At first, to me & probably many others, emotional intelligence, was probably the normal or assumed ability to be able to identify and chose the most probable or the best emotional partner you could lay your heart on (read hand). But I was wrong.
Emotional intelligence is more about the ability to identify, asses and control the emotions of oneself, of others and of groups. This means it’s not always about others in relation to what I feel. EI goes across the board, in all sectors, any that you can think of. EI is important everywhere. We take a deeper look into emotional Intelligence, what does it really entail?
This is the ability to detect & decipher motions on expressions, pictures, voices, artwork, designs, creative works & most important of all oneself. Creation made it possible for emotions to be reflected in everything we do. Our face is the most evident of displays, our motivation, the way we talk, and the way we perform our duties. Here we start with self awareness which is the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using instinct to guide decisions. In the organization, EI cannot be over emphasized. We need to know the plane we are functioning on in relation to our emotions. This will ensure a stable relationship within the organization. For instance if somebody is low, they will take necessary action to motivate themselves & bring back their energy to the normal level. If they are the high tempered kind, any situation that will lead them to the edge will be avoided. This reduces conflict in an organization. On the other hand, individuals who can detect the various emotional orientations of the people around them will be able to relate with them in a more affable way than others. Colleagues will be able to tell when one of their own is not okay & work to make things right. Leadership Hierarchies also highly rely on emotional intelligence to evaluate the morale & general orientation of their team players. In marketing, a sales person will identify the status of a client before approaching them with a deal, & so are customers before they start bargaining for a product they have identified for purchase.
This is the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities like thinking, problem solving etc. In this level of emotional intelligence, you are able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances. Individually it is easy. We all know when we are highly motivated or inspired to do something. It’s at this moment that we are very productive. Anybody can observe their emotional trend to try and utilize them to achieve set goals & endeavors. On the other hand, the emotions in the people around us can be utilized for a worthy cause. In decision making for example, good resolutions will best come up when your team is very jovial. Ideas come up at this point & generally an organization is bound to be more productive in this instance. If it is not a ‘good time’ then this may wait until the people are in a ‘good mood’. Marketers, real estate agents, including hawkers have mastered this particular aspect to make sure they put & polish your emotions before they make that very vital financial proposal.
Comprehending emotions in the various non verbal cues in the body language and being able to appreciate complicated relationships, among emotions & how they evolve is also an important aspect of emotional intelligence. As mentioned earlier, emotions are displayed in various forms. As life progresses, people are perfecting the art of vocal emotional deception. It’s an ordinary thing to lie about how we feel about things or situations. But one thing that is for sure is that there is a way the body behaves in relation to what its spiritual form is commanding it to perform. These are the non verbal cues that we are familiar with. However, recognizing non verbal cues is not as a big deal as understanding them. This is where intelligence falls into play. It is important to understand them in order to blend them in the various day to day experiences. Many a time we try to communicate to people but our message doesn’t come across right. Part we are to blame since we haven’t taken time to identify, understand & interpret the emotions that are being displayed by an individual. The recipient also has a role to play, in understanding the non verbal cues accompanying the message. Remember this applies to everybody…
Last but not least, emotionally intelligent individuals regulate emotions, in themselves & others and will harness them and manage them to achieve intended goals. They will strive to eliminate the bad emotions and similarly to boost & maintain the good. We find that most of out motivation comes from within. Our performance is directly proportional to out motivation which is highly reliant on emotional intelligence. As individuals we need to manage our emotions in order to be able to relate to others healthily. As leaders we also need to be able to manage the emotions of the team players in our organizations to ensure a conducive working environment for enhanced productivity.
In summary, Emotional Intelligence affects our performance at work, helping us navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in our various careers. It has become of equal importance as other technical abilities. It also affects our physical & mental health, whereby those who are able to manage themselves are free of many stress related health issues. Stress management is also a beneficial aspect of Emotional Intelligence. Uncontrolled stress impacts our mental health, making us vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If we are unable to understand and manage our emotions, we’ll be prone to mood swings, whereby an inability to form strong relationships can leave us feeling lonely and isolated thus affecting a lot in our day to day lifestyle. Most interesting & obvious of all, EI affects our relationships. By identifying with our emotions and their control, we’re better placed in terms of expressing our feelings and understanding how others are feeling. This promotes effective communication and fashions stronger relationships, both at work and in our personal life.
This article was published in the Defence Forces Technical College Magazine issue of 2012.