Understanding and developing emotional intelligence

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Anne Castle talks about the principles of emotional intelligence (otherwise known as ‘emotional quotient or ‘EQ’) and how you can develop EQ skills to help you at work.

Summary

  • Emotional intelligence is relevant to developing people, because the principles provide a way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential.
  • By developing our emotional intelligence we can become more productive and successful at what we do and help others to be more productive and successful too.
  • Emotional intelligence contains many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organisations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony.

Emotional intelligence is self-awareness of our own emotional state, our feelings essentially and other people’s. It also involves the capacity to use this knowledge to enhance our dealings and relationships with others. I believe that our ability to understand our own and others’ behaviour and the differences between us is absolutely critical to achieving more effective outcomes from our communication.

We will look at the work of Daniel Goleman in developing the concept of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence theory (emotional quotient (‘EQ’))

Emotional intelligence – or ‘EQ’ – is a relatively recent behavioural model, rising to prominence with Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book called Emotional Intelligence. The early emotional intelligence theory was originally developed during the 1970s and 1980s by the work and writings of psychologists Howard Gardner (Harvard), Peter Salovey (Yale) and John ‘Jack’ Mayer (New Hampshire). Emotional intelligence is increasingly relevant to organisational development and developing people, because the EQ principles provide a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills and potential.

Emotional intelligence is an important consideration in human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and selection, management development, customer service and more.

The EQ concept argues that there are wider areas of emotional intelligence that dictate and enable how successful we are. Success requires more than IQ, ignoring essential behavioural and character elements. We’ve all met people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially and interpersonally inept. We know that, despite possessing a high IQ rating, success does not automatically follow.

The two aspects of emotional intelligence

This is the essential premise of EQ: to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one’s own emotions, and those of other people. EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence, which are:

  • understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behaviour and all
  • understanding others and their feelings.

The five domains of emotional intelligence

Goleman identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as the following.

  1. Knowing your emotions/self-awareness.
  2. Managing your own emotions/self-regulation.
  3. Motivating yourself/self-motivation.
  4. Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions/social awareness.
  5. Managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others/social skills.

Emotional intelligence embraces and draws from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), transactional analysis and empathy.

By developing our emotional intelligence in these areas and the five EQ domains, we can become more productive and successful at what we do and help others to be more productive and successful too.

The process and outcomes of developing emotional intelligence also contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organisations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony.

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About Author

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Anne Castle has been a freelance trainer for the past 30 years in both the public and private sectors, covering all aspects of interpersonal skills, management development and personal development. For the past 20 years, she has run courses for support staff in schools and colleges for a variety of training providers and directly to the client.

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