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Emotional Intelligence is widely acknowledged to be a critical, developable capability for leaders. The Apter framework and tools are ideally placed to develop Emotional Intelligence due to their ability to support self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Emotional Intelligence vs EQ

When we describe someone as Emotionally Intelligent  – or not – we have a pretty good idea what it means, right? But while Emotional Intelligence has become widely accepted as a “good thing”, there’s no valid way of measuring it. In other words, while there’s such a thing as IQ, it’s less clear that there’s such as thing as EQ.

While the measurement of EQ may be controversial, I can’t think of a strong argument against developing the broad dimensions of Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Emotional Intelligence - Goleman (HBR)

In other words, they become problematic when we try to put a tidy wrapper around them and turn them into a report.

The proof of the pudding, when it comes to Emotional Intelligence, is in the eating. People will quickly be able tell you if you’re handling yourself and your relationships more effective.  

Developing Emotional Intelligence with the Apter Toolkit

Although none of the tools in the Apter Toolkit directly measure EQ, the framework and tools are uniquely placed to develop Emotional Intelligence because of the structured relationship that they describe between motivation and emotion, . Let’s look more closely at what that means.

Develop emotional self awareness

The Apter framework helps with the important process of labelling emotions, and the coaching cards provide a range of alternative words for identifying them. This is important because many people don’t have a strong emotional vocabulary and giving alternatives helps them to be more precise.

Next, the Apter framework helps to identify what motivations are driving the emotional experience – in other words what motivations are being frustrated or satisfied. By improving the learner’s understanding of their emotions and what’s driving them, the framework sets a strong foundation for self-management.

Improving self-management

We see adaptability and emotional self-control as closely interrelated elements of self-management.

Reversal Theory demonstrates that managing your motivations – adapting them to the situation at hand – has a direct impact on emotions. This is far more efficient and effective than directly trying control your emotions.

Rather than emphasising the importance of an achievement orientation, Reversal Theory puts achievement into an array of motivations that you can choose to adopt, when it is most helpful to do so. By choosing your motivations, and being able to respond to your emotions it’s easier to maintain a positive outlook. That doesn’t mean that you should always avoid unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, anger, boredom, resentment or shame. Instead, you can understand and respond to them, making them useful signals to steer you through difficult situations.

Developing social awareness

Social awareness consists of two elements: empathy and organisational awareness. In other words, being able to understand how other people feel and being able to read the organisation, seeing emotional and political patters that other people might not see.

We’ve already established that the Apter framework provides the emotional literacy that underpins empathy, but it also challenges and enables people to connect with the motivation underlying it. To really empathise with others we must be interested in how they feel.

Enhancing relationship management

Relationship management starts with self-management. We’ve all seen people that clumsily try techniques to influence without self-awareness. Generally, they come across as insincere or manipulative.

When you react to your own emotions rather than choosing your response, you will impact on other people. The Apter framework and toolkit are ideally placed to first manage your own response and understand what’s driving other people. This makes it an excellent framework for coaching, enhancing teamwork and managing conflict. Likewise, leadership is little more than the impact that you have on other people – motivation and emotion.


About the Apter Toolkit 

 The Apter toolkit is a suite of tools based on Reversal Theory, a psychological framework that describes the dynamic relationship between motivations and emotions. It includes:

  • Motivational Styles Inventory
  • Emotivations coaching cards & process
  • 360° Leadership tool
  • Real-time Climate assessment

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