, head to my website where you can read/watch some more detailed blogs that will help you. Feel welcome to contact me if you would like me to come and speak at your next work or team event.  



Kristy Hunter For Ponderings Magazine

Written by Kristy Hunter -Guest Ponderer

Resolution Conflict Expert and Workplace Leadership Consultant

Kristy Hunter is the golden expert in conflict resolution and driver for emotional growth and wellbeing. A leadership mentor and workplace consultant, this is one no BS  authentic human and we welcome her to Ponderings.

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