EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE ??

Emotional intelligence or EI is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.

According to Daniel Goleman , an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

What is emotional intelligence or EQ?

Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:

  1. Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  2. Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
  3. Social awareness – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
  4. Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Why is emotional intelligence so important?

As we know, it’s not the smartest people who are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Intellectual ability or your intelligence quotient (IQ) isn’t enough on its own to achieve success in life. Yes, your IQ can help you get into college, but it’s your EQ that will help you manage the stress and emotions when facing your final exams. IQ and EQ exist in tandem and are most effective when they build off one another.

Emotional intelligence affects:

Your performance at school or work. High emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to gauging important job candidates, many companies now rate emotional intelligence as important as technical ability and employ EQ testing before hiring.

Your physical health. If you’re unable to manage your emotions, you are probably not managing your stress either. This can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, contributes to infertility, and speeds up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to manage stress.

Your mental health. Uncontrolled emotions and stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand, get comfortable with, or manage your emotions, you’ll also struggle to form strong relationships. This in turn can leave you feeling lonely and isolated and further exacerbate any mental health problems.

Your relationships. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you’re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.

Your social intelligence. Being in tune with your emotions serves a social purpose, connecting you to other people and the world around you. Social intelligence enables you to recognize friend from foe, measure another person’s interest in you, reduce stress, balance your nervous system through social communication, and feel loved and happy.

Building emotional intelligence: Four key skills to increasing your EQ

The skills that make up emotional intelligence can be learned at any time. However, it’s important to remember that there is a difference between simply learning about EQ and applying that knowledge to your life. Just because you know you should do something doesn’t mean you will—especially when you become overwhelmed by stress, which can override your best intentions. In order to permanently change behavior in ways that stand up under pressure, you need to learn how to overcome stress in the moment, and in your relationships, in order to remain emotionally aware.

The key skills for building your EQ and improving your ability to manage emotions and connect with others are:

  • Self-management
  • Self-awareness
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

Building Emotional Intelligence,

Key Skill 1 : Self-Management

In order for you to engage your EQ, you must be able use your emotions to make constructive decisions about your behavior. When you become overly stressed, you can lose control of your emotions and the ability to act thoughtfully and appropriately.

Think about a time when stress has overwhelmed you. Was it easy to think clearly or make a rational decision? Probably not. When you become overly stressed, your ability to both think clearly and accurately assess emotions—your own and other people’s—becomes compromised.

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Emotions are important pieces of information that tell you about yourself and others, but in the face of stress that takes us out of our comfort zone, we can become overwhelmed and lose control of ourselves. With the ability to manage stress and stay emotionally present, you can learn to receive upsetting information without letting it override your thoughts and self-control. You’ll be able to make choices that allow you to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.

Key Skill 2 : Self-Awareness

Managing stress is just the first step to building emotional intelligence. T Your ability to manage core feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy often depends on the quality and consistency of your early life emotional experiences. If your primary caretaker as an infant understood and valued your emotions, it’s likely your emotions have become valuable assets in adult life. But, if your emotional experiences as an infant were confusing, threatening or painful, it’s likely you’ve tried to distance yourself from your emotions. But being able to connect to your emotions—having a moment-to-moment connection with your changing emotional experience—is the key to understanding how emotion influences your thoughts and actions.

Do you experience feelings that flow, encountering one emotion after another as your experiences change from moment to moment?

Are your emotions accompanied by physical sensations that you experience in places like your stomach, throat, or chest?

Do you experience individual feelings and emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy, each of which is evident in subtle facial expressions?

Can you experience intense feelings that are strong enough to capture both your attention and that of others?

Do you pay attention to your emotions? Do they factor into your decision making?

If any of these experiences are unfamiliar, you may have “turned down” or “turned off” your emotions. In order to build EQ—and become emotionally healthy—you must reconnect to your core emotions, accept them, and become comfortable with them. You can achieve this through the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and without judgment. The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of similar prayer or meditation technique. Mindfulness helps shift your preoccupation with thought toward an appreciation of the moment, your physical and emotional sensations, and brings a larger perspective on life. Mindfulness calms and focuses you, making you more self-aware in the process

Developing emotional awareness

It’s important that you learn how to manage stress first, so you’ll feel more comfortable reconnecting to strong or unpleasant emotions and changing how you experience and respond to your feelings. 

Key skill 3 : Social awareness

Social awareness enables you to recognize and interpret the mainly nonverbal cues others are constantly using to communicate with you. These cues let you know how others are really feeling, how their emotional state is changing from moment to moment, and what’s truly important to them.

When groups of people send out similar nonverbal cues, you’re able to read and understand the power dynamics and shared emotional experiences of the group. In short, you’re empathetic and socially comfortable.

Mindfulness is an ally of emotional and social awareness

To build social awareness, you need to recognize the importance of mindfulness in the social process. After all, you can’t pick up on subtle nonverbal cues when you’re in your own head, thinking about other things, or simply zoning out on your phone. Social awareness requires your presence in the moment. While many of us pride ourselves on an ability to multitask, this means that you’ll miss the subtle emotional shifts taking place in other people that help you fully understand them.

  • You are actually more likely to further your social goals by setting other thoughts aside and focusing on the interaction itself.
  • Following the flow of another person’s emotional responses is a give-and-take process that requires you to also pay attention to the changes in your own emotional experience.
  • Paying attention to others doesn’t diminish your own self-awareness. By investing the time and effort to really pay attention to others, you’ll actually gain insight into your own emotional state as well as your values and beliefs. For example, if you feel discomfort hearing others express certain views, you’ll have learned something important about yourself.

Key skill 4 : Relationship Management

Working well with others is a process that begins with emotional awareness and your ability to recognize and understand what other people are experiencing. Once emotional awareness is in play, you can effectively develop additional social/emotional skills that will make your relationships more effective, fruitful, and fulfilling.

Become aware of how effectively you use nonverbal communication. It’s impossible to avoid sending nonverbal messages to others about what you think and feel. The many muscles in the face, especially those around the eyes, nose, mouth and forehead, help you to wordlessly convey your own emotions as well as read other peoples’ emotional intent. The emotional part of your brain is always on—and even if you ignore its messages—others won’t. Recognising the nonverbal messages that you send to others can play a huge part in improving your relationships.

Use humor and play to relieve stress. Humor, laughter and play are natural antidotes to stress. They lessen your burdens and help you keep things in perspective. Laughter brings your nervous system into balance, reducing stress, calming you down, sharpening your mind and making you more empathic.

Learn to see conflict as an opportunity to grow closer to others. Conflict and disagreements are inevitable in human relationships. Two people can’t possibly have the same needs, opinions, and expectations at all times. However, that needn’t be a bad thing. Resolving conflict in healthy, constructive ways can strengthen trust between people. When conflict isn’t perceived as threatening or punishing, it fosters freedom, creativity, and safety in relationships.

How Emotional Intelligence Is Measured

A number of different assessments have emerged to measure levels of emotional intelligence. Such tests generally fall into one of two types: self-report tests and ability tests.

Self-report tests are the most common because they are the easiest to administer and score. On such tests, respondents respond to questions or statements by rating their own behaviors. For example, on a statement such as “I often feel that I understand how others are feeling,” a test-taker might describe the statement as disagree, somewhat disagree, agree, or strongly agree.

If you want to assess your EI, you can use the following link:

http://www.eqindia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/EQ-TEST.pdf

Impact of Emotional Intelligence

Interest in teaching and learning social and emotional intelligence has grown in recent years. Social and emotional learning (SEL) programs have become a standard part of the curriculum for many schools.

The goal of these initiatives is not only to improve health and well-being but also to help students succeed academically and prevent bullying. There are many examples of how emotional intelligence can play a role in daily life.

Thinking Before Reacting

Emotionally intelligent people know that emotions can be powerful, but also temporary. When a highly charged emotional event happens, such as becoming angry with a co-worker, the emotionally intelligent response would be to take some time before responding. This allows everyone to calm their emotions and think more rationally about all the factors surrounding the argument.

Greater Self-Awareness

Emotionally intelligent people are not only good at thinking about how other people might feel but they are also adept at understanding their own feelings. Self-awareness allows people to consider the many different factors that contribute to their emotions.

Empathy for Others

A large part of emotional intelligence is being able to think about and empathize with how other people are feeling. This often involves considering how you would respond if you were in the same situation.

People who have strong emotional intelligence are able to consider the perspectives, experiences, and emotions of other people and use this information to explain why people behave the way that they do.

How to Use

Emotional intelligence can be used in many different ways in your daily life. Some different ways to practice emotional intelligence include:

  • Being able to accept criticism and responsibility
  • Being able to move on after making a mistake
  • Being able to say no when you need to
  • Being able to share your feelings with others
  • Being able to solve problems in ways that work for everyone
  • Having empathy for other people
  • Having great listening skills
  • Knowing why you do the things you do
  • Not being judgemental of others

Emotional intelligence is essential for good interpersonal communication. Some experts believe that this ability is more important in determining life success than IQ alone. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to strengthen your own social and emotional intelligence.

Understanding emotions can be the key to better relationships, improved well-being, and stronger communication skills. 

Tips for Improving EI

Being emotionally intelligent is important, but what steps can you take to improve your own social and emotional skills? Here are some tips.

Listen

If you want to understand what other people are feeling, the first step is to pay attention. Take the time to listen to what people are trying to tell you, both verbally and non-verbally. Body language can carry a great deal of meaning. When you sense that someone is feeling a certain way, consider the different factors that might be contributing to that emotion.

Empathize

Picking up on emotions is critical, but you also need to be able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes in order to truly understand their point of view. Practice empathizing with other people. Imagine how you would feel in their situation. Such activities can help you build an emotional understanding of a specific situation as well as develop stronger emotional skills in the long-term.

Reflect

The ability to reason with emotions is an important part of emotional intelligence. Consider how your own emotions influence your decisions and behaviors. When you are thinking about how other people respond, assess the role that their emotions play.

Why is this person feeling this way? Are there any unseen factors that might be contributing to these feelings? How to your emotions differ from theirs? As you explore such questions, you may find that it becomes easier to understand the role that emotions play in how people think and behave.

Why EQ Matters in the Workplace

Why is emotional intelligence such a valued workplace skill? According to one survey of hiring managers, almost 75% of respondents suggested that they valued an employee’s EQ more than their IQ.

Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a valuable skill that helps improve communication, management, problem-solving, and relationships within the workplace. It is also a skill that researchers believe can be improved with training and practice.

People With High EQ

  • Make better decisions and solve problems
  • Keep cool under pressure
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Have greater empathy
  • Listen, reflect, and respond to constructive criticism

People With Low EQ

  • Play the role of the victim or avoid taking responsibility for errors
  • Have passive or aggressive communication styles
  • Refuse to work as a team  
  • Are overly critical of others or dismiss others’ opinions

 Work on Your Motivation

Another key component of emotional intelligence is intrinsic motivation. People who have strong EQ tend to be more motivated to achieve goals for their own sake. Rather than seeking external rewards, they want to do things because they find them fulfilling and they are passionate about what they do.

Money, status, and acclaim are great, but people who are highly successful in the workplace are usually motivated by something more than that. They are passionate about what they do. They have a commitment to their work, they love taking on new challenges, and their enthusiasm can seem contagious. They don’t give up in the face of obstacles and they are able to inspire others to work hard and persist in order to achieve goals.

Focus on what you love about your work. There are probably things about your job that you love and things that you hate.Try focusing on the aspects of your job that you enjoy, such as the feeling of accomplishment you get when you complete a big project, or helping your clients progress toward their own goals. Identify those components of your job and take inspiration from them.

Try to maintain a positive attitude. Notice how optimistic people in the workplace tend to inspire and motivate others. Adopting this kind of attitude can help you feel more positively about your work.