The Power of Emotional Intelligence
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 07-08-2021 05:00 AM
Synopsis: Harnessing emotional intelligence could completely transform your organization.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, manage and harness personal emotions and the emotions of others in private and social interactions. Emotional intelligence improves decision making, resolves conflict, builds stronger personal relationships, develops powerful leadership skills, and helps achieve personal and professional goals.
Emotional intelligence can often be the difference between success and failure. Stress, anger, fear or anxiety can derail a genius level IQ or tremendous personal talent if these emotions cannot be recognized and controlled. Additionally, talented people often fail personally and professionally if they cannot communicate effectively and develop strong interpersonal relationships.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed and there are concrete ways to improve this skill and put it into action.
To use emotional intelligence, you must first be aware of your emotions and how they affect you and your interpersonal relationships. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are very self-aware. They know their emotional strengths and weaknesses and therefore don’t allow their emotions to result in poor decisions.
Start by using self-reflection to understand emotional strengths and weaknesses. Analyze good decisions and poor ones as well. What was your state of mind when a successful decision was made? Maybe anger, fear, anxiety, or the need to please others factored into a poor decision?
Understanding how emotions affect decisions allows you to take control and make decisions to your benefit rather than your detriment. Recognition is an ongoing process. Analyzing emotions and how they play a role in life is a continuous learning experience. The longer we are aware of our emotions, the better we become at recognizing and understanding them.
Once you can recognize your emotions and how they affect your reactions, you can begin managing them and channeling them to create positive results.
The first step to managing emotions is to realize that they cannot be stopped. You will feel emotion whether you like it or not. However, while you do not have control over whether you feel emotion, you do have control over your reaction to emotion. How we respond to emotion makes all the difference.
Emotional intelligence takes patience. It’s easy to react to emotion quickly and without thought. Pausing and thinking about an answer to a question or reaction to a situation can prevent a poor decision and enable a decision that works to your benefit. A 20-second pause will give you the time to transition your brain from being out of control with emotion to being calm and analytical.
Part of patience is having self-control. For instance, when a carefully thought out plan is derailed by an event that is beyond your control, recognize that you have choices. You can dwell on your misfortune, act impulsively with anger or fear, or you can have the self-control to carefully plan your next move. Emotionally intelligent people focus on what they can control, not on what they can’t. The past cannot be controlled, but the future can.
Emotional intelligence allows you to understand that there will be disappointment and maybe anger in certain situations, but that you have control over your reaction and don’t need to let emotions control you.
Effective emotional management allows you to make decisions that align with your principles and personal values. Rash, emotionally driven decisions often cause people to break from their value-system. People who share their thoughts and feelings in a principled and consistent manner are looked upon as reliable and honest. While people who react with anger and fear display an inconsistent value system and are often seen as unreliable and untrustworthy.
Everyone has felt the powerful feeling of anger, but not everyone can channel that anger into a positive result. People with emotional intelligence use emotions like anger to motivate themselves. Psychologists call this goal-directed behavior - using emotion as motivation to achieve positive results. For instance, when angered by social injustice, a person with emotional intelligence might use the anger as inspiration to fight that injustice. Whereas another person might sulk and fall into a depression. One reaction works toward a positive goal and the other creates results that are only negative and self-destructive.
Social and Interpersonal Awareness
Recognizing Emotions in Others
People with emotional intelligence navigate complex social situations and develop powerful personal relationships with ease. They understand other people’s thoughts, feelings and motivations and they understand how their actions affect other people. They develop stronger deeper interpersonal relationships by seeing the world through their eyes. As a result, people are drawn to them. People want them on their team, and they are often cast into leadership roles.
It’s natural to judge and label others, but these thoughts are not helpful. Emotionally intelligent people connect with people by being empathetic. While some people are naturally empathetic, most need to work at it. Fortunately, there are specific skills you can develop to be become more empathetic.
People constantly display subconscious non-verbal cues in social and interpersonal communication. Empathetic people recognize and utilize this non-verbal communication. It’s a critical aspect of emotional intelligence. For instance, when people cross their arms and/or legs, purse their lips, or glare they are usually in a defensive position and not open to what is being presented to them.
When facial expressions soften, palms are opened, or the person is leaning forward then they are open and interested in what they are hearing.
Interpreting these cues will help you understand both the power dynamic and the collective group emotion in social situations. Recognizing subtle signals means you need to be focused and present by reducing distractions such as your phone and paying careful attention to emotional shifts.
Taking the time to truly listen is a trait shared by people with high levels of emotional intelligence. While it’s important to carefully consider your words before speaking, effective listening requires that all your attention is focused on other people’s words and how they say them. Encourage the speaker by maintaining natural eye contact, leaning forward, relaxing your face, and keeping your body posture open.
People with low levels of emotional intelligence spend all their time speaking and thinking about what they will say next in social situations; or they are too focused on emotions like anxiety or fear to listen. People with high levels of emotional intelligence gain valuable insight into the needs and emotions of individuals and groups by listening. It enables them to interact comfortably and effectively in any social situation.
Applying Emotional Intelligence
To be emotionally intelligent we need to be self-aware and recognize our emotions; we need to control them through management; and we need to recognize and harness emotions in others. However, for emotional intelligence to reach its full potential, we need to apply it in our personal and professional lives. There are many important areas where emotional intelligence can be applied to achieve positive results.
Benefiting from Criticism
People with emotional intelligence use criticism to their benefit. Using criticism constructively is one of the most difficult emotional intelligence skills to develop. It’s easy to react negatively to criticism. However, by carefully examining criticism, you can find ways to improve yourself.
Even when criticism is unfair, it provides a window into how others think. Remember you cannot control the negative emotions that criticism brings, but you can control your reaction to them. By focusing on benefiting from criticism, you can come away with personal improvement. Conversely, a negative reaction to criticism might harm an important relationship and rarely works to your benefit.
When you receive criticism, watch your body language and take a few seconds to collect your thoughts to avoid an emotional reaction. When criticism is general in nature, ask for specific guidance. You may gain insight from the answer which allows you to grow personally and professionally.
Emotional intelligence allows you to be more effective when delivering both positive and negative feedback. All human beings crave praise and acknowledgement. By honestly commending others for their positive attributes and successes, you can develop very powerful relationships. Praise is inspiring and the recipient will associate you with those positive feelings.
Empathic people realize that criticism is difficult to receive and can deliver it in a positive manner. When providing constructive feedback, make sure that it’s not negative and unhelpful. Helpful, constructive feedback can be used by the recipient, but negative feedback will cause the recipient to shut down to current and future feedback.
Additionally, an empathetic person frames criticism differently for each person. For instance, a co-worker with low self-confidence needs to hear more positive feedback before getting constructive criticism.
Apologize When You Are Wrong
Apologies can be powerful. Having the strength and courage to apologize when it is warranted demonstrates humility which will draw people toward you. It shows strength rather than weakness. It also shows you value the relationship more than your ego.
Forgiving others allows you to move on and not be held hostage by emotion. Harboring bad feelings only hurts you in the end. The person who offended you moves on, while you are stuck in the past. People with emotional intelligence don’t allow resentment to become a barrier. Forgiveness allows them to make the best possible decisions for the future and not dwell in the unhelpful and negative past.
Keep Your Word
By keeping commitments, agreements and promises, you develop a reputation of being reliable. This is a powerful force in interpersonal relationships. When people trust you, your own personal success becomes easier to attain.
Help Others Succeed
People with emotional intelligence are not afraid to help others succeed. One of the best ways to positively impact the emotions of others is to help them. Helping others helps yourself by developing stronger interpersonal relationships. When you take the time to help others succeed, you establish yourself as trustworthy. People will see you as a leader or a valuable teammate.
Watch for Manipulation
Emotional intelligence will help you be in tune with your emotions and understand when others are trying to use them against you. By having this control, you won’t allow others to manipulate you into making a decision that will harm you in the end.
Emotional intelligence is perhaps the most important skill that any employee can develop. It’s effect on Individual and organizational success can be remarkable.
By working every day to improve emotional intelligence, you will see profound growth in your personal and professional career.
Check out TrainingABC's new emotional intelligence course.