Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, express, understand and regulate emotions.

Dr. Goleman who popularized this concept described emotional intelligence as a person’s ability to manage his feelings so that those feelings are expressed appropriately and effectively.

This is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. This is essential in collaborating with others, managing stress, delivering feedback, mentoring and coaching others or teams. Most experts will say that Emotional Intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

Emotional intelligence is typically broken down into four core competencies:
1. Self-awareness
2. Self-management
3. Social awareness
4. Relationship management

Self-Awareness: This describes your ability to not only understand your strengths and weaknesses, but to recognize your emotions and the impact they have on you and any one you are interacting with. Like the popular saying goes, you can’t give what you don’t have. So it is important to first know yourself and bring out the best in yourself before you bring out the best in others.

Self-Management: This describes your ability to manage your emotions, particularly in stressful situations, and maintain a positive outlook despite setbacks. This is the reactive response checker. I like the analogy of a soda or water bottle when it is shaken. If you are a coke, you will explode out (low self-management emotional intelligence) whereas if you are water, you will stay calm (high self-management emotional intelligence). Though soda is sweet, great leaders prefer to be water in responding to any stress. They always choose to respond to the stimulus rather than react to it.

Social Awareness: This describes your ability to recognize the emotions of the person(s) you are interacting with and the dynamics in play. What are they feeling? How does that impact the perception of my message or communication?

Relationship Management: This describes your ability to influence, coach, and mentor others, and resolve conflict effectively. This is where it becomes important to be comfortable having necessary tough conversations with any individual involved for the good of a relationship.
reference: Harvard Business School online: https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/emotional-intelligence-in-leadership

Being emotionally intelligent also helps us to differentiate between responding and reacting in all situations. Responding refers to taking time to understand what’s happening around you, processing it and doing something about it in a positive and wise manner. Reacting is more rash, mindless and without much thought.

Think about how you have always responded to everything. Am I usually a coke or water?

Are you always responding or always reacting?

What can I do to always be like water when I react?

Do I always have a pulse on the emotions around any interaction?

How can I improve my emotional intelligence today?