We probably all know people, either at work or in our personal lives, who are really good listeners. No matter what kind of situation we’re in, they always seem to know just what to say - and how to say it - so that we’re not offended or upset.
They’re caring and considerate, and even if we don’t find a solution to our problem, we usually leave feeling more hopeful and optimistic.
We probably also know people who are masters at managing their emotions. They don’t get angry in stressful situations. Instead, they have the ability to look at a problem and calmly find a solution.
They’re excellent decision makers, and they know when to trust their intuition. Regardless of their strengths, however, they’re usually willing to look at themselves honestly. They take criticism well, and they know when to use it to improve their performance.
As more and more people accept that emotional intelligence is just as important to professional success as technical ability, organizations are increasingly using Emotional Intelligence when they hire and promote. So, what exactly is emotional intelligence, and what can you do to improve yours?
We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact - especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where emotional intelligence becomes important.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you.
Emotional intelligence also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.
People with high emotional intelligence are usually successful in most things they do. Why? Because they’re the ones that others want on their team. When people with high EI send an email, it gets answered. When they need help, they get it. Because they make others feel good, they go through life much more easily than people who are easily angered or upset.
Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:
** Self-Awareness: understanding your emotions, hence never let feelings rule you.This makes you confident – because you trust your intuition and can’t let emotions get out of control.
You are also willing to take an honest look at yourself, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and you will work on those areas so they can perform better.Self-awareness is believed to be the most important part of emotional intelligence.
** Self-Regulation: the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions.
They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity, and the ability to say no.
** Motivation: willingness to defer immediate results for long-term success. They’re highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.
** Empathy: This is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you.
People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.
** Social Skills: It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine.
They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships. As you’ve probably determined, emotional intelligence can be a key to success in your life – especially in your career.
The ability to manage people and relationships is very important in all leaders, so developing and using your emotional intelligence can be a good way to show others the leader inside of you.
Although “regular” intelligence is important to success in life, emotional intelligence is key to relating well to others and achieving your goals.
Many people believe that emotional intelligence is at least as important as regular intelligence, and many companies now use EI testing to hire new staff.
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.