The first step to understanding what something means is to define it. What Is Emotional Intelligence? “Its meaning and measurement have become confusing and ambiguous.” (Whetten & Cameron, 2016) Due to the popularity of the term, it has now become difficult to define. According to the group of phycologists and credible authors of Sussex Publishers, “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” (Sussex Publishers, 2018).
Emotional Intelligence includes three sub skillsets: “emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions.” (Sussex Publishers, 2018) This is more commonly known as the ability to calm others down in difficult situations, to keep yourself calm in stressful situations, and can recognize your potential loss of personal control. There is so much more to this subcategory of Self-Awareness than just this ability to react efficiently in difficult situations. A high Emotional Intelligence can help in an individual’s journey to success. The renowned psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman introduced the world to the “nascent concept of emotional intelligence.” (Bariso, 2018) The idea ‘that an ability to understand and manage emotions greatly increases our chances of success.” (Goleman, 1995)
How does emotional intelligence look like in everyday life? (Bariso, 2018) There are four major elements to EI, Self-awareness, Self-Regulation, Empathy, and Motivation. Self-awareness “includes being aware of the effect of your own actions, moods, and emotions of other people.” (Manktelow & Swift, 2018). Goleman explains that individuals with a good sense of humor, confident in both themselves and their abilities, and are aware of how other people perceive them possess a keen self-awareness. (Bariso, 2018) (Goleman, 1995).
Persons skilled in self-regulation can adapt well to change quickly. Empathy covers one’s ability not only to recognize an individual’s emotional state but also how to respond appropriately. (Bariso, 2018) Lastly, Motivation. “Intrinsic motivation also plays a key role in emotional intelligence. People who are emotionally intelligent are motivated by things beyond mere external rewards like fame, money, recognition, and acclaim. Instead, they have a passion for fulfilling their own inner needs and goals. They seek things that lead to internal rewards, experience flow from being totally in tune with activity and pursue peak experiences. Those who are competent in this area tend to be action-oriented.” (Bariso, 2018) (Goleman, 1995)
Experiences can be a problem, a failure, a revelation, or a huge success. The most relevant personal experience was when the direct feedback from an individual that I held in high regard for my performance on a project. I was an Intern at a local business and had worked very hard to gain a specific privilege. I thought my reaction and performance during this privilege was up to standard. Come to find out in my After-Action Report, what I had thought was a job well done and deserving of praise received the opposite. Using very harsh words to describe my actions it was the hardest and most blunt feedback I have ever received in my life. To this day it remains the best feedback as well. Harsh, direct and accurate, the feedback helped me completely change my performance and quality of work and attitude. It was the biggest game changer in my mental position self-awareness as well as personal development. I realized there were two ways to react to this feedback; I could disregard it and say it was wrong and not my fault or take it to heart and change my ways. Not knowing this at the time but I maintained a robust Internal locus of control. In the situation itself, I was distraught, angry and discouraged. Due to poor self-awareness, it took almost two weeks for me to snap out of this hole.
How will I improve? After reviewing Emotional Intelligence, I need improvement in 3 areas. Self-awareness, Empathy of self and better train myself to adapt to change and Increase my self-regulation. “In professional settings, managers benefit by being able to build relationships and connections with employees, while workers can benefit from being able to develop a strong rapport with leaders and co-workers. Some important social skills include active listening, verbal communication skills, nonverbal communication skills, leadership, and persuasiveness” (Bariso, 2018). Not only will this change many characteristics of my personal life but also improve my abilities as a manager. Taking the great words of advice from the renowned professional Daniel Goleman, I will “make sure that my goal statements are fresh and energizing” (Goleman, 1995), this will better help my improvement and change in Emotional Intelligence. Three actions to help me improve my EI are the following. Assessing my Self-awareness in stressful situations and recognizing that loss of control. Continuously put myself in situations where I am not in control and am forced to adapt to the unforeseen changes. This will be done in a University club. I am always used to being in charge or control but being new to a Club puts you at the bottom of the food chain. Lastly, my roommate has been recommending to me that I read personal development books. From the likes of Daren Hardy or the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
In conclusion, for us to be effective, we as leaders must have a solid understanding of how our actions, emotions, and words can have a significant impact on the people around us. The more successful leader will relate to the individual on a basis outside of hierarchy, and directly on a more peer to peer level. We all should take the time to work on our self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and empathy skillsets. Understanding all the aspects of Emotional Intelligence will help us succeed personally, professionally and intellectually in the future.