4 Building blocks of Emotional Intelligence!

Emotional intelligence plays important role in success of an individual’s life, therefore we should understand it in detail. Building blocks of emotional intelligence: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social awareness, and Relationship management.


Emotional Intelligence Definitions

According to U.S. psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”

“Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships” (Goleman, 1998).

Emotional intelligence describes the ability, capacity, skill, or self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups.

It draws from the branches of behavioural, emotional, and communications theories. The most distant roots of emotional intelligence can be traced to Charles Darwin’s early work on the importance of survival and adaptation.

Emotional Intelligence is not your IQ but how you can handle relationships or social surroundings and yourself. Read more 

To be able to do this, there are four important building blocks of emotional intelligence to be followed: 

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management
  3. Social awareness
  4. Relationship management
Building blocks of emotional Intelligence

4 Building blocks of emotional Intelligence

1. Self-Awareness

According to the American Psychology Association(APA), self-awareness is defined as self-focus or to know.

It is the ability to be able to recognize oneself from others and the environment.

To be able to understand one’s own emotions and how they influence the behaviour, actions and decisions of an individual. 

Self-awareness is considered a crucial aspect of personal development, emotional intelligence, and social interactions. It allows individuals to better understand themselves, manage their emotions, make informed decisions, and build stronger relationships with others.

 Additionally, self-awareness is often a foundational skill in various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based interventions.

Eg; An individual feels anxious before an important presentation, s/he is unable to focus, rather than being anxious s/he acknowledges his/her emotions and tries to calm him/herself with positive self-talk.

2. Self-Management

Self-management is necessary for emotional intelligence as it helps an individual to navigate challenges and overcome obstacles. It promotes a sense of control in various environments like workplaces, schools, etc.

This includes monitoring progress, and adjusting strategies as needed.

Self-management refers to the ability to regulate and control one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to achieve personal goals, maintain well-being, and adapt to changing circumstances.

Eg: When an individual feels stressed about exams that are nearing, s/he will set up goals and divide the work into smaller tasks that are easier to achieve. Through dedication and enough perseverance, the individual will be able to achieve the goals and do well in exams.


3. Social Awareness

Social awareness refers to the ability of individuals to attend to different focal topics from various perspectives, such as self, another person, or another person’s situation. It can influence helping behaviour in social interactions. 

A person who is socially aware will be able to empathize with others, s/he will have the capacity to acknowledge and understand emotions and see situations from different perspectives. 

The individual will be able to recognize one’s role and impact within social systems and communities, and take proactive steps to contribute positively to society. 

Socially aware individuals are mindful of social injustices, inequalities, and environmental issues, and may advocate for social change and collective well-being.

Eg: An individual helps his/her friend through a bad breakup, but rather than immediately giving advice, s/he, actively listens to the friend, acknowledging and validating the friend’s feelings.

4. Relationship management

The capacity to establish, preserve, and improve wholesome relationships and interactions with people is referred to as relationship management. Within social, professional, and personal interactions, it entails skillfully articulating ideas, working together, and settling disputes.

Emotional intelligence necessitates relationship management, a set of abilities and attitudes intended to promote wholesome, fruitful, and reciprocal relationships.

Relationship management includes growth in positive interactions and help in communications, empathy, resolutions, and adaptability skills. 

Good relationship management abilities support teamwork, encourage trust and collaboration, and improve relationships’ general well-being and satisfaction, all of which are important for both personal and professional success.

Eg: When an individual is working with a collaborative group, s/he discusses project goals, deadlines, and difficulties with her team members honestly and openly. S/he genuinely hears their opinions and worries, creating a cooperative atmosphere where everyone feels important and understood.

Thus, by cultivating the above 4 building blocks of emotional intelligence i.e. self-awareness, mastering self-management, practising social awareness and smooth relationship management skills, individuals can significantly improve their emotional intelligence, leading to greater success, satisfaction, and well-being in both personal & professional life.


APA Dictionary of Psychology,

Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. J. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Implications for educators (pp. 3-31). Basic Books.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. Bantam Books.

Bar-On, R. (1997). The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i): Technical manual. Multi-Health Systems.

Petrides, K. V., & Furnham, A. (2001). Trait emotional intelligence: Psychometric investigation with reference to established trait taxonomies. European Journal of Personality, 15(6), 425-448.

Sathe, E. S., & Niwlikar, B.A. (2023). Mental Health. Careershodh Publication; Pune

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