To success in life there is more than simply being “clever”. Besides of intellectual intelligence, a new term was created at the end of the 20th century by two researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – and popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name: Emotional intelligence (IE).
The concept of “Emotional Intelligence” may seem surprising because it mixes two concepts that are usually used to be opposed. On one side there is the word “intelligence” which designates the capacity of reasoning and analyzing and, on the other side, the word “emotion” which refers to the primary reactions that are difficult to control in certain situations.
Often the reasoning ability is reduced during emotional situations.
So how can the notion of “emotional intelligence” combine two terms that at first sight seem antithetical? What is such a notion?
According to Salovey and Mayer, emotional intelligence is a form of intelligence that involves the ability to control one’s feelings and emotions and those of others, to distinguish between them and to use that information to guide one’s thoughts and actions.
Emotional intelligence is our ability to learn various practical skills that are based on five components: self-awareness, self-motivation, self-control of emotions, empathy and harmonization mastery of human relationships.
Self-awareness is essential to intuition; it’s a faculty that psychotherapy seeks to strengthen. In its most perfect way, the self-observation would be the observation by a second “me” neutral and attentive, which would have a slight distancing from experience. According to John Mayer, one of the fathers of the theory of Emotional Intelligence: Self Awareness Can Take the form of Attention “Objective” to his inner states “. Self-awareness exerts an effect on hostile feelings; understanding what one feels (when perceived by the cortex) expands the possible reactions, we can decide whether or not to give free rein or to free ourselves from it. It is therefore the foundation of the second form of emotional intelligence: the ability to get rid quickly from ones negative feelings.
According to Mayer, individuals fall into three categories:
To conclude, Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand personal moods, emotions and inner drives, and their effect on others. Self-awareness indicators include self-assurance, realistic self-assessment, and a self-derailing sense of humor. Self-awareness depends on the ability to monitor one’s own emotional state and to correctly identify and name one’s emotions.
Motivation is what pushes us to achieve our goals, to feel more fulfilled and to improve our overall quality of life. The Self-motivation is an internal engine that goes beyond money and status, both of which are external rewards: a vision of what is important in life, the pleasure of accomplishing a task, the curiosity to learn, a “flow “that comes from immersion in an activity. A tendency to pursue goals with energy and persistence. Indicators include a strong desire for accomplishment, optimism with failures and organizational commitment.
C.R Synder, psychologist did a study about the power of positive thinking with students of equivalent intellectual abilities. Confident students set themselves higher goals and know how to work hard to achieve them. Their confidence in the future makes possible to distinguish them. They have common personality traits: they know to self-motivate, they are confident that they can achieve their goals and if necessary, they are flexible to discover other ways to achieve or change; they know how to divide tasks in others easily attainable. They are therefore less anxious and less subject to daily disturbances.
Negative mindset hinders thinking; mental resources monopolized are no longer available for processing other information. In contrast, positive mindset and laughter increase the ability to think flexibly, facilitates the solutionof problems, whether theoretical or interpersonal, and entrepreneurship. Optimism has a great power of motivation: Optimism, provided it remains realistic is paying off as confidence in the future. It allows to consider that a failure is always due to something editable to enable success later. Pessimism attributes it to an irremediable personal disability. These two points of view have repercussions on the behavior. These two attitudes are underpinned by another term: self-efficacy, the belief that one can master the course of one’s life and that one is able to raise the challenges. It is the combination of reasonable talent and tenacity that is the key to success.
Fundamental to self-motivation is understanding what motivates you to do things.
Daniel Goleman, the author of several seminal books on Emotional Intelligence, identified four elements that makes up motivation:
- Personal drive to achieve, the desire to improve or to meet certain standards;
- Commitment to personal or organizational goals;
- Initiative, which he defined as ‘readiness to act on opportunities’; and
- Optimism, the ability to keep going and pursue goals in the face of setbacks.
Understanding and developing self-motivation can help to take control of many other aspects of your life.
Self-control of emotions
The self-control of emotions is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the tendency to suspend judgment and thinking before acting. Indicators include reliability and integrity, as well as acceptance of ambiguity and openness to change.
Feelings play an incessant role in our decisions, the violence of feelings as their misunderstanding can damage the decisive choices of our lives. Formal logic alone can not base decisions; there are areas where the reason is blind and where we must “feel things”.
When emotions like anger, melancholy and anxiety are uncontrolled and persistent they become pathological: depression, anguish, fury, agitation, maniac… in these cases, medication and psychotherapy are needed. If they are weakened, they create boredom, distance and demotivation.
If suffering can have a constructive contribution to the spiritual life, it is the relationship between positive and negative emotions that determines well-being. As there is a constant murmur of thoughts in the mind, there is a constant buzz emotions that, if they persist, reflect the general feeling of “well-being” or “malaise”. The management of emotions is an ongoing task.
Emotions block or intensify our abilities to learn, think, plan, solve problems.
The ability to resist impulses is a fundamental psychological attitude, demonstrated by a study by psychologist Walter Mischel. Altruism and empathy is to be found in the ability to control oneself.
Empathy is the ability to understand the emotional structure of others. Ability to treat people based on their emotional responses the indicators include expertise in building and maintaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity and customer service. Empathy concerns the interest and involvement in the emotions of others, the ability to feel what they feel.
It is based on self-awareness: the more we are sensitive to our emotions, the more we can decipher those of others. Living without empathy, the inability to feel the pain of others, leads to immoral acts. . Impulses are feelings translated into actions, anyone who does not know how to control his emotions suffers from a moral deficiency.
In human relations, benevolence and affection are rooted in harmony with others and the ability to empathize. Robert Rosenthal, a Harvard psychologist, imagined the PONS (Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivy), a test to assess empathy. The ability to decipher feelings from non-verbal cues helps to better adapt emotions to the lived situation, to be better loved by others, to be more open and sensitive. Empathy is an asset in life.
Since words are the expression of rational thought, nonverbal signals are those of emotions. In fact, 90 percent of emotional messages are nonverbal.
Harmonization mastery of human relationships
The ability to manage relationships and build networks, as well as an ability to find common ground and build relationships. Social skills indicators include effectiveness in driving change, persuasiveness, creation of expertise, and team leadership.
The degree of emotional coordination between two people escapes consciousness and is reflected in gestures and expressions. Synchrony seems to facilitate the communication of mood. During an interaction, the mood transfer goes from the most expressive individual to the most liability. Mood communication is the essence of a relationship. The effectiveness of reports is partly due to the address with which this emotional synchrony is established. The difficulty in capturing or transmitting emotions frequently creates emotional problems.
Emotional Intelligence and its potential of use for management
Emotional intelligence helps organizations in identifying transformational leaders, creating more effective work teams, improving organizational culture and enhancing employee acceptance changes.
Howard Gardner and Thomas Hatch decline four essentials skills which are the components of the emotional intelligence that every leader must have:
- The ability to organize groups: To Know how to coordinate the efforts of a network of individuals;
- The ability to negotiate solutions: Ability to mediate, know how to prevent or resolve conflicts;
- The ability to establish personal relationships: the ability to empathize and communicate appropriately;
- The capacity of social analysis: to know how to perceive the feelings, motivations and concerns of others.
The profitability of emotional intelligence is a relatively new idea in the business world. The lack of this form of intelligence in the company can end up by compromising its existence.
The destructive effects of bad morale, intimidation of employees, arrogance of their leaders or any other combination of negative emotional factors may go unnoticed but it is possible to measure them by concrete signs: decreased of productivity, growing difficulties to achieve goals, repetition of mistakes, bad atmosphere of work, a lack of memory and attention, difficulties in learning or decision-making…
The skills to the emotional intelligence of employees and managers to know:
Emotional intelligence is measured by the emotional quotient (EQ) and can be defined by:
- Understanding one’s emotions
- Control of one’s emotions and impulses
- Understanding others’ emotions and how to react to them
- Inspiration and influence on others
- The development of emotions and the management of conflicts.
Can we increase it?
Emotional intelligence can be developed and trained. It can be developed over time and can be improved through training or therapy.
Emotional skills are not innate talents, but rather learned abilities that need to be developed and perfected to achieve exceptional performance.
The role of emotions is to point out changes – real or imagined – in the relationships between an individual and his / her environment in order to provide an effective response and allow for better adaptation.
As a conclusion, we all know what an IQ is, and that most of us fall within the average range, we use names like smart, intelligent, dumb, idiot and stupid when talking about a person’s level of intelligence. What most people don’t know is that we also possess an EQ or EI which is our level of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is typical to measure in numbers because is that thing inside us that recognizes emotions in ourselves and others, then guides us to respond. Understanding emotions may seem unimportant or trivial but in fact it is the opposite. It’s widely believed by experts that a person’s level of emotional intelligence may be a better predictor of success and overall happiness than their IQ.
Having a high level of emotional intelligence means that you can accurately express your feelings and take responsibility for them. People often say things like “you hurt my feelings and you shouldn’t have” which puts blame on the other person for the way you feel. A person with high EI realizes belongs to him and responds with statements such as “I was hurt by that”. Being emotionally intelligent means that you can identify and manage not only your own emotions but the emotions of others too, it means you have awareness of your own feelings and are able to balance emotion and reason, you can recognize feelings and emotion in others and show empathy and compassion which is a crucial part of all relationships both personal and business. For example, a good leader has the ability to understand what motivates others and build on that motivation.
There are a lot of signs that show that a person is emotionally intelligent:
- Better physical health.
- Positive outlook.
- Fulfilling relationships.
- Can read non-verbal communication: able to look at someone and know by the look on their face, the way they hold their arms, the posture… what their mood is.
- Interest on other people’s feelings and thoughts: want to know and understand others.
- Emotionally resilient: bad things happen in life but you know you are strong enough to preserve until better times come.
- Know the areas I your life where you need improvement: always learning and growing.
- Aware of your own feelings: know how you are feeling and why and also how to deal with it.
- Avoid negative self-talk.
- Pursue success: dreams and strategies to make them realities.
By Jihane Guedira, 2017-2018 year group of M2 IESCI at the University of Angers
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