John Mayer and Peter Salovey were the first to discuss the concept called “Emotional Intelligence.” (EI) in 1990.
They defined as it as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.
They believed that you could redirect and prioritise your thoughts with the help of your feelings and emotions. You would then be able to appreciate multiple perspectives and have better judgement.
This concept was later popularised by Daniel Goleman in his book called “Emotional Intelligence”. At that time, IQ was considered to be a marker to predict success. Goleman saw emotional intelligence as a vital factor and suddenly there was a new ingredient to achieving success.
He believed that there were four components to EI:
1.Self-Awareness: Knowing what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. Understanding the causes and effects of our own emotions and complex feelings; which is the basis for intuition and decision making.
2.Self-Management: It is the ability to be open to both pleasant and unpleasant feelings; handling our distressing emotions effectively so that they don’t get in the way of what we are doing. It also means learning to use positive emotions that keep us aligned with our actions and feeling involved and enthusiastic.
3.Empathy: Knowing what someone else is feeling. Being able to read other people’s emotions appropriately and effectively react to them.
4.Social Skills: Connecting our actions to other’s emotional reactions; knowing the effect our actions will have on them and how they might feel in response. Basically this means using the first three components to have good relationships.
These components are considered essential to a healthy, respectful relationship, whether it is between partners, friends, family members, or coworkers.
Why is EI important?
Those who are emotionally intelligent are said to have stable, satisfying and high quality relationships.While being sensitive to emotional signals from oneself and the environment, we could connect with others, boost our performance at work, improve our communication skills and become more resilient.
Here are some basic tips to help develop EI
- Be self-aware. Be alert to what you really feel and why.
- Communicate assertively, i.e. in a manner that is direct and at the same time respectful of others.
- Respond and not react. When a conflict arises try to focus on the solution and not the problem.
- Be a good listener so that you are able to give an appropriate response.
- Avoid complaining and dwelling in the past.
Take home message
It is now almost taken for granted that EI might be just as important to individual success as IQ. So stay motivated and aware!
~ Sujatha Kumar, Clinical Psychologist, Mind Your Fitness!