Trait Emotional Intelligence

Trait emotional intelligence (trait EI)
Is a theoretical framework that integrates emotions, personality traits, and intelligence, broadly defined.
The theory is applied in many different scientific and commercial settings. Below is a graph showing the number of peer-reviewed trait EI publications across many different
scientific disciplines
Structure of trait emotional intelligence
Trait emotional intelligence comprises 15 specific facets, which are grouped into four broad factors, which, in turn, are grouped under global trait EI at the apex of the hierarchy. This hierarchical model is depicted in the figure below.
High scorers are flexible in their approach to work and life. They are willing and able to adapt to new environments and conditions – in fact, they may even enjoy novelty and regular change.

Low scorers are change-resistant and find it difficult to modify their work- and life-style. They are generally inflexible and have fixed ideas and views.

This facet is characterized by a negative association with neuroticism, depression, and maladaptive coping styles, and a positive association with extraversion and job satisfaction
Individuals with high scores on this scale are forthright and frank. They know how to ask for things, give and receive compliments, and confront others when necessary. They have leadership qualities and can stand up for their rights and beliefs.

Low scorers tend to back-down even if they know they are right and have difficulty saying 'no,' even when they feel they must. As a result, they often end up doing things they do not want to do. In most cases, they prefer to be part of a team rather than to lead it.

This facet is characterized by a positive association with extraversion and enterprising careers and negative correlations with neuroticism and anxiety.
Emotion expression
High scores on this scale mean people are fluent in communicating their emotions to others. They know what the best words are for expressing their feelings accurately and unambiguously.

Low scores on this scale indicate a difficulty in communicating emotion-related thoughts, even in situations when this is necessary. People with low scores find it difficult to let others know how they feel. Inability to express emotion may be indicative of a more generalized problem of lack of self-confidence and social assertiveness.

This facet correlates negatively with avoidant tendencies, and positively with extraversion, social boldness, and positive mood.
Emotion management
This scale concerns one's perceived ability to manage other people's emotional states. High scorers on the emotion management scale can influence other people's feelings (e.g., calm them down, console them, motivate them). They know how to make others feel better when they need it.

Low scorers can neither influence nor manage others' feelings. They become overwhelmed when they have to deal with other people's emotional outbursts and are less likely to enjoy socializing and networking.

This facet is associated with low scores on agreeableness and high scores on adaptive coping styles. It is associated with a preference for enterprising careers.
Emotion perception
This scale measures emotion perception in one's own self as well as in others.

High scorers on this scale are clear about what they feel and able to decode other people's emotional expressions. In contrast, people with low scores on the emotion perception scale are often confused about how they feel and do not pay much attention to the emotional signals that others send out.

This facet correlates negatively with depressive tendencies and positively with self-monitoring and faith in one's judgment.
Emotion regulation
This scale measures short-, medium-, and long-term control of one's own feelings and emotional states.

High scorers have control over their emotions and can change unpleasant moods or prolong pleasant moods through personal insight and effort. They are psychologically stable and they know how to pick themselves up after emotional setbacks. Low scorers are subject to emotional seizures and periods of prolonged anxiety or even depression. They find it difficult to deal with their feelings and are often moody and irritable.

This facet correlates negatively with neuroticism and paranoid personality and positively with adaptive coping styles, and conventional careers.
This scale measures the 'perspective-taking' aspect of empathy: seeing the world from someone else's point of view. In other words, it has to do with whether one can understand other people's needs and desires.

People with high scores on this scale tend to be skilful in conversations and negotiations because they take into account the viewpoints of those they are dealing with. They can put themselves "in somebody else's shoes" and appreciate how things seem to them. Low scorers have difficulty adopting other people's perspectives. They tend to be opinionated and argumentative and may often seem self-centered.

This facet is characterized by high openness to Experience, mood monitoring, and a preference for social careers.
This scale concerns pleasant emotional states, primarily directed towards the present rather than the past (life satisfaction) or the future (optimism). High scorers are cheerful and feel good about themselves.

Low scorers often feel blue and can be overly negative about things. More generally, people with low scores on this scale tend to be disappointed with their life as it is at present. Along with self-esteem and optimism, this scale reflects your general psychological state at present.

This facet correlates positively with extraversion and job motivation and negatively with neuroticism and depression.
Impulse control
This scale measures mainly dysfunctional ('unhealthy') rather than functional ('healthy') impulsivity. Low impulsiveness involves thinking before acting and reflecting carefully before making decisions.

High scorers on this scale weigh all the information before they make up their mind, without, however, being overly cautious. Low scorers tend to be impetuous and to give in to their urges. Much like children, they want immediate gratification and have low self-control. They often speak without having thought things through and they change their mind frequently.

This facet is characterized by high scores on conscientiousness, need for cognition, and job motivation and low scores on psychoticism, aggression and borderline personality disorder.
Like happiness, this scale is linked to well-being, albeit in a forward-looking way. High scorers look on the bright side and expect positive things to happen in their life.

Low scorers are pessimistic and view things from a negative perspective. They are less likely to be able to identify and pursue new opportunities and tend to be risk-averse. Along with happiness and self-esteem, this scale reflects your general psychological state at this point in time.

This facet correlates positively with extraversion, job satisfaction and life satisfaction, and negatively with neuroticism and depression.
This scale mainly concerns one's personal relationships, including close friends, partners, and family. It is about starting and maintaining emotional bonds with others.

High scorers usually have fulfilling personal relationships that positively affect their productivity and emotional well-being. They know how to listen and be responsive to the people close to them. Low scorers find it difficult to bond well with others and tend to undervalue their personal relationships. They often behave in ways that hurt those close to them.

This facet is characterized by high agreeableness and extraversion and low psychoticism, anxiety, and depression. It is associated with a preference for socially-oriented careers.
The self-esteem scale measures one's overall evaluation of oneself. High scorers have a positive view of themselves and their achievements. They are confident, positive, and satisfied with most aspects of their life.

Low scorers tend to lack self-respect and to not value themselves very highly. Low self-esteem scores are often the result of challenges in one or more of the other areas that the TEIQue assesses.

This facet correlates negatively with neuroticism, anger, and apprehension and positively with extraversion and life satisfaction.
People with high scores on this scale are driven by a need to produce high-quality work. They tend to be determined and persevering. They do not need to be externally rewarded for their efforts because they have a strong sense of achievement and are motivated from within.

Low scorers tend to need a lot of incentives and encouragement in order to get things done. They need constant reward to keep going and they are more likely to give up in the face of adversity. They also tend to have reduced levels of drive and persistence.

This facet is associated positively with high conscientiousness, need for cognition, and job satisfaction, and low levels of stress and anger.
Social awareness
High scorers believe they have excellent social skills and are socially sensitive, adaptable, and perceptive. They are good at negotiating, brokering deals, and influencing others. In addition, they tend to have control over their emotions and the manner in which they express them, which enables them to function confidently in diverse social contexts, like parties or networking events.

Low scorers believe they have limited social skills and often feel anxious in unfamiliar settings because they are unsure about how to behave. They find it difficult to express themselves clearly and have a small circle of acquaintances. They are known for their limited interpersonal skills.

This facet is associated positively with extraversion, self-monitoring, and a preference for enterprising careers, and negatively with avoidant personality tendencies and anxiety.
Stress management
High scorers on this scale can handle pressure calmly and effectively because they have developed successful coping mechanisms. More often than not, they are good at regulating their emotions, which helps them tackle stress.

Low scorers are less likely to have developed stress-coping strategies. They may prefer to altogether avoid situations that are potentially hectic, rather than deal with the associated tension. Their vulnerability to stress is problematic, as it leads them to reject important, but time-demanding, projects.

This facet is characterized by high levels of resilience and need for cognition, and low levels of neuroticism, anger, and stress.
Individuals with high scores on this factor are in touch with their own and other people's feelings.

They can perceive and express emotions and use these qualities to develop and sustain close relationships with important others. Individuals with low scores on this factor find it difficult to recognize their internal emotional states and to express their feelings to others, which may lead to less rewarding personal relationships.

This factor is associated positively with extraversion, job motivation, and a preference for socially-oriented careers and negatively with neuroticism.
High scorers have a healthy degree of control over their urges and desires. In addition to controlling impulses, they are good at regulating external pressures and stress.

They are neither repressed nor overly expressive. In contrast, low scorers are prone to impulsive behavior and may find it difficult to manage stress.

This factor is associated positively with conscientiousness and a preference for conventional careers and negatively with somatic complaints, neuroticism, and psychoticism.
This factor differs from the Emotionality factor above in that it emphasizes social relationships and social influence.

The focus is on the individual as an agent in social contexts, rather than on personal relationships with family and close friends. Individuals with high scores on the sociability factor are better at social interaction. They are good listeners and can communicate clearly and confidently with people from diverse backgrounds.

Those with low scores believe they are unable to affect others' emotions and are less likely to be good negotiators and networkers. They are unsure what to do or say in social situations and, as a result, they often appear shy and reserved.
High scores on this factor reflect a generalized sense of well-being, extending from past achievements to future expectations.

Overall, individuals with high scores feel positive, happy, and fulfilled. In contrast, individuals with low scores tend to have low self-regard and to be disappointed about their life as it is at present.

This factor is associated positively with extraversion, positive mood, job satisfaction, and faith in intuition and negatively with somatic complaints, anxiety, and depression.
Global trait EI
The global trait EI score is a broad index of general emotional functioning.

Global trait EI correlates positively with extraversion, conscientiousness, mental health, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, seniority, pro-social behavior, popularity, sensitivity and susceptibility to affect, over-prediction of affective reactions in decision-making, overconfidence, social desirability, and hubris. It correlates negatively with neuroticism, introversion, anxiety, psychopathology, turnover, maladaptive coping, truancy, job stress, rumination, and humility.
For more information, including dozens of downloadable scientific articles, go to