This blog is part of a series of blogs exploring Emotional Intelligence. Looking at ways to be able to develop and enhance our own perceived levels of Emotional Intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

To 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. Each of these areas has three traits. We are going to discuss each of these traits in more detail with their own blog. This week we will be exploring the trait, Impulse Control.

What is Impulse Control and the relations to Emotional Intelligence?

Impulse control is the ability to resist or delay our impulse or drive, our temptation to act. It involves effectively and constructively controlling impulses and strong emotions. Do we act with forethought and planning or unthinkingly, quickly and on the spur of the moment?

One way to think about this is, how often have you done something and thought afterwards that you should not have done it, or could have done it differently if you have through it through?

Pay attention incase your impulse control is too high i.e you take too long to make a decision. Or if your Impulse Control is too low, i.e you make quick decisions and then maybe regret them.

“You are the master of the unspoken words and a victim of the spoken one. Therefore always think before you speak”. – Persian Proverb 

How much do you use the trait of Impulse Control?

Do you fly of the handle at every little thing, or keep calm and understand what is happening

When Impulse Control is operating well:

  • Takes time to stop & think
  • Controls aggression
  • Good at negotiation, relationships & problem solving
  • Likely to be healthier & achieve more

When Impulse Control is low:

  • Explosive, Over-reacts
  • Unpredictable, Impatient
  • Rash & impulsive actions, Loss of self-control
  • Costly
  • Mistakes
  • Attacks others,  Angry
  • Creates unsafe, uncomfortable work environment

Developing skills around Impulse Control

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 Impulse Control.


  • Who do you know who is really good at controlling their anger, to the point where they are able to get good outcomes even when they have strong feelings about something?
  • What is the maximum number of times this person might interrupt someone in a natural conversation, or be impatient, or finish the other person sentences?
  • Does this person raise their voice in a discussion to get their point across?
  • What aspect of observed behaviour would you like to have more of yourself?

Self Coaching

  • What are your body language signs of low impulse control? E.g. Breaking eye contact, tapping fingers and feet, waiting to interrupt and interrupting
  • When you exercise low or high impulse control, what sensations do you feel?
  • What do other people say to you when showing high impulse control?
  • In situations that frustrate you, how do you react? do you exercise low are high impulse control?
  • What could you do differently?

Thinking and Reflection

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

Exercise 1: What is everyone saying about me? 

Seek feedback from others. You may wish to build in a feedback loop into the teams that you work within. Your busyness may mean that you are moving onto the next thing without seeking feedback on how effective you are being.

Try not to jump to conclusions too quickly and take time to come to decisions. You may wish to start using the body language of “I can’t answer that right now, but leave this with me and I will come back to you.”

Exercise 2: Problem Solving Low Impulses 

Do you feel low impulse control coming on, for instance you are about to make impulsive decision, stop and go through the following process:

  • Ask yourself, what am I trying to satisfy here – a need or an urge?
  • Move from urge to need by postponing the decision, for instance to the next day.
  • Next day, ask yourself, is this a need or an urge, has it changed?

Make a note yourself – what is more important to you? To satisfy needs or urges?


It is important to actually do something when taking part in any self development. The practical is more important than the theory.

For Low Impulse Control

  • Avoid those who have a low impulse control.
  • Spend time with people with high impulse control.
  • Develop scripts for delaying when the situation requires it and the decision is important – e.g. I’d like some time to think about it.
  • Make a list of situations and people that play a part in you losing control and try to understand what really happens and why.
  • Learn to be an objective observer of your feelings.

For High Impulse Control

  • Spend time with people who have a low impulse control, how does it feel?
  • If you often delay making a decision that is important, try to think fast and decide now.
  • Make a list of situations and people that you tend to take a long time making a decision and try to understand what really happens and why.
  • Learn to be an objective observer of your feelings.

For Everyone

  • Eat for mood management. The brain need adequate protein to maintain proper blood sugar levels which are related to mood and the ability to manage moods.
  • Exercise is a key ingredient in mood management. Not only does it provide distraction, but it also helps develop the brain chemistry associated with emotion.

The more time you spend observing yourself and the people around you, the more you develop your Impulse Control. 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 13 – Flexibility

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

6 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 6 – Independence

7 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 7 – Social Responsibility

8 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 8 – Empathy

9 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 9 – Interpersonal Relationships 

10 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 10 – Problem Solving 

11 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 11 – Reality Testing

Did you know we currently offer [Virtual] Emotional Intelligence testing and training?

Before the workshop you will be invited to take part in a pre-course activity which includes an online self-assessment producing a 20 page personal Emotional Intelligence Report.

An employee’s skills and qualifications are important for success within their role. An employee’s Emotional Intelligence is just as important, if not more so, for fulfilment within, or potentially beyond, their current role. The Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace workshop is designed to as part of an individual’s development in work settings. It helps individuals focus on the impact of emotional intelligence at work and offers suggestions for working more effectively in one’s role, with colleagues, managers and clients.

  • Understand the impact of Emotional Intelligence on themselves and the people around them
  • Quickly identify patterns in own and others Emotional Intelligence
  • Create a clear, organised understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in a constructive way.
  • Effectively measure where they currently are and wants to be by comparing results against sample groups of general population
  • Make instant connections between different subscales of Emotional Intelligence and help leverage EI strengths and improve EI weaknesses.
  • Create an action plan to develop key areas of Emotional Intelligence
  • Become a more effect member of the team and organisation– This virtual session is 4 hours with a 1 hour break.
    – All of our Virtual Learning workshops are conducted via Zoom.
    – Virtual learning begins at 10.30am through to 12.30pm and then again from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. 
    – You will receive an electronic version of your Emotional Intelligence report, and workshop materials will be sent via post.

To discover more about Emotional Intelligence and how LearningCog can help you, head over to our dedicated Emotional Intelligence page.