Module Two: What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is a part of you that affects every aspect of your life. Understanding the root causes of your emotions and how to use them can help you to effectively identify who you are and how you interact with others.

With Emotional Intelligence being a fairly new branch of psychology, its definition can be found in various theories and models. We are presenting a definition influenced by a few theories and mainly popularized by Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book Emotional Intelligence.

Self-Management

In order to effectively achieve your overall career objectives or the objectives within a given task, you must use clearly defined methods to carry out those activities. This includes the setting of goals, decision making, planning, and scheduling. Once the tasks are completed, you must evaluate the success of these methods.

The following is a list of five key points to remember to help you master the art of self-management.

  • Be consistent. Part of managing oneself is the ability to be stable.
    The values you hold dear should always be transparent. Always changing can not only cause others to question your beliefs, but it can also cause you to become confused about what you truly believe.
  • Stick to the plan. If you are scheduled to complete a particular task, do it. Don’t just do it, but make sure it is done in a timely manner. It is easy to feel out of control when you disregard the plan you are to follow.
  • Be accountable. There are times when things don’t work out as you plan, but you have to be able to admit that and then use your flexibility to get things back on track. The ideal result is that you easily bounce back and complete the task, but even during those times when this is not the case, you are expected to adjust.
  • Educate yourself. We live in an ever-changing world and you want to be able to keep up with it. Don’t let change pass you by, embrace it. Be an avid reader. Talk and listen to mentors and peers. They may know something that could help you along your journey.
  • Stay physically fit. Many people don’t think of staying fit when they talk about self-management, but it is a very important part of being able to practice the four preceding points. Exercising your body is just as crucial to self-management as exercising your mind. A body that is not well-rested, nutritionally fed, or physically exercised can lead to emotional and physical illnesses.
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Self-Awareness

Being ‘aware’ of one’s self is the ability to accurately perceive one’s skills and knowledge, value and responsibilities. It is being confident in what you have to offer, whether it is personally or professionally.

Self-awareness is not only important for one’s self-esteem, but it is also the first step to the process of full acceptance or change. Without understanding why one thinks the way he thinks or why he acts the way he acts, he may never fully appreciate himself or see the importance of making changes to improve him, if necessary. Self-awareness gives power and a sense of peace or happiness. This newly found strength will more than likely carry over into your work life, how you perform your duties as well as how you interact with others.

The lack of self-awareness can cause you to not realize your worth in the company or even the quality of the work you perform. This can have an even more dramatic effect when you hold a leadership position. Not only will you have doubts about yourself, but the people you lead will also begin to question your competence, which could ultimately lead to a lack of leadership effectiveness.

Self-Regulation

Self-Regulation is another term for ‘self-control’, which is defined as the ability to control one’s emotions, desires, and behaviours in order to reach a positive outcome. Self-regulation is sometimes difficult because of the phenomenon that it is important to ‘express how you feel’. While this may be partially true, the art to finding the balance between expressing one’s feelings and avoiding unnecessary tension is self-regulation.

Self-Regulation is a direct reflection of the type of pressure one is experiencing. There are three types of pressure:

  1. Good Pressure: This type of pressure is the result of an aggressive yet non-critical and non-harmful atmosphere. One aspires to be like the people around them. This motivation leads to the acquisition of self-regulation.
  2. Bad Pressure: Bad pressure is when the atmosphere is critical and harmful. One has no motivation and loses self-regulation.
  3. No Pressure: When one is not experiencing any pressure, they tend to act based on emotion, since there is no one to compare themselves to.

Self-Motivation

Andrew Carnegie said it best with his quote “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” Self-motivation is an essential part of excelling in life. You must learn to motivate yourself because you cannot depend on others to do it for you. You have to know how to encourage yourself regardless of how bad the situation. There are several keys to building self-motivation.

  • Work towards a cause.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Make the conscious effort to not give up.
  • Don’t live in your past failures or successes.
  • Utilize positive thinking.

There are times when you may need the motivation to get motivated. Positive thinking may not be doing the trick. What should you do? Consider these suggestions:

  • Write down your plan for improvement.
  • Briefly think about your past successes.
  • Read books that promote self-motivation.

Empathy

Empathy is sharing in the feelings of others, whether joy or sadness is an admirable trait. In order for empathy to work, a person must first be able to recognize, classify, and understand their own feelings.

Empathy has been defined by others as:

  • Alvin Goldman: The ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and feelings.
  • Martin Hoffman: An effective response more appropriate to another’s the situation than one’s own
  • Carl Rogers: To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the “as if” condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth.

Empathy is most useful when one empathizing has experienced a variety of feelings. For example, the boss who was once passed over for a promotion generally finds it easier to identify with another person who is passed over for a promotion. Not only is this comforting for the person who is going through the situation, but it’s also good for empathizer because it strengthens their ability to positively react to negative situations.

It is not as simple as it sounds. The ideal situation would be for a person to express their issues and you empathize with them, but the fact is, people aren’t always as forthcoming with their problems, even though it is obvious that there is something wrong. Since this is the case, you may be forced to ask probing questions or read between the lines of what is said. You can also focus on non-verbal cues such as body language.