What is emotional intelligence?
According to Chernish and Goleman (2001), Emotional Intelligence(EI) refers to “the abilities to recognise and regulate emotions in ourselves and others”. Emotional intelligence is the potential to be aware of one’s emotions in communication with oneself, others and to manage and motivate oneself and others through understanding emotions. The concept of EI regarding social and personal intelligence may have highly remarkable applications in social and organisational setup. In essence, EI is a psychological concept that seeks to describe the role and relevance of emotions for intellectual functions. This article briefs the importance of emotional intelligence in terms of features of individuals with higher EI, effects of lack of EI, and strategies to improve it.
Features of Individuals with higher emotional intelligence
- An emotionally mature, competent and skilled personality, due to which they are likely to enjoy a good physical and mental well-being for leading a happy life.
- The life of people who have higher emotional intelligence is more comfortable, safer and more successful, they are more productive in their working environment.
- Individuals with high EI are likely to be better understood by the people they work with and also have the potential to manage and lead people as they accurately perceive emotions of others and empathise with them.
- Emotionally intelligent people are excellent at placing themselves in positive affective states. They induce positive vibrations in others that result in a powerful social influence, which is an important aspect of leadership.
- People with high EI are good at controlling non-effective negative feelings that result in destructive consequences.
- Individuals who are emotionally intelligent and optimistic are solution oriented; they capitalise their energy to refocus attention on the most relevant stimuli in their environment.
- People with high EI tend to have good life satisfaction as an outcome as they understand their own and others’ emotions better and strive for positive results by continually improving their attitudes and behaviours.
- Many problems may arise from deficits in emotional intelligence. People who don’t learn to manage their emotions may become slaves to them.
- Individuals who can’t recognise emotions in others may be perceived as uncouth and ultimately be ostracised. Interpersonal relation issues may arise at family or social levels.
- Sociopaths, who are impoverished in their emotional experiences, seem to the over-regulate mood in others for their purposes.
- A far more common experience may involve people who cannot recognise emotions in themselves and therefore are unable to plan lives that fulfil them emotionally. Such deficits in planning may lead to lives of unrewarded experience lived by individuals who become depressed and even suicidal. A society of such people could create a culture in which people are inadequately rewarded and so regulate their emotions in alienated ways.
Building emotional intelligence
It’s critical to understand four components of EI which pair up under two competencies: Personal competence and social competence. Personal competence consists of self-awareness and self-management skills which focus on how conscious are you of your emotions and drive your behaviour and tendencies accordingly. Social competence comprises of social awareness and relationship management which focuses on how well you understand the feelings, moods, and the behaviours of others, to improve the quality of relationships.
Below are the few strategies briefly explained to develop emotional intelligence as suggested by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves in their book Emotional Intelligence 2.0.
Self-Awareness strategies: Self-awareness is an essential ability to understand one’s emotions as they happen and know the reason behind them. Improving self-awareness plays a significant role in mastering other components of EI.
- Quit treating your feelings as Good or Bad. It is best to acknowledge and explore the feelings rather than judging them.
- Your goal should be to move towards the emotion, dwell into them, and finally through them, instead of avoiding them.
- Use physical cues: Understanding the physical factors that accompany specific emotions is the key to early detection and awareness, such as heartbeat, the level of perspiration and pulse during reflection will help with understanding.
- Don’t be fooled by a bad or a good mood, as some situations may not be met with same negative/positive feelings in the future as of now. It’s wise never to make important decisions when you are at the peak of emotions (either positive/negative).
- Reflection on oneself by listing personal values and beliefs helps to identify what one stands for while noting actions that contradicted these values.
- Seek Feedback from others which is important in gauging one’s self-awareness.
- Get to Know Yourself Under Stress: Understanding your reaction pattern to stress is vital to be aware of stress, which in turn affects emotional control.
Features of Lack of Emotional Intelligence
Management strategies for Self-control: After applying self-awareness to ensure emotions are understood, self-management tools help with self-control which leads to better communication and stronger relations, making oneself act rationally and reasonably.
- Make Your Goals Public: Strategically selecting people to share goals with and requesting assistance from them in monitoring personal progress can lead to great results due to an increased level of accountability.
- Count to Ten: Taking the time to step back from an emotionally charged situation and hence reaction by counting up to ten, will automatically help your body and brain to re-adjust and allow your rational brain to re-define the equation.
- Identifying people who are skilled in the area and modelling their strategies can help to improve one’s self-management practices.
- Smile and laugh more: The human brain will respond positively to the physical elements of smiling and laughing, providing a unique way to guide emotions.
- Set aside some time in your day for problem-solving: Decisions made abruptly tend to be less successful than those made in a rushing moment. Setting aside time to address problems help in assuring they are not considered merely through initial emotional reactions.
- Visualise yourself succeeding: The brain responds equally to what it sees in the mind and in real life. Therefore, visualising success in handling situations and in adopting EI strategies is more likely to lead to it, especially when done at night.
- Accepting and expecting change is the key to self-management. Taking time to list potential changes may help with becoming comfortable in this area.
Some Common Social Awareness Strategies: Social awareness is paying attention to the external world to understand and accept others emotions’ which demands keen observatory skills.
- Greet people by name: It is because the name is crucial to identity and using people’s names help to show they are valued.
- Live in the moment: While reflection and planning are necessary to improving EI, remembering to focus on the task at hand is a vital part of self-management.
- Develop observatory skills.
- Practice the Art of Listening
- Understand the rules of different cultures which help you to connect better.
- View a situation through the eyes of other people which may lead to a better understanding of where they stand and how they react
- Human emotions tend to spread and keep changing, so being sensitive to the collective tone leads to a high level of social awareness
Relationship management strategies: Relationship management is the apex of all other components of EI that allows one to combine awareness of self and others, and manage the emotions to facilitate healthy relationship-building and maintenance. These strategies include:
- Acknowledge feelings of others
- Compliment the person’s emotions or situation
- When you care, show It
- Make your feedback direct and constructive
- Offer a “Fix-it” statement during a broken conversation
- Enhance your natural communication style. Good communication is the key to healthy relationships
- Remember that the little things such as small gestures of apologising and complementing may make a huge difference.
According to research and studies, two third of people are controlled by emotions which mean they are not yet skilled in gauging their own/others emotions, which leads to an inability of identifying and managing emotions, resulting in many adjustment problems and work related issues. These issues call for a need to understand the importance of applying the above-mentioned strategies to improve one’s Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence thus plays a significant role in providing insight on one’s behaviour patterns and belief system and paves the way for improvement of relationship with self and others, fostering holistic development of an individual.
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- Bradberry Tand Greaves J (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. U S, Talent smart publishers.
- Salovey P (2007). Emotional Intelligence: Key readings on Mayer and Salovey Model. New York, Dude Publishing. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.in
- Salovey P and Caruso R David (2004). The Emotionally Intelligent Manager. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publication. Retrieved from http://mfnco.com/e-library/books/The%20Emotionally%20Intelligent%20Manager.pdf
- S Ramya (2014). Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Psychological Well Being among Young Adults. Gujarath, Redshine Publication. Retrieved from http://oaji.net/articles/2014/1170-1413714233.pdf