Emotional Intelligence ……just a fad?

The term Emotional Intelligence has been around since the mid 90’s when Daniel Goleman published his popular book, “Emotional Intelligence”. The concept is not new. Scholars have been studying this idea for a good part of the 20th Century, with some historical evidence going back even further. Since the latter part of the last century the evolution of research around emotional intelligence has been linked to empirical studies in the physiological, neurological and the biological nature of emotional reactions. This has increased the acceptance of the realm and importance of emotions in a business world that, historically, has had a preference for only hard data.

This undoubtedly has caused shock waves, and has challenged the assumption that if you were smart you would automatically be successful. Through decades of research it has now become apparent that emotional intelligence is the fundamental factor that sets high achievers apart from the rest of the group.

What is it?

Emotional Intelligence is the intangible essence that we all possess in varying degrees. It has an impact on every aspect of our lives, including how we manage our behaviour, communicate and interact within our groups both socially and professionally, negotiate social situations, handle stress and make decisions.

Emotional Intelligence has at its core two major competencies, which in turn are underpinned by skill sets of awareness and management.

Personal Competence

  • Self-Awareness – This is the ability of the individual to recognise their own emotions and how they affect their thoughts and behaviour.
  • Self-Management – This in turn makes use of self-awareness to manage emotionin healthy ways to positively direct behaviour. Social Competence
  • Social Awareness - This is the ability to externalise theself - awareness skill and gain an understanding of other people’s moods, behaviours and motives.
  • Relationship Management – Here we combine all our awareness and management skills in order to enhance interactions.

 

Why is it so important?

The smartest people are not necessarily the most successful or fulfilled. It is with emotional intelligence that we are able to create a foundation of crucial skills and utilising these skills we are able to clarify and enhance our:

  • Performance at work.
  • Physical and mental health.
  • Relationships, social and professional.

Emotional intelligence is a strong predictor of performance in the workplace and a crucial skill for leadership and personal excellence.

Emotional Intelligence & Leadership

This has been and continues to be an important area of research. Studies have shown that positive attributes of a good leader are optimism, self-actualisation, empathy, problem solving, assertiveness, stress management and adaptability. All these qualities are essential elements of emotional intelligence.

Can I learn it?

The good news is that in contrast to IQ, a person’s emotional intelligence can be greatly increased. Emotional intelligence is learned and is learnable. “Plasticity” is the term neurologist use to describe the brain’s ability to change. This is good news. Strategies can be learned to increase a person’s emotional intelligence.

Contrary to some popular misconceptions, the rational or so called ‘intellectual’ part of the brain plays a crucial role in emotional intelligence. Un-practised, our bodies are made in such a way that we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Through the development of our awareness and the practise of different techniques we are able to create the space for our rational brain to have input before the emotional reaction. This then allows a person to maintain control and balance in their reactions to challenges encountered either within their work or social environments.

Can it be measured?

Emotional intelligence, whilst not tangible, can be measured. There are reliable and valid instruments, like EQ-I 2.0, that have been developed that assess a person’s emotional intelligence. The results can be used for individual development, leadership and team development. Whilst the assessment process is interesting, what is beneficial is the use of this diagnostic framework to identify and support the ongoing growth of a person’s emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence refers to being intelligent about our emotional lives. This in effect means being more self-aware, being better equipped to handle disturbing emotions and in turn having a greater sensitivity to the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence is a crucial factor that contributes to a person’s success in all areas of their lives. It is a skill that is required for successful and productive interaction with others, to have the ability to adapt to change and to solve problems, as well as to efficiently cope with daily demands. It is little wonder in today’s environment of ever increasing pressure there is growing awareness of the huge benefits emotional intelligence can bring to our everyday lives.

Good Presence can offer a range of options to support the development of EQ. We are accredited in a range of diagnostics that can measure it and these can be used to develop leadership and team programs to suit the needs of your business.