Emotional intelligence is on our minds this week as we’ve faced some challenges with loved ones and family members. PsychCentral says, “Intelligence, in a general sense, is the ability to learn new concepts and apply your knowledge to problems. Emotional Intelligence [commonly abbreviated either EI or EQ] is similar. It is the ability to learn about yourself and apply that wisdom to the world around you.”
EI or EQ was a term coined in the mid-1990s in a book by Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ. In Goleman’s model, EI has three levels: “brain circuitry, domains that emerge from those circuits’ activity, and competencies that depend on each EI domain.” The domains are knowing your emotions, managing your emotions, motivating yourself, recognizing emotions in others, and handling relationships. The domains themselves are made up of twelve competencies we will explore each briefly below.
12 EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE COMPENTENCIES
- Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to tune into your own emotions, to know what or how you are feeling and why and the impact those feelings have on what you are doing or trying to do.
- Emotional Self-Management (sometimes called Self-Discipline or Self-Regulation) is the ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses under control. This means you stay calm under pressure and recover quickly when you are upset.
- Empathy means you take the time to listen and understand others and how they are feeling and you connect with people in meaningful ways.
- Positive Outlook means you see the good in people, situations, and events and are on the lookout for ways to innovate and for opportunities.
- Achievement Orientation means you understand a standard of excellence and you strive to meet or exceed it, you seek and appreciate feedback in order to better yourself and your performance and you always want to find ways to do things better.
- Adaptability means you are agile in times of change and uncertainty. You find ways of dealing with challenges and can balance multiple things or situations simultaneously.
- Influence means support from others comes with ease to you, and you are engaged with others and can mobilize forces quickly to accomplish tasks.
- Teamwork literally means you work and play well with others. You actively participate, share responsibility and rewards, and contribute to the whole.
- Conflict Management is all about how well you deal with disagreements, can bring disputes into the open, and help people find solutions.
- Coach and Mentor means to foster relationships with others and give feedback and support so others can reach their long-term goals and meet or exceed expectations.
- Organizational Awareness is understanding the emotional state and dynamics of a group or organization; this competency can permit you to approach situations and people strategically.
- Inspirational Leadership is guiding others towards a vision and bringing out everyone’s best.
Goleman suggests we do honest assessments of ourselves, looking at our strengths and weaknesses in these areas so we can identify where we have room to grow. I’ll admit that conflict management hasn’t been my strongest skill during much of my life, especially when it comes to creating (through disagreeing or standing up for my viewpoint) or dealing with conflict in my family.
Others are better in that area but are weaker in one of the other competencies. For example, a couple of Christmases ago, a close friend and business associate decided to go on a two-week silent meditation retreat and was worried about becoming too emotionally self-aware. He was worried what he’d find when he was alone with his emotions and thoughts, he said before leaving. (Turns out, he admitted afterwards it was a positive life-changing experience that has done wonders with his relationships with others and with himself.)
We acknowledge that some people cannot afford to take two weeks away from work to go on a retreat or to go through months of therapy sessions to become more self-aware, but self-assessment of these competencies doesn’t have to cost a dime. Sitting quietly with yourself and focusing on what you feel as you breathe in and out and on where your thoughts go can give you some of the same self-awareness. Breathe through whatever comes up and accept it without judgment. Let go of the parts you don’t want and embrace the parts you do.
Having Emotional Intelligence is part of being a Whole Champion. Emotional Intelligence allows you to care for yourself and for others and for the planet and to focus on our three areas of responsibility: personal, social, and environmental. Emotional Intelligence causes us to want to be agents of change and helps us to be effective in that task.
If you’re reading this and saying, yes, I agree and I want to learn more to be as successful as I can be, then watch this Ramona Hacker TedX Talk where she offers some helpful tips to nurture and improve your Emotional Intelligence.