A practical combination of interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence is called emotional intelligence. The important model on which this article is based was defined by Daniel Goleman in his great book emotional intelligence.
The purpose here is to review the topic in simplified summary form that can be used by parents and teachers. Let us consider emotional intelligence or EI by giving answers to six questions:
question #1 is why is emotional intelligence émotionnelle intelligence important? The powerful answer is that a person’s emotional intelligence or EI is often the most important factor in determining success or failure in a career path. Putting aside downsizing in a weakening economy, more employees are fired or fail to gain promotions because they have failed to develop their EI than for any other reasons. Parents and teachers who help youngsters develop their EI make a wonderful contribution to the future success of the youngsters.
Question #2 is what is emotional intelligence? It is a person’s ability to deal with his or her own emotions and the emotions of others in a constructive manner, a manner that promotes teamwork and productivity rather than conflict. Perhaps, most importantly, it is an ability that can be taught and ‘grown’ just like the other intelligences that we shall review in future articles.
Question #3 is how can you recognize emotional intelligence? The most direct way to answer this is to describe what you will see if a person is exhibiting a high level of the five basic components of ei. The person will show these skills:
1. Self-awareness – the person recognizes his or her emotions and the causes of same. In effect, he or she is an observer of self who can then make clearer or more informed decisions about personal action.
2. Self-regulation – the person, armed with self-awareness, controls his or her actions carefully rather than just reacting to a situation solely on the basis of impulse generated by an emotion-generating event. (This is not a matter of denying or hiding emotions but rather of not being ruled by emotions.)
3. Self-motivation – when something goes wrong, the high EI person does not ask “what is wrong with me or us?” He or she asks “what can I (or we) fix?”
4. Empathy – the person exhibits interest and an ability in recognizing the feelings of others. Empathy gives one the ability to “walk in the other person’s shoes.”
5. Effective relationships – using the previously listed four skills, the person communicates with others in a way that addresses their as well as his or her needs. The emphasis is on solving problems together, not unnecessary confrontation. The high EI person communicates with a constructive goal in mind.
Of course, the opposite of high EI is not difficult to recognize. If you are exposed to a co-worker who is highly emotional, quick to act on his or her emotions and has little or no sensitivity to the feelings of others; that co-worker’s communications often tend to hurt or antagonize others. As more and more companies perceive their dependence on good teaming among employees and on earning the goodwill of customers who will not tolerate rudeness, these companies are both seeking workers with high EI and implementing training to improve the emotional intelligence skills of existing employees.