What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is defined as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. Since emotional intelligence helps people understand themselves and others better, it is also essential to achieving goals, both personal and professional.
An emotionally intelligent individual is both highly conscious of his or her own emotional states, even negativity—sadness, frustration, or something more indirect —and able to identify and manage them.
Learn how to develop Emotional Intelligence in Customer Service.
4 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence
You have probably run into people at your workplace who are the masters of their emotions. They don’t get angry and stressed easily, but quite the opposite. In those situations, they act calm and firm, looking for the best possible solution for themselves and their friends and co-workers. Even when they don’t have the solution or a valuable piece of advice, people tend to leave feeling more hopeful and optimistic. That kind of people has a high level of emotional intelligence.
Research The Emotionally Intelligent Manager published by professors David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey, explains that emotional intelligence can be broken down to four core skills:
1. Identification of your feelings and the feelings of others around you
2. Usage of your feelings to guide you in own thinking and reasoning, as well as others
3. Deeply understanding of how the feelings might change as events develop and unfold
4. Stay open to the history (data) of your feelings and integrate what you have learned into your future actions and decisions
The Definition of Emotional Intelligence
One of the keys to success in life is the development of soft skills or emotional intelligence, both in business and in personal life. In his book Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ Daniel Goleman has built a framework of 5 elements that define emotional intelligence:
1. Self-Awareness – People with a high degree of emotional intelligence tend to be self-aware. Because they understand their emotions, they don’t let their feelings rule them.
2. Self-Regulation – Most simply put, it is thinking before acting. In those terms, self-regulation is all about controlling your emotions and impulses.
3. Motivation – High level of emotional intelligence leads to better motivation. People with high emotional intelligence tend to be more productive and focused in whatever they do.
4. Empathy – One of the most important elements of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to understand the standpoints, views, and needs of people surrounding you.
5. Social Skills – Another sign of high emotional intelligence is how easy is to talk to them. Those with strong social and emotional skills are typically team players.
3 Steps to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
Sit down and reflect on the use of your emotions. For example, think about how you respond in typically stressful situations. For instance:
- A driver cuts you off on the highway
- You get a phone-call that implies that you dropped the ball
After you have identified your emotions and reactions, you will become more mindful and start the process of building the control over your emotions.
Often, we don’t realize that other people see us much differently than we see ourselves. It’s not (always) about right or wrong; it’s simply understanding how perceptions differ. By asking people close to us–like a significant other or close friend or workmate–about our interactions with them, we can learn much from their perspective about ourselves.
Armed with this newly acquired knowledge, you can now be more observant of your emotions. Your self-reflection and what others have shared will help you to be more in tune with what you’re feeling.
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