Book Review: Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Book: Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Author: Dr. Travis Bradberry & Dr. Jean Greaves

Key message of the Book: Emotional intelligence is a critical skill that anyone should be looking at strengthening with research and numerous studies having found it to be “the single predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence” as per the authors Dr. Bradberry and Dr. Greaves.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the set of four skills – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management – grouped around two competencies: personal competence and social competence.

  • Personal competence is “your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.”
  • Social competence is “your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships.

The four above-mentioned emotional intelligence skills can be expanded by applying specific strategies. For example:

  • Self-awareness is the ability to “accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations” and can be improved by a number of strategies including allowing yourself to feel both negative and positive emotions, keeping a journal about your emotions, understanding and tracking the source of your feelings and triggers, revisiting your values and whether your emotions and behavior are in line with these values, observing the effect your emotions have on others around you, and seeking feedback from others. As we can’t escape our emotions – “your hard-wired emotional reactions to anything come before you even have a chance to respond” – we can only strive to become more self-aware.
  • Self-management: is the ability to “use your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and direct your behavior positively” or “to actively choose what you say and do” and can be improved by strategies such as deep breathing, making your goals public, sleeping on a situation before taking action, setting aside time in your day for problem solving and thinking, taking control of your self-talk, visualizing yourself succeeding, and building good sleep habits.
  • Social awareness: is the ability to “accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on with them.” Good strategies for expanding your social awareness include greeting people by name, watching body language, and practicing listening and empathy.
  • Relationship management: is the ability to “use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully” and can be expanded by being open and curious, acknowledging other person’s feelings, sharing feedback, showing care, increase transparency on your decision-making, providing constructive and direct feedback, aligning your words and actions with your intent, and taking the high road when entering tough conversations.

One specific learning from the book:  If there is misalignment between your emotions and your words, you could be in a situation where you might be sending a mixed signal that can cause mistrust or confusion in a relationship. The authors explain how the best way to deal with this is to “use your self-awareness skills to identify your emotions and use your self-management skills to decide which feelings to express and how to express them“. At times, “the best bet is to explain what’s happening (i.e. “If I seem distracted, it’s because I can’t stop worrying about a phone call that went awry this morning”).”

One favorite quote from the book: “Getting to know yourself inside and out is a continuous journey of peeling back the layers of the onion and becoming more and more comfortable with what is in the middle – the true essence of you.”

One favorite passage from the book:

“Since our brains are wired to make us emotional creatures, your first reaction to an event is always going to be an emotional one. You have no control over this part of the process. You do control the thoughts that follow an emotion, and you have a great deal of say in how you react to an emotion – as long as you are aware of it.”

Growth Is A Journey book review is intended to represent 1-2 key nuggets of insights from the book, with an invitation for readers to discover the book in its entirety.

Published by Helene R. Johnson

Helene R. Johnson is a pseudonym. Living life as a mom and manager. Articles are also published on, a site dedicated to human resources with a focus on transformational change and development.

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