Emotional intelligence is an active ingredient in great leadership.

But how do you know your level of emotional intelligence?

First of all, you should understand that, unlike IQ, no one can summarize your EQ in a single number. Know someone with great self-confidence, but zero empathy, for example?

I think of emotional intelligence in terms of a profile of specific competencies that range across four different areas of personal ability:

Nested within each of those four areas are specific, learned competencies that set the best leaders and performers apart from average.

I listed some of these emotional intelligence competencies in a recent short article in the New York Times (which went platinum: most e-mailed article that day). But if you want to see the longer list, here you are, as given on the website of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations:

Self-Awareness concerns knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions. The Self-Awareness cluster contains three competencies:

Self-Management refers to managing ones’ internal states, impulses, and resources. The Self-Management cluster contains six competencies:

  • Emotional Self-Control: Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check.
  • Transparency: Maintaining integrity, acting congruently with one’s values.
  • Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change.
  • Achievement: Striving to improve or meeting a standard of excellence.
  • Initiative: Readiness to act on opportunities.
  • Optimism: Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.

Social Awareness refers to how people handle relationships and awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns. The Social Awareness cluster contains three competencies:

  • Empathy: Sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns.
  • Organizational Awareness: Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.
  • Service Orientation: Anticipating, recognizing, and meeting customers’ needs.

Relationship Management concerns the skill or adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others. The Relationship Management cluster contains six competencies:

  • Developing Others: Sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities.
  • Inspirational Leadership: Inspiring and guiding individuals and groups.
  • Change Catalyst: Initiating or managing change.
  • Influence: Wielding effective tactics for persuasion.
  • Conflict Management: Negotiating and resolving disagreements.
  • Teamwork & Collaboration: Working with others toward shared goals. Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.

Emotional Intelligence Coach

You can use this as a rough personal checklist if you like. But we are not always the best judge of our own strengths and limits.

If you want the best appraisal of your own abilities, I recommend getting a 360-degree look. One way is with the ESCI-360, which I co-designed with my colleagueRichard Boyatzis at Case Western and Hay Group. It’s based on this competency list, and will guide you through a process (best done with a coach), that will help you gain more strength.

We don’t have a fixed profile of emotional intelligence – it’s an ability that can change throughout life. That’s why the ESCI-360 and similar measures of emotional intelligence are best used working with a coach.

Plus, it’s never too late to get better – if you are motivated. That’s good news for anyone who wants to get better at this set of success skills.

This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Daniel Goleman lectures frequently to business audiences, professional groups and on college campuses. A psychologist who for many years reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times, Dr. Goleman previously was a visiting faculty member at Harvard.

Image: A woman is silhouetted next to a solar panel display. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao.