The Future is Human – EI as a core skill

Emotional intelligence, according to the World Economic Forum, is going to be one of the most useful leadership traits for 2020.  As the world changes, our ability to handle ourselves and lead others becomes more and more valuable. 

Emotional intelligence (EI) is considered a critical competency today.  It underpins our capacity to work well with others, manage pressure and make effective decisions.  More than knowledge, technical skills or traditional measures of intelligence, EI differentiates the most successful and the highest performers.

Why is EI important?

Learning how to use emotions intelligently empowers us to respond effectively, rather than reactively. By increasing our range of EI strategies we can achieve more positive outcomes for ourselves, become more self-aware, resilient and effective.

At the Langley Group we have been focused on the practical application of EI, positive psychology and neuroscience for over 15 years.  For us, emotional intelligence, is the intelligent use of emotions.  We all have emotions, and EI is about how we use them intelligently in our everyday life.

With so much information around emotional intelligence, research and rigour is important.  Many organisations are now testing for emotional intelligence as part of their recruitment process, using EI tools as part of leadership development, and embedding EI skills into competency frameworks.  If you are going to use a tool for assessing EI, it is important to know what you are assessing and which tools may be the most appropriate for your needs.

EI Test Frameworks

There are two key themes in the emotional intelligence space:

  • Pure models – frameworks that focus on the emotion science
  • Mixed models – frameworks that include additional personality, or other, traits

Currently in Fremantle for the bi-annual International Congress of Emotional Intelligence, the overwhelming feeling is how much we need more of the science and research into emotional intelligence, yet more importantly the practical application of it in society.  In his welcome address, the local Member of Parliament, Josh Wilson, laughed (a little painfully) at the lack of EI in the political sphere.

There is significant research into the overlap between subjective wellbeing and EI, psychological wellbeing and EI1, and mental health and EI2.  All these things make sense to those of us in the field, and I hope to everyone.  If we can perceive, use, understand and manage our emotions more effectively, it helps us in our work performance, in our personal relationships, and even in our role as a parent.  One of the more interesting findings is that emotional intelligence seems to be linked to telomere length3, the compound structure at the end of chromosomes in human DNA. Telomeres prevent both deterioration of the chromosome, and fusing to neighbour chromosomes.  This is particularly interesting when you consider the length of your telomere seems to have a direct correlation to health and longevity.  Time to start investing in our emotions!!

How many of us can say we actively engage with our emotions, even the uncomfortable ones?  I have a saying:

“Get comfortable with the uncomfortable emotions.”

This is echoed in Brené Brown’s work, which talks about the power of being vulnerable.  Her research explores the distinctions between shame and guilt, and emphasises that all emotions are valid, it is just how we use them that is important and distinguishes us from others.

Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT)

If you are a professional working in this space, consider getting certified in the MSCEIT test – the only abilities based test – in order to explore and develop your own emotional intelligence skills.

The test was developed by Peter Salovey, Jack Mayer and David Caruso, pioneers in the field of emotional intelligence, and is designed to assess and develop emotional intelligence ability in four key areas:

  • Recognise their own and others’ emotions
  • Generate and use emotions in problem solving
  • Understand emotions and how emotions may change
  • Manage their own and others’ emotions.

Improving EI abilities enables people to use this information strategically and intelligently to communicate more effectively, increase personal resilience and achieve goals.

Learn more…

If you are keen to learn more about emotions, please read our Emotional Intelligence at Work whitepaper 


  1. DiFabio and Kenny (2016)
  2. Schutte et al (2007); Martins et al (2010); Martinez-Monteagudo et al, 2019)
  3. Schutte et al, 2016