The EQ Self-Perception Domain and Leadership

C4 Salon


Do a Google search on the term “leadership” and you get over 101 million results. Leadership is subjective – you can’t build an assessment that pinpoints who will be a great leader in a particular situation. You can, however, create a mosaic of sorts around characteristics, traits, skills, and past experiences that are important to your organization. And from that mosaic seek out candidates that align with the organizational culture, growth phase of the company, management climate, and a host of other criteria.

Technical and functional skills will clearly be part of the mosaic. Hard research is now showing that emotional intelligence plays a role in the success or failure of a leader. Many models exist and each model has its pros and cons. What is becoming clear is that a few models, supported by substantial peer reviewed data, form the basis for much of what we know regarding emotional intelligence. MHS has conducted significant research around the Reuven Bar-On model – 5 domains and 15 subscales – and how it has direct application to leadership development.


The place to start managing is not in the plant. You start with managing yourself by finding out your own strengths … and making sure you set the right example. ~ Peter Drucker

This broad domain (one of five) determines how in-touch we are with our inner feelings. How aware we are about what we are feeling, how good you feel about yourself and your accomplishments, and about what you are doing professionally, socially, and with regard to your family. Your self-perception says a lot about what you say when you talk to yourself.


How well do you respect and accept who you are? How well have you accepted your strengths and weaknesses (we all have them)? This isn’t self-esteem. Not matter how great you tell yourself you are at piano – without any practice or lessons – you still won’t be good at piano. Accept yourself, warts and all. Don’t overestimate or underestimate your strengths or weaknesses.

Take an assessment like Strengths Finder. You will be shown, based on your answers, your top five strengths. Write those strengths on a piece of paper. Look at your personal and professional life through the lens of each strength. Identify times in your role in life where you were able to fully bring that particular strength to the table. How did it make you feel? What impact did you have on the team? What is the best way for you to leverage each of those strengths going forward?

My top 5 are Learner, Analytical, Belief, Harmony, and Responsibility.


Whereas the average individuals often have not the slightest idea of what they are, of what they want, of what their own opinions are, self-actualizing individuals have superior awareness of their own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective reactions in general. Abraham Maslow

Reflect on three areas of your life: work, family, and friends. Describe two ways that you can improve your time and impact in each of these areas of your life.

Emotional Self-awareness

How well do you recognize what you are feeling? Can you distinguish the difference between one feeling and another and how those differences appear in your outward behavior? Can you fully appreciate the impact that your behavior has on others around you? That is Emotional Self-Awareness. Dr. Marc Brackett, from the Yale School on Emotional Intelligence, says that “if you can name it you can tame it.”

Plutchick, a professor in psychology, developed a wheel of emotions. The eight base emotions are: anger, anticipation, joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, and disgust.

Write down each of these words on a sheet of paper. Briefly describe a situation or interaction in your recent past that elicited that emotion and answer three questions about each emotion:

  • What triggered the emotion?
  • How did your body react?
  • What self-talk did that emotion generate?

Each of these areas, and the exercises recommended, is meant to help you bring more awareness around Self-Perception.

Here is a look at low and high values of Self-Perception. Stay tuned as we continue to look at each of the five areas of the Reuven Bar-On model of Emotional Intelligence. Each blog post will provide you with exercises aimed to help you reflect on and increase your awareness in each area.


The EQ Edge

Primal Leadership