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Links between emotional intelligence and professional conduct


This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2023 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to explain the links between emotional intelligence and professional conduct.


Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the skill of being self-aware and able to self-regulate our own feelings and emotions as well as empathise with the emotions and feelings of others. Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence provides a lot more detail (backed up by research) about this area of leadership and management.

An understanding of EI is useful because it helps us understand how our emotions can influence our actions and decision-making. For example, we may make poorer decisions when subject to stress. Or, we may not make use of opportunities to learn from constructive criticism if we take it personally.


It is important to be aware of and acknowledge negative feelings so that we can understand how they may affect us and take steps to reduce their influence. This can help to build emotional resilience within the workplace.

By understanding our own feelings and how they may affect our work, we are able to empathise with others and support them to overcome their own challenges.


For example, you may have a team member that displays passive-aggressive behaviours, whereby negative feelings are expressed indirectly, rather than being openly addressed. This could manifest as frequent sarcasm towards managers or disengagement from team discussions. These behaviours may stem from childhood and can be an indication of insecurity or fear. It is important that, as a manager, you address these behaviours swiftly because they can be disruptive to the whole team.

You should first, make a log of the passive-aggressive behaviours that are displayed and then confront the team member about them explaining how it affects the team. This should be conducted in a calm and collected manner that is sensitive to the individual’s feelings. You should reassure them that any concerns that they have can be expressed openly and that any criticisms will be handled positively and encourage an open discussion to identify the root cause of the problem so that you are able to work with them to resolve it. Where a team member is unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, performance management and disciplinary procedures may need to be used.


Another example of emotions affecting professional conduct is victimhood or having a ‘victim mentality’. This is where an individual consistently views themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others and, like the passive-aggressive individual, is unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions.

Further information about ‘victim mentality’ can be found in Kets de Vrie’s working paper on the subject. In this paper, it is recommended to support individuals to understand the underlying reasons for their behaviours and help them to build self-confidence and take responsibility for their lives.

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