By Galina Yanchova
What is Emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. Emotional intelligence also reflects abilities to join intelligence, empathy and emotions to enhance thought and understanding of interpersonal dynamics.
EI includes four types of abilities:
- Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artefacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
- Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem-solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
- Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompass the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
- Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.
- Your performance at school or work.
- Your physical health. If you’re unable to manage your emotions, you probably are not managing your stress either. This can lead to serious health problems…
- Your mental health. Uncontrolled emotions and stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
- Your relationships.
- Your social intelligence. Being in harmony with your emotions serves a social purpose, connecting you to other people and the world around you
Emotional Intelligence Can Be Developed.
The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first, they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage.
Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centres of the brain.
- Social awareness
- Relationship management
Self-awareness – Developing self-awareness requires tuning in to your true feelings. The major elements of self-awareness are:
Emotional awareness. Your ability to recognize your own emotions and their effects. Self-confidence. Sureness about your self-worth and capabilities.
Self-regulation – You often have little control over when you experience emotions but you can learn techniques which can help to recast them in positive.
- Self-control. -Managing disruptive impulses.
- Trustworthiness. -Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.
- Conscientiousness. -Taking responsibility for your own performance.
- Adaptability. -Handling change with flexibility.
- Innovation. -Being open to new ideas.
Motivation – To motivate yourself for any achievement requires clear goals and a positive attitude.
Motivation is made up of:
- Achievement drive. Your constant striving to improve or to meet a standard of excellence.
- Commitment. Aligning with the goals of the group or organization.
- Initiative. Readying yourself to act on opportunities.
- Optimism. Pursuing goals persistently despite obstacles and setbacks.
Empathy – The ability to recognize how people feel is important to success in your life and career.
An empathetic person excels at:
- Service orientation. Anticipating, recognizing and meeting clients’ needs.
- Developing others. Sensing what others need to progress and bolstering their abilities.
- Leveraging diversity. Cultivating opportunities through diverse people.
- Political awareness. Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.
- Understanding others. Discerning the feelings behind the needs and wants of others.
Social skills – The development of good interpersonal skills is tantamount to success in your life and career.
Among the most useful skills are:
- Influence. Wielding effective persuasion tactics.
- Communication. Sending clear messages.
- Leadership. Inspiring and guiding groups and people.
- Change catalyst. Initiating or managing change.
- Conflict management. Understanding, negotiating and resolving disagreements.
- Building Bonds. Nurturing instrumental relationships.
- Collaboration and cooperation. Working with others toward shared goals.
- Team capabilities. Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.
The ability to manage people and relationships is very important for all leaders, so developing and using your emotional intelligence can be a good way to show others the leader inside of you.
Emotional intelligence is an awareness of your actions and feelings – and how they affect those around you. It also means that you value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathize or identify with them on many different levels.