In our latest blog we unpacked the first element of the Emotional Intelligence wheel. We now continue our journey of understanding the importance and relevance of Emotional Intelligence to enhance performance and behaviour and will look at the wheel’s second element “Self-Expression”.

Before we explain the theory behind Self-Expression we will take a look at how it functions in everyday life. Take a moment to look at the cartoon blog below which explains this in a pictorial way.

Self Awareness & Expression Cartoon 0715

Recently Gary, our Senior Emotional Intelligence Specialist and Coach, was recently working with a senior leader in a multinational organisation. As a whole, the leader scored high on most of the EQi components . However, his lowest marks were related to “Emotional Expression” and “Optimism.” It was agreed that although he had great Self-Awareness, his tendency was not to express what was going on for him, which meant that his communication with others was sometimes mixed or left people hanging. As a senior leader in his organisation he immediately noticed this is a gap in his organisation.

Coupled with this, the leader’s high “Assertiveness” and “Independence” (the 2 other elements of Self-Expression), his habit was to regularly share his independent opinion about situations and tasks, which in turn disengaged people and worked negatively for a collaborative and team approach.

These two realisations became seminal in adjusting his behaviour in order to enhance his leadership capability.


Self-Expression in its simplest form is how we are self-directed and openly express our thoughts and feelings. It is made up of:

“Emotional Expression” – vital in enabling us to express and share what is truly going on with us in a truthful and meaningful way.

“Assertiveness” – stands up for what is important and has the courage to stand up for what is important. Healthy assertiveness enables us to put our own idea forward as well as engaging other’s ideas and involvement.

“Independence” – is our ability to be self-directed and determined. In other words, able to stay on our own two feet and make effective decision independently, as well as with others.


In a nutshell, understanding Self-Expression enables us to meaningfully express what might be going on for us, sharing an idea or making a decision for the right reasons, without damaging our relationships; it’s communication and interaction at the highest level.

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