ENHANCING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

By Ranjit Singh Malhi, Ph.D. Introduction Recent behavioural research has shown that emotional intelligence is an important determinant of success in both our personal and professional lives. Emotionally intelligent managers are adept at making their emotions work for them. They are able to handle their emotions in ways that enhance their work productivity and quality of life around them. They use their emotions intelligently to guide their thinking and behaviour. Emotions are strong mental or instinctive feelings such as love, fear, hope, anger and sadness. On the other hand, there are numerous cases of smart managers with high IQ who behave stupidly in emotionally charged situations. The lack of emotional intelligence often results in their emotions working against them with unproductive outcomes. I once worked under a boss who often shouted abusive and vulgar words at his subordinates in public when overwhelmed with anger. He was also unappreciative and had poor interpersonal skills. Due to his low emotional intelligence, he was greatly disliked by most people in the organization. Fortunately, our level of emotional intelligence is not fixed at birth. It can be learnt and enhanced. One can become more emotionally intelligent by learning and practising the skills of emotional intelligence. What is Emotional Intelligence? The term “emotional intelligence” was coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990. It was then greatly popularized by Daniel Goleman in his bestseller, Emotional Intelligence. Peter Salovey and John Mayer defined emotional intelligence in terms of being able to monitor and regulate one’s own and others’ feelings, and to use feelings to guide thought and action.1 According to Goleman, 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.”2 Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to handle emotions in a way that enhances your productivity, personal power and quality of life around you. It involves making your emotions work for you. Origins of Emotional Intelligence It can be argued that emotional intelligence is not entirely a new concept. It has its roots in the concept of “social intelligence” which was first identified by E. L. Thorndike in 1920. Social intelligence is essentially the ability to understand others (what motivates them, how they work and how to work cooperatively with them) and to act wisely in human relations.3 Self-awareness, empathy and handling interpersonal relationships which make up the core of emotional intelligence are essentially dimensions of social intelligence.

and anticipating and meeting customers’ requirements. At the workplace. there is increasing evidence that IQ gets people hired.6 Major Domains of Emotional Intelligence Emotional intelligence consists essentially of five major domains:7 Self-awareness which is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. emotional competence is twice as important as purely cognitive abilities. Importance of Emotional Intelligence Latest research findings show that IQ takes second position to emotional intelligence in determining outstanding job performance. delaying gratification. persistence. but EQ gets them promoted. More careers have been damaged due to poor interpersonal relationships rather than a lack of technical knowhow. EQ also directly affects teamwork and productivity. in every field. and perhaps as low as 4%. initiative. and stifling impulses. assisting others in their personal development. and seeing oneself in a positive but realistic light. This domain is critical for developing effective leadership and interpersonal relationships.”5 Examples of emotional competencies are self-confidence. They were generally perceived as being poor communicators. feeling and reactions. It includes achievement drive. and inability to change and adapt during a transition. seeing the consequences of alternative choices. abusive. seeing the links between thoughts. emotional awareness. and taking responsibility for personal performance. empathic listening and assertiveness. Self-motivation which is primarily chanelling emotions in the service of a goal. recognizing one’s strengths and weaknesses. manipulative. A more accurate figure may be no higher than 10%. Handling relationships which encompasses managing emotions in others and social competence. Research shows that the careers of many managers were derailed due to poor interpersonal relationships. adapting oneself to change. Empathy which is essentially being sensitive to other people’s feelings and concerns besides respecting differences in how people feel about things. commitment and perseverance. selfmotivation. The highest estimate of how much difference IQ accounts for success at the workplace is about 25%. It includes being a good listener. It involves observing oneself and recognizing a feeling as it happens. overly critical and poor team players. It encompasses understanding others.4 Daniel Goleman sums up the importance of emotional intelligence as follows: “For star performance in all jobs. adaptability. failure to build and lead a team. It involves keeping one’s anger in check. empathy and initiative.The dimensions of emotional intelligence are also closely related to other concepts of psychological maturity. being assertive rather . Managing emotions which comprises handling emotions appropriately.

managing conflict constructively. Start the day with positive thoughts. Never belittle yourself. Dare to fail. Establish specific. . Don’t worry about things beyond your control. Accept compliments with a “thank you” and a smile. Take deep breaths or a time-out to stay on top of your behavioural actions. calmly and courteously. State what bothers you clearly. Visualize yourself undertaking challenging tasks successfully. identify what kind of situations or events can trigger your anger and what are its early signs. Maintain perseverance in the face of setbacks.” Think success. other people and different situations. Maintain the company of nourishing people. Tips for Motivating Yourself • • • • • • • • • • Maintain a positive attitude of “I can do it. Try out new approaches instead of getting demoralized. Tips for Empathizing with Others and Enhancing Social Competence • Treat everyone with respect and dignity. Break down formidable tasks into smaller and manageable components. Remember that you are primarily responsible for your emotions and thoughts. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses. Tips for Managing Your Emotions Productively • • • • • • Avoid being swept away by your emotions. Use “I” messages to express your emotions. Tune in to your senses to pick up information about yourself. Avoid generalising and don’t bring up old grudges. View failures as lessons learnt. Seek solutions to problems rather than focusing on who is to be blamed.” Pick an appropriate time for expressing your emotions. realistic and time-bounded goals. Wake up happy. not failure. Identify events and behaviour which normally trigger your emotions. Tips for Promoting Self-Awareness • • • • • • Take responsibility for your emotions and behaviour. and learning the art of cooperation. Make them feel important. Identify your true feelings that greatly influence your behaviour and interactions with other people. Monitor your general behaviour and assess its impact on other people. For example. Avoid negaholics and “toxic” people. Have faith in God and hope for the best. Talk about your winners. Practise positive self-talk. Remember and use other people’s names.than angry or passive. Examples are: “I feel unappreciated when you take me for granted” and “I feel unimportant when you are late for your appointments with me.

1995). 45-46. 5-6. 5. Maintain eye contact and resist distractions. Working with Emotional Intelligence. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. Management (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. specific and timely praise. Cited in Daniel Goleman. Try to understand why others feel the way they do. Speak positively of others or not at all. 19. Ibid. 2. Always try to see the other person’s point of view. Be empathetic. Emotional Intelligence. 317. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly and politely. Seek mutual benefit in all human interactions. 4. See Daniel Goleman. 6. Create “win-win” relationships. 1998). Avoid personal attacks.• • • • • • • • • • • Notes 1. Working with Emotional Intelligence (New York: Bantam Books. 46-47. Learn to make specific complaints by focusing on the undesirable behaviour of an individual. Listen attentively with the purpose of understanding what is being said. experiences and pertinent information. Avoid making sarcastic remarks. p. Seek out the good in others and accept them as they are. Cited in Robert Kreitner. See Daniel Goleman. pp. . Cited in Daniel Goleman. Admit your mistakes. Emotional Intelligence (New York: Bantam Books. pp. p. Assist others in their growth and development. Make others feel good about themselves by giving them sincere. The five major domains of emotional intelligence are based on the model proposed by Salovey and Mayer. pp. 7. skills. Share ideas.. 3. 34. 1998). Ibid. Ignore minor irritations and trivial issues. Apologize sincerely and take the necessary steps to correct your behaviour. p.

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