Emotional intelligence (EQ) -“is a term used to describe the various competencies that are essential for building, developing and managing relationships”. Emotional intelligence consists of two dimensions, intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. Intrapersonal intelligence – “being intelligent in identifying our own thoughts and feelings (self awareness) and being effective at dealing with those thoughts and feelings (self management)”. Interpersonal intelligence – “being intelligent in identifying the thoughts and feelings of others and between others (other awareness) and being effective in how we tailor our actions to work with others most appropriately (relationship management).”
Emotional intelligence involves the “abilities to perceive, appraise, and express emotion; to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth.
EQ is the ability to understand your own emotions and those of people around you. The concept of EQ means you have a self-awareness that enables you to recognise feelings and helps you manage your emotions. A person with a high EQ is also capable of understanding the feelings of others and, therefore, is better at handling relationships of all kinds. An emotionally intelligent person has the ability to confront someone with something that is uncomfortable, but doing it in a way that is productive – building trust, showing empathy and identifying the root causes. Emotional Intelligence is about making sure feelings, thoughts and attitudes are expressed appropriately so that people are able to work together effectively in achieving common goals. It’s about behaviors that deliver needed results and creating an environment that gets the best out of each person.
When Salovey and Mayer coined the term emotional intelligence in 1990 (Salovey & Mayer, 1990), they were aware of the previous work on non-cognitive aspects of intelligence. They described emotional intelligence as ‘a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action. (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Salovey and Mayer also initiated a research program intended to develop valid measures of emotional intelligence and to explore its significance.
Empathy is a particularly important aspect of emotional intelligence, and researchers have known for years that it contributes to occupational success. Rosenthal and his colleagues at Harvard discovered over two decades ago that people who were best at identifying others’ emotions were more successful in their work as well as in their social lives (Rosenthal, 1977)
“Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” Researchers in this area recognize five major categories of emotional intelligence skills.
- Self-awareness. The ability to recognize an emotion as it “happens” is the key to your EQ. Developing self-awareness requires tuning in to your true feelings. If you evaluate your emotions, you can manage them.
- Self-regulation. You often have little control over when you experience emotions. You can, however, have some say in how long an emotion will last by using a number of techniques to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, anxiety or depression. A few of these techniques include recasting a situation in a more positive light, taking a long walk and meditation or prayer.
- Motivation. To motivate yourself for any achievement requires clear goals and a positive attitude. Although you may have a predisposition to either a positive or a negative attitude, you can with effort and practice learn to think more positively. If you catch negative thoughts as they occur, you can reframe them in more positive terms — which will help you achieve your goals.
- Empathy. The ability to recognize how people feel is important to success in your life and career. The more skillful you are at discerning the feelings behind others’ signal the better you can control the signals you send them.
- Social skills. The development of good interpersonal skills is tantamount to success in your life and career. In today’s always-connected world, everyone has immediate access to technical knowledge. Thus, “people skills” are even more important now because you must possess a high EQ to better understand, empathize and negotiate with others in a global economy.
Having high levels of emotional intelligence suggests high levels of self-awareness (knowledge of strengths, limitations, skills, values and beliefs) and enables business leaders to build more productive relationships with those around them. When someone understands themselves, they are better equipped to understand others. This assists business leaders to influence others to take action to achieve their organizational goals and business targets.
At the end of this session the learner will be able to:
- Explain the difference between general intelligence and emotional intelligence
- List five major categories of emotional intelligence skills
- Name the two dimensions of emotional intelligence
- Describe the benefits of emotional intelligence
- Explain Daniel Goleman’s competencies model of emotional intelligence
- Outline the importance of emotional intelligence
- Detail five strategies for enhancing emotional intelligence