What is EI? Articles

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« 24. Low EI: Not reading others well »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, accredited MSCEIT consultant.

A key component of emotional intelligence is the ability to read others' emotions accurately, and to have high levels of emotional awareness of others.

Without these emotional intelligence skills you may badly misunderstand others and have far too many surprises in the reactions of the people you work with.

There are many problems that may arise if you have low levels of awareness of others' feelings. I will list a few of them here and encourage you to add your own.

Problems of low level skills in the emotional awareness of others.

  1. You may not realise that someone is lying to you.
  2. You may not know you have upset someone and the other person may walk away with a bad impression of you and feel hurt or resentful. I remember being told once by a senior member of staff about a CEO, "Most of us loathe him, but he has no idea." The CEO was wondering why the staff were not fully engaged or enthusiastic about his ideas.
  3. You may take something personally and feel hurt when no hurt was intended, and it was nothing to do with you. For example, a woman once told me off for being negative towards her when I hadn't even been thinking about her! Instead, I had been replaying a negative interaction I'd been involved in the day before. She had seen the expressions on my face and had misunderstood what they were about.
  4. You may not understand why people are behaving in a certain way, whether it's in spreading gossip, being manipulative or ignoring you. You then have fewer options in managing their behaviour or may find that they don't change when you ask them to.
  5. Your communications may fail to persuade or influence.
  6. It is hard to be a successful negotiator unless you can read the other people present.
  7. If you don't know how people are feeling about you, your topic or your organisation, you may pitch a presentation at the wrong level. This may cause hostility, indignation or negation by your audience and require considerable relationship repair to recover from it. However, if you find it hard to read the emotions of others you may also have difficulties in repairing relationships.

Have your emotional intelligence assessed now.

Want to know how high your emotional intelligence is? There is another model of emotional intelligence, by Salovey and Mayer, that has an ability-based emotional intelligence test called the MSCEIT which you can complete online.

Click here to find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test (MSCEIT) and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green.

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