Emotional intelligence case studies

Case Studies are a great tool for application of concepts into analytical thinking and real problem solving. The Emotional Intelligence Case Studies below will tickle the mind to application of emotional intelligence into real life situations.

Case Facts

Dale is a junior manager in a manufacturing company. His manager recently retired. His former manager recommended Dale for a management training program to position Dale for succession.

Dale did not get the promotion because he failed his management training. He is very bitter at the lost opportunity and complains to his co-workers that he did not get the promotion because of them, accusing them of overloading him with work, leaving him with no time to study.

Dale also complains to his wife that if she had taken on more responsibilities, he would not have failed his management training. At family gatherings he complains that it is things like these that made him fail and loose a promotion.

He is also jealous of his new manager for getting the promotion ahead of him. He complains that if he had not been sabotaged by others the job would have been his. Dale complains continuously and still is complaining 1 year on after the incident.


  1. Identify the emotional intelligence issues in this case?
  2. Is Dale responding to his failure in an emotionally intelligent way? If not how could he respond better?


  1. Emotional Intelligence issues in this case include:
  • a) cognitive distortions,
  • b) attribution error,
  • c) faulty causal analysis,
  • d) emotional reasoning e.g. taking emotional feelings for reality
  • e) External locus of control,
  • f) personalizing,
  • g) blame shifting
  • h) failure to handle and cope with negative emotions
  • i) lack of self awareness to enable reading own emotions accurately,
  • j) lack of self-management in failing to control own negative emotions
  • k) lack of social skills to read emotions in others and respond with empathy e.g. blaming others, complaining and jealous
  • l) lack of motivation to move ahead from failure to other challenges

Dale’s Poor Emotional Response

2. Dale is not responding in an emotionally intelligent way. He is nursing bitterness, jealous and blaming others due to his lack of self awareness and self management to handle his own emotions and respond to them in a productive way.

Alternative Emotional Response

2. Dale could have accepted and owned his failure. Owning ones’ mistakes empowers and motivates to try again thus turning failure into a learning curve and a motivator.

Placing cause of failure outside of self is dis-empowering rather than empowering. An empowering cause attribution is to place it within ones’ sphere of control not outside like Dale did. Dale could have accepted his failure and motivate self to attempt his studies a second time and hope to apply for other job openings within his company or outside.

Dale also fails to manage negative emotions to the point he is still bitter 1 year after event. This has arrested his productive capabilities due to ruminations in negative emotions. Dale could have accepted that failure causes negative feelings but should have sought to find something positive to take his attention away from the failure. He could have taken up his studies again, and immense himself in his studies thus taking away his mind from the negative emotions to motivation for change of his predicament.

Emotional Intelligence Case Studies and Emotional Intelligence Quiz are some of the tools used in Emotional Intelligence Improvement Strategies.

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