‘Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy’
Aristotle – The Nicomachean Ethics
Ancient Egyptians believed the heart was the center of intelligence and emotion. They also thought so little of the brain that during mummification, they removed the brain entirely from bodies. Little did they know how powerful our brains are and how by harnessing its power we can achieve so much more.
I can remember as a child, several decades ago, how emotions impacted for me in so many different areas. Memories of parents arguing, anxiety at the thought of exams, the exams, the dentist, the first interview, girls, fights (not something I readily looked for) and so on.
Through our words and our actions do we empower others or hold them back?
We experience and witness emotion in so many different areas and the impact can be extreme. Does it need to be that way? No.
The concept of Emotional Intelligence is relatively new coming more onto the landscape in the early 90’s with research by Mayer and Salovey and others.
For me, my Emotional Intelligence journey commenced with my introduction to Daniel Goleman’s book, ‘Emotional Intelligence’ published in 1998. One of the sections at the beginning of the book describes ‘the different way of being smart’.
‘Emotional Intelligence’ refers to the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships. Goleman’s adaptation includes five basic emotional and social competencies:
- Self awareness: Knowing what we are feeling in the moment, and using those preferences to guide our decision making; having a realistic assessment of our own abilities and a well grounded sense of self-confidence
- Self Regulation: Handling our emotions so that they facilitate rather than interfere with the task at hand; being conscientious and delaying gratification to pursue goals; recovering well from emotional distress
- Motivation: Using our deepest preferences to move and guide us towards our goals, to help us take initiative and strive to improve, and to persevere in the face of setbacks and frustrations
- Empathy: Sensing what people are feeling, being able to take their perspective, and cultivating rapport and attunement with a broad diversity of people
- Social skills: Handling emotions in relationships well and accurately reading social situations and networks; interacting smoothly; using these skills to persuade and lead, negotiate and settle disputes, for cooperation and teamwork.
The good news, Emotional Intelligence can be developed. Take each of these competencies and ask yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the worse and 10 is the best, where am I? In our next blog let’s look at how we can develop our Emotional Intelligence.