Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 6 – Independence

 In Belief, Business, Emotional Intelligence, Engagement, Goal Setting, High Performance Culture, Independence, Leadership, Management, Organisational Culture, Organisational Happiness, Organisational Performance, Passion, Success

This blog is part of a series of blogs where we explore Emotional Intelligence. We will look at ways to be able to develop and enhance our own perceived levels of Emotional Intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional IntelligenceTo gain a greater understanding you can read a previous blog What is Emotional Intelligence and How Can I develop it, for more detail. However, Emotional intelligence is all about how well you understand your own emotions and the emotions of others, and the ability to identify and manage them. Emotional Intelligence, also known as “Ei” or “EQ”, is now well established set of “Competencies” that contribute to performance, engagement and success.

Their are five key areas of Emotional Intelligence, Self Perception, Self Expression, Interpersonal, Decision Making and Stress Management. Within each of these areas there are three traits. We are going to discuss each of these traits in more detail with their own blog. We have previous looked at the area of Self Perception and now looking at Self Expression. This week we will be exploring the trait, Independence.

What is Independence and the relations to Emotional Intelligence?

Independence is the ability to be self-reliant and self-directed in ones thinking and actions and to be free of emotional dependency. The trait of Independence looks at your self-motivation and measures the extent to which a person is intrinsically motivated. In other words, they had their own internal standards which they apply to any task. There is a fine balance between being independent and overly independent. If you where to over use the trait if Independence then you may be seen by others as not part of the team. Where if you are under using the trait of Independence that you may be overly reliant on everyone around and need to be in the middle fo the team at all time. It is all about the right amount of balance for you to work to the best of your ability with the people around you.

“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Ziglar 

How much do you use the trait of Independence?

Take a look at how you work with the team around you. Are you running away with ideas and working alone or do you share with the group and create a team work environment?

When Independence is operating well:

  • Comfortable being the Leader
  • Contributes to work culture, problem solving, motivation and trust
  • Can choose own course of action
  • Motivates self and others
  • Accepts responsibility for decisions knowing that at times people may disagree with them
  • Can think & work on own

When Independence is low:

  • Over reliance on the team
  • Consults other for advice before making any decisions
  • Struggles to express thoughts & feelings
  • Prefers to follow others course of action

Developing Independence

Being independent is about being able to make own decisions and solve your own problems without over reliance on the team around, whilst painting a good relationship with everyone int he team.

During Learning Cog’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Masterclass, starting with ‘Self-Perception’, we explain how to assess you own emotional intelligence and how to develop your EQ awareness. Here in this blog we have added some areas to think about when developing Independence.


Who do you know that likes to and is good at motivating themselves, working alone and making decisions on their own?
How do they make decisions?

  • Ask them how they stay motivated and are able to motivate themselves?
  • What interests do they have other than those that you are aware of?
    Decide what aspects of your life you would like to be more independent in, look at how others treat those aspects in their lives?
  • Identify behaviours that others have and how would you demonstrate those behaviours?

Self Coaching

Here are some statements to answer, look at each one and understand the reason why you feel that way in different situations. What can you do differently?

  • I avoid being on my own when….
  • I like being on my own when…
  • I need other people to give me their opinion because…
  • I don’t need other people to give me their opinion because…
  • When I tell people about a decision I made on my own their reaction is…
  • When other people tell me about decisions they made my reaction is…
  • I know why I go to work?
  • I do understand what will get me through the hard times?
  • I know what gets me excited?
  • Am I able to do a piece of the work that I don’t find energising, and motivate myself to do this?

Thinking and Reflection

Here is an exercise for you to complete to help build your understanding of your own Independence.

Exercise: Learn your formula

Exercise 1: Theories of Motivation 

Take some time to research what motivation is. What is your view of motivation? How do you motivate?

Look at the list or motivators and place them in priority order.

  • 1 = the thing that motivates you most
  • 6 = the thing that motivates you least

You may add an additional motivator of your choice

  • Achievement
  • Advancement
  • Recognition
  • Growth
  • Responsibility
  • The work itself– (i.e.job enrichment)

Now that you have a list of 1 to 6 (or 7) ask yourself, If I had 1 but didn’t have 2 would that be ok? If the answer is yes then leave it in the right place. Now ask yourself if I could have 2 but couldn’t have 3 would that be okay? If the answer is yes then leave it in the right place. If the answer is no then swap these round and repeat the process with the next number. Complete this questioning until you have gone through all of the motivators to know that you have them in the correct place.
Now take time to understand how each of those motivators means achievement to you, may mean something very different to a member of your team or the people around you.


It is important to actual do something when taking part in any self development. The practical is more important than the theory. here you need to know why you are doing things in order to develop your levels of independence and motivation.

  • Why did I get up this morning?
  • Identify the thoughts and feelings that stop you from being motivated.
  • Avoid clinging to others for emotional support.
  • Talk to others who are independent and ask advice and opinion on being more motivated to be independent.
  • Make a list of situations in which you feel low motivation, and situations in which you feel more dependent. Then ask yourself how it makes you feel to be more independent are more motivated and try to understand why.
  • Reinforce your efforts to be more motivated.
  • Talk to others you perceived to be highly motivated and I said advice as a guide to learning more motivation.

The more time you spend observing yourself, the more you develop your Independence. Give yourself time, it may feel mechanical, clumsy and awkward at first, but with practice it will become quick and easy and automatic. Why not get in touch and talk to us more about developing Emotional Intelligence in yourself, your Leadership Team or your whole business.

Look out for the next blog on Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 7 – Social Responsibility

Or read previous blogs:

What is emotional intelligence? and how can I develop it…

1 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 1 – Self Regard

2 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 2 – Self Actualisation

3 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 3 – Emotional Self Awareness

4 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 4 – Emotional Expression

5 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 5 – Assertiveness

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