What is Emotional Intelligence?
Everybody has emotions. It‘s a simple fact – a part of our being human. And whether we realise it or not, these emotions impact us and those around us every single day. Emotional Intelligence describes a method of identifying and controlling these emotions so that they work for us, not against us.
The concept of emotional intelligence became popular in the 1990’s through the work of Daniel Goleman, who was a science writer for the New York Times. Goleman was among a growing group of researchers who were concerned with how little traditional tests of cognitive intelligence told us about what it takes to be successful in life, and he argued that it was not just cognitive intelligence that guaranteed business success, but also our emotional intelligence.
Self-awareness is the keystone of emotional intelligence. Becoming self-aware is the process of understanding yourself, being aware of the way you feel and the impact your feelings can have on your decisions and actions.
Building self-awareness requires tuning in to your feelings; and developing the ability to recognise an emotion as it “happens”.
Put simply, if you are tuned into your emotions, you can better manage them.
Awareness of others
Awareness of others can be simply described as the ability to understand and respond to the needs of others. Get this right and people feel valued, listened to and understood. Get it wrong and you can be seen as uncaring or insensitive. The more skillful you are at picking up others’ signals, the better you will be at connecting with them.
We all recognise that different situations can trigger different emotions in us. A family Christmas may trigger joy. Or anxiety. A call to the boss’s office may trigger excitement. Or worry.
Emotional intelligence doesn’t place a value on the emotions we experience, but it allows us to acknowledge our emotion as it occurs, and the opportunity to choose how to respond.
In the DISC Flow model, your level of emotional intelligence is assumed to be the factor which enables how well you control your behaviour.
It is acknowledged that a person with high levels of emotional intelligence is better able to manage themselves according to the demands of the environment they find themselves in. Put simply, by increasing your emotional intelligence, you will become a better communicator, strengthen your relationships with others and improve the overall quality of your life.
As the American poet, Maya Angelou said: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.