This important EI factor is defined as our ability to effectively and constructively control emotions. More precisely, impulse control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse or temptation to act; and it assumes a capacity for accepting our aggressive impulses as well as controlling hostile and potentially irresponsible behavior. Itis the ability to maintain composure and effectively control one’s emotions in challenging and demanding situations. In essence, impulse control is having emotions work for you and not against you.
After emotional self-awareness (being aware of one’s emotions), empathy (being aware of others’ emotions) and assertiveness (expressing one’s feelings), impulse control (controlling emotions) represents the fourth foundation stone of emotional intelligence. As such, this is a key component of most definitions and measures of this construct.
Research findings have shown that impulse control is closely associated, first and foremost, with understanding emotions. In order function effectively, evidently, it appears that one must understand as well as control emotions.
Impulse control surfaces as an important element in the ability to lead, negotiate and execute conflict resolution. Problems in impulse control are typically quite visible as well as destructive. They are often manifested by low frustration tolerance, impulsiveness, anger control problems, abusiveness, loss of self-control and explosive and unpredictable behavior. This factor surfaces as a key contributor to “derailment” in leadership. Although Bill Clinton is thought to be highly emotionally intelligent in a number of fundamental areas, he was seriously lacking in this specific aspect of EI which contributed to the beginning of impeaching proceedings against him.