What is Emotional Intelligence?
According to Mayer and Solovey, Emotional Intelligence (EI), ‘is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions’.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.
According to Mayer and Solovey, EI subsumes inter-and intra-personal intelligences. Inter-personal intelligence is considered the ability to understand other people-what motivates them, how they work, and how to work cooperatively with them. Successful salespeople, politicians, teachers, clinicians, and religious leaders are all likely to be individuals with high degree of inter-personal intelligence. Intra-personal intelligence on the other hand is a correlative ability, turned inward. It is the capacity to form an accurate, veridical model of the self and to be able to use that to operate effectively.
In the analysis, Mayer and solovey have categorized the abilities that involve Emotional intelligence into five domains:
- Self-awareness: observing yourself and recognizing a feeling as it is experienced.
- Managing emotions: Handling feelings so that they are appropriate: realizing what is behind a feeling: finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.
- Motivating oneself: channeling emotions in the service of a goal: emotional self-control: delaying gratification and stifling impulses.
- Empathy: sensitivity to others’ feelings and concerns and taking their perspective: appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.
- Handling relationships: managing emotions in others: social competence and social skills.
Why is Emotional intelligence important?
Social scientists are just beginning to uncover the relationship of EI to other phenomenon, such as leadership, group performance, inter-personal/social exchange, managing change, and conducting performance evaluations. According to Goleman, ‘Emotional intelligence, the skills that help people harmonize, should become increasingly valued as a workplace asset in the years to come.’
Emotional intelligence has four branches which are as follows:
- Perceptions, Appraisal and Expression of Emotion
This includes the ability to identify emotion in our physical states, feelings, and thoughts: in people, designs, etcetera through language, sound, appearance, and behaviour. It also entails the ability to express emotions accurately, and to express needs related to those feelings, and discriminate between accurate and inaccurate, or honest and dishonest expressions of feeling.
- Emotional facilitation of thinking
Emotions prioritize thinking by directing attention to important information. They are sufficiently vivid and available in that they can be generated as aids to judgment and feelings concerning memory. Emotional mood swings change the individual’s perspective from optimistic to pessimistic, encouraging consideration of multiple points of view. Also, emotional states deferentially encourage specific problem-solving approaches. For example, a state of happiness facilitates inductive reasoning and creatively.
- Understanding and Analyzing Emotions
This includes the ability to label emotions and recognize relations between words and the emotions themselves and the ability to interpret meanings that emotions convey. Understanding complex feelings-simultaneous feelings of love and hate or blends such as awe-as well as recognizing likely transitions among emotions are an important part of Emotional intelligence.
- Promoting Emotional and Intellectual Growth
The ability to stay open to feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant while reflectively engaging with or detaching from an emotion depending upon its judged utility. It also includes the ability to monitor emotions in relation to oneself and others, such as recognizing how clear, typical, influential or reasonable the emotions are. Promoting emotional and intellectual growth also entails managing emotions in oneself and others by moderating negative emotions and enhancing those that are pleasant, without repressing or exaggerating the information they may convey.
Measure of Emotional intelligence
The multifactor Emotional intelligence scale (MEIS(tm) is an ability test designed to measure the following branches of the emotional intelligence Ability Model of Mayer and Salovey:
- Identifying Emotions-recognizing how you and those around you are feeling.
- Using emotions-generating emotion, and then reason with this emotion.
- Understanding Emotions-understanding complex emotions and emotional ‘chains’ how emotions transform from one stage to another.
- Managing Emotions-managing emotions in you and in others.
Before we go into more detail, it must be explained what factors these ‘Four branches of mental ability’ consist of:
- Emotional identification, perception and expression
- The ability to perceive and identify emotions through facial expression, tone of voice and body language.
- The capacity for self-awareness – being aware of your feelings as they occur.
- The capacity for emotional literacy – being able to label specific feelings in yourself and others: being able to discuss emotions and communicate clearly and directly.
- Emotional facilitation of thought
- The ability to incorporate feelings into analysis, reasoning, problem solving and decision-making.
- The potential of your feelings to guide you to prioritize your thoughts.
- Emotional understanding
- The ability to solve emotional problem.
- The ability to identify and understand the relationship between emotions, thoughts and behaviour, such as how thoughts can effect emotions or how emotions can affect thoughts, and how your emotions can influence your behaviour and that of others.
- The ability to understand the role of emotions in the survival of the species.
- Emotional management
- The ability to take responsibility for your own emotions and happiness.
- The ability to transform negative emotions into positive learning and growing opportunities.
- The ability to help others identify and benefit from their emotions.
what is Emotional Quotient?
Everyone is born with a certain potential for emotional sensitivity, emotional memory, emotional processing and emotional learning ability. It is these four inborn components, which form core of one’s emotional intelligence.
This innate intelligence can either be developed or damaged by life experiences, particularly by the emotional lessons taught by parents, teachers, caregivers and family during childhood and adolescence. The impact of these lessons results in what we refer to as one’s level of Emotional Quotient (EQ). in other words, EQ represents a relative measure of the healthy or unhealthy development of the innate emotional intelligence in a person.
It is possible for a child with a high EI to develop a low EQ later in life because of damaging experiences. Conversely, it is also possible for a child with low EI to develop a moderately high EQ because of healthy emotional modeling and nurture. It is much easier to damage the development of a child with high EI, than to develop the EQ of a low EI child. This follows the principle that it is generally easier to destroy than create.
Experts say that an individual with a high EQ excels at four interrelated skills. These include the ability to persist and stay motivated in the face of frustration, control impulses and emotions as well as the ability to empathies with others.
‘EQ really is old wine in a new bottle. It’s about self-awareness and empathy, and those are skills any leader needs in building a successful organisation.’
The need for managerial EQ, in fact, has only intensified as structural changes have swept through the workplace. In the past, a boss could probably ignore the emotional lives of his employees-workers were in effect told to leave their emotions at home, and most complied. Not anymore. As organizations opt for a more team-based working environment, they ask employees for commitment and passion-to bring both their minds and hearts to the job. Therefore, they have to accept people binging to work, their emotions as well.
You cannot ignore emotions-not if you want your workers to be passionate about their jobs.
EQ is something every boss can use to get the troops working hard, smart and with commitment, so how high is your EQ? Although EQ-testing instruments have been flooding the marketplace, no formal measured have been scientifically validated.
To gauge EQ, experts advise us to ask ourselves these fundamental questions.
- Do you feel in control of your emotions?
- Do you lose your temper easily?
- Do you often say ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’?
- Are you puzzled by people’s reactions towards you?
- Are you taken by surprise a lot?
- Do you feel misunderstood?
More generally, do emotions present a mystery to you? The more your emotions are integrated into daily life, the higher your EQ is likely to be. But whether you score high or low, the good news is that we all can raise our EQ
What are the steps for Raising your EQ?
The initial requirement in raising your EQ is the desire to change. Step two is learning to reflect. You won’t have high EQ until you learn to reflect on what’s going on inside. And if you don’t know what’s going on inside you emotionally, you cannot know what’s going on inside others.
But don’t assume what you hear is immutable. You can change it. You can tell yourself something different-and that means you can change and regulate your moods. Therein lies the next step in an EQ-boosting regimen – emotional control. Emotional control is a key skill for successful leaders.
Look at this scenario as proof. You’ve just been turned down for a bank loan. Do employees take one look at you and say. ‘Uh-oh, it’s going to be a bad day around here.’? If they do, it detracts from your effectiveness as a leader. Of course, not all emotions should be hidden from your staff – that would be a regressive step. But when you can control which emotions you show, then you are that much polished a leader. Step four is practicing empathy. There’s no mystery about how to strengthen empathy. It boils down to practicing active listening skills, but it takes concentration. For instance, if an employee says, ‘That customer is picking on me,’ don’t just focus on the facts – delve into the underlying emotions. Is he sulking? Angry? Explore the subtext because there is likely to be one. This probably won’t be easy in the beginning unless such dialogue is part of your nature. So expect stumbles at first, and trust that employees will read your sincerity and respond to it, despite the rough edges.
Some of the emotions you pick up may strike you as foolish – but do not lose patience because the last step in raising EQ is to validate the emotions of others. That means acknowledging their emotions, even if they are different than what you’d feel in the same situation.
This, however, doesn’t mean you need to surrender to all emotional displays. Many executives make that mistake. If an employee bursts into tears during a performance appraisal, it’s all over for a lot of managers. Dismissing their breakdown as something trivial and advising them to forget about it is a big mistake. Be sensitive to others, but don’t let their emotions rule you.
Is that displaying low EQ? Not at all. Validating others’ emotions isn’t the same as catering those emotions.
Emotional intelligence, Emotional Enlightenment, and Business
Business has become, in the last half-century, the most powerful institution on the planet. The dominant institution in any society needs to take responsibility for the whole. Though we might be able to lead a productive life, even a ‘Successful’ life-if one defines success by the level of status. Education, or material worth-it is unlikely we will actually ever be happy unless we are very aware of our specific feelings. In fact, it is quite possible to be successful and miserable. It is easy to accept without question other people’s definition of success and happiness. But when we become more aware of our own true and unique feelings we are more likely to find individual happiness. This may be the essence of using our emotional intelligence.
Emotional Awareness, Sensitivity and Numbing
If we are emotionally sensitive we will feel things sooner than others will. If we have no emotional sensitivity, or if we have numbed ourselves from our feelings we won’t have any emotional awareness at all. Sensitive people living in abusive environments and insensitive cultures learn ways to numb themselves from their feelings because so many of their feelings are painful.
Managing Negative Emotions
It is important for us to be able to manage our negative emotions. The first step in that direction is identifying the feeling. Next, ask yourself if it is a healthy feeling. Having done that, then list your options and choose the one most likely to lead to your long-term happiness. After asking these first two questions, the next step is to ask what would help you feel better. Try and just focus on the answers, which are in your control.
Once you have found answers to these questions, ask yourself how want to feel. This helps you direct your thoughts in a positive direction.
The positive value of Negative feelings
Each negative feeling brings with it an opportunity for growth.
All of our so-called negative emotions have some positive value or the other. In the proper amount, each negative feeling helps us stay on course towards health and happiness. They do this by telling us when we are moving away from our goals. Our beliefs and our standards. If we had no fear, no regrets, no guilt, and no sadness, we would be little more than unfeeling, uncaring robots. But since we are human, we do have feelings, and the more human we are, the greater is our ability to experience feelings, positive as well as negative. Let’s see, then, what we can learn from a few common negative feelings.
In proper amounts, fear protects us from both psychological as well as physical danger. In excessive amounts, however, it paralyses us, or distorts our perception of reality. It is up to us to capture the positive value in fear without succumbing to its excesses. Your fear is excessive if it prevents you from experiencing the positive feelings in life, such as joy, intimacy, and fulfillment. Many of us have what can be called ‘irrational fears.’ They are irrational because they have little or no chance of actually occurring. They are still fears though and the mayer and salovey model of EI suggests that when our EI has been developing in a healthy way, our feelings guide us to what is important to think about. Even if something is ‘irrational’, it is still important to give it some thought to see why it is irrational.
We are almost always afraid of something. For our more ‘rational’ or realistic fears we use oru EI to help us generate and evaluate options, which will address our fears or other emotional concerns. Whenever we feel any negative feelings, it is useful to ask ourselves, ‘what am I afraid of?’. Specifically identifying the fear is the first step to addressing the feeling by either logic or action or both. Some of the ways various types of fear can actually help us are listed below. In each case, an extreme amount of the fear is unhealthy for us, but in moderation, our fears help us live a better life.
- The fear of losing control helps us take the steps necessary to regain a sense of control over our lives.
- The fear of failure helps us accomplish our goals and motivates us to prepare, organize, and persist till we have achieved them.
- The fear of being alone helps us reach compromises with others.
- The fear of the unknown helps us take reasonable precautions against needless risks.
- The fear of dependence helps us develop our own resources and become self-reliant.
In many ways, anger is an expression of fear.
Anger empowers us to control a threatening situation. We primarily use anger to protect our egos, not our physical safety. The emotionally smart person asks, ‘What is the threat that I perceive?’ typically, it is some psychological fear, which triggers our anger. That is why anger has been called a secondary emotion.
First, we are afraid, and then our anger flares up to protect us from impending loss. This fear occurs when one of our basic needs – the need for safety, for freedom, or for acceptance – is being threatened. We may also feel powerless or controlled. In these cases, anger empowers us to regain our sense of control over our lives.
Using a little emotional intelligence can help us understand why we feel threatened and deal with the threat in a much more productive way than just flying off the handle, something which often causes additional problems for us. Aristotle understood this when he said: ‘As with every emotion, anger has a lesson for us. It teaches us what we value, what we need, what we lack, what we believe, and what our insecurities are.One way to learn from anger is shown in the example below:
- Instead of saying, ‘She shouldn’t have done that. I can’t believe how irresponsible, insensitive, and inconsiderate she is!’, a more productive response would be, ‘Her actions have upset me a lot.’ Some of the other questions one needs to ask are:
- why does it bother me so much?
- What specifically am I feeling besides anger?
- What need do I have that is not being met?
- What principles do I feel have been violated?
- What response is in my best interest?
If we remain aware of our primary emotions when we are angry. We can decide what course of action to take in view of what our goals are. Simply being aware that we have multiple options and that it is in our control to pick the best one for us, helps soothe anger. This is where the balance between the upper brain and the lower brain comes in. high EQ suggests that we channel our anger in productive ways to help us achieve our goals rather than to sabotage them. Keeping our goals clearly in mind at all times helps us in accomplishing this.
More often than not disappointment is something that arises our of our expectations. It is based on how we think the world should be and how we think people should act. When things don’t go the way we expected them to, it might mean that our interpretation of reality was faulty. In other words, our expectations may have been unrealistic. A more intense form of disappointment is bitterness, which arises when we not only expect something, but also start to count on it or depend on it.
May people use the expression of disappointment as a way of laying a guilt trip on someone else. Consider the parent who tells the child,’ I am really disappointed in you.’ A smarter thing for the parent would be to let the feeling provide an opportunity to get to know the child better, as well as the circumstances surrounding the child’s life, and the way the child makes decisions based on his or her values, beliefs, and needs. The same idea applies to friends or romantic partners.
A more positive form of the same emotion is curiosity. Wondering about the causes for the disappointment opens the door to seeking knowledge, which helps us understand reality better. In other words, situation where we initially feel disappointed can lead to wisdom if we allow ourselves to learn from them.
When you feel guilty, you are at war with yourself. You feel as though you have violated some internal standard. This is a good time to