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Emotional intelligence as traits: Petrides

Understanding the trait model of emotional intelligence
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Rather than abilities, skills or competences, trait emotional intelligence concerns individuals’ perceptions of their own emotional world (Petrides and Furnham 2001).

These perceptions can be assessed via a self-report (self-assessment) questionnaire called the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue).

The TEIQue

Petrides formulated the TEIQue, which aims to provide a comprehensive coverage of emotion-related aspects of personality, such as how well we understand our own emotions, react to pressure and manage our relationships.

Trait emotional intelligence measures help us to answer such questions as:

  • How aware are we of our strengths and limitations?
  • Can we cope with sudden emotional demands?
  • How do we react under pressure?
  • Can we control our impulses under stress?
  • How self-motivated and adaptable are we?

In order to address questions such as these, there are four main facets (elements) of the TEIQue:

Wellbeing represented by: happiness, optimism and self-esteem Self-control represented by: emotional regulation, impulse control and stress management
Emotionality represented by: empathy, emotion perception, emotion expression and relationships Sociability represented by: emotional management, assertiveness and social awareness

There are two further independent facets, represented by adaptability and self-motivation.

Assessing our own emotional intelligence

In assessing our own emotional intelligence, there are a few points to bear in mind:

  • Trait emotional intelligence contends that there is no right or wrong answer to the responses people give. For example, there can be a positive outcome for someone whose self esteem is high (satisfied with all aspects of life) and low (can perceive where there is room for improvement?). How do you view others with high or low scores? How might you be viewed by others with higher or lower scores than you?
  • Is our self-perception stable throughout our life? What about our mood and life events; do these alter our perceptions?
  • How capable are we of recognising our traits?
  • What are the consequences of this knowledge on our behaviour and relationships?

Your task

Follow the link to the TEIQue sample report. Here you can read a full report prepared by Thomas International for a fictitious employee, Thomas Sample. You will need to click on the link, scroll to the middle of the page and download the report.

Thomas International: trait emotional intelligence questionnaire

To better understand the report, here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Look through the potential uses of the TEIQue report on page 5 – which might be most useful to you (and your team) in your workplace?
  2. Look through Thomas’s factor and facet scores on pages 4 and 5. Remember this is based on his responses to a questionnaire and reflects what he thinks of himself. What do you notice?
  3. Read through the rest of the report. It offers feedback on how well Thomas might understand his emotions, react in pressurised situations and deal with working relationships. How well might he react in a pressurised leadership role, for example? Discuss in your community of practice.
Bearing in mind there are no wholly right or wrong answers:
  • What might be the advantages of a below average score on the facets of impulse control and assertiveness?
  • What might be the disadvantages of an above average score on empathy and emotion perception?

Discuss these in your community of practice in the comments area and we will give you some suggestions later this week.


Petrides, K.V., and Furnham, A. (2001) ‘Trait Emotional Intelligence: Psychometric Investigation with Reference to Established Trait Taxonomies’. European Journal of Personality 15, 425–448

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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