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What is Emotional Intelligence?

By Eri Anton


I have spent much of the last year investing in personal development and studying human behavior. When I was first introduced to emotional intelligence the concept seemed to be self-evident to me and that was just control emotions. It wasn’t until I spent more time researching and learning that my eyes were opened up to something far more deeper and meaningful.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.

For everyone, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a person who screams and loses control when they are under stress, or a person who stays in control, and calmly assesses the situation?

Self-awareness – Self-Awareness is a major part of emotional intelligence. It means we know how we feel, we can communicate how we feel and we understand why we feel like we do. It is important to be in touch with your feelings as they as powerful indicators of behavior and are needed and important. It is important to understand that trying to hide your emotions or not feel is not a healthy way to deal with emotions nor is trying to self-medicate or distract yourself from your feelings. When you are self-aware of your emotions you can label how you feel and begin to understand why and how to deal with how you feel. The more you understand your own emotions the better you will be with identifying and dealing with the emotions of others.

Self-ManagementSelf-Management involves taking responsibility for your own emotions and finding healthy ways to deal with your negative feelings. This means having control over your emotions and being able to effectively adapt to unexpected changes in a calm and rational way. Feelings can and should be acknowledged, but people with good self-management skills can appropriately handle them. Everyone can benefit from the ability to recognize and react to strong emotions in a productive way.

Emotional Self-Control: when we are triggered to feel a strong emotion we have the mental ability to stop the feeling in our brain and think about what happens if I express this emotion now in the manner I feel it? We may feel like cussing, but we can also think about how that expression may affect others around us who don’t feel like we do. How that action may make us look and the impact to ourselves and others should we not care and express ourselves in anger. So we have to choose to express the emotion differently and in a manner that would be most positive and productive.

Adaptability: we need to learn to be able to change to fit into given situations, Not everything will go our way in life and getting emotionally triggered because the world doesn’t work the way you want is counter-productive. Learn how to fit into a situation then seek to improve it. You may have a number of emotions you feel when in an unfamiliar situation so learning to fit in and adapt is critical to emotionally handling it the best way possible.

Achievement Orientation: having an achievement orientation means you have the desire and drive to make things better. This will help with feelings of despair, fear and desperation when we take action and don’t fall victim to our emotions. We have the ability to make a difference if we focus on it. Don’t let emotions paralyze you from taking action.

Positive Outlook: see the positive in every situation. When we only think about the negative and consume ourselves in negative thoughts we create such a negative situation that we complain , see the worst in everything and stop taking action because it becomes overwhelming to us. When we see the positive we have something we can move towards. Something we can learn and grow from, an opportunity to do something that will make a difference or even better make the experience of interaction a positive one for everyone. We all like to be around people who are positive and energizing. We are drawn to them as they make us better. The same can be said about negative people. The ones who complain and always drain us of energy we run from, so which one are you?

Social Awareness: An individual with social awareness has a strong understanding of how to handle different social situations, and have effective interactions with other people. Social awareness can also mean being conscious of social issues in the world and being empathetic to how they impact other people. This allows people from different backgrounds to connect emotionally.

Empathy: having empathy is critical to managing relationships successfully.  People with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else's situation.  It's easy to support your own point of view but take the time to look at situations from other people's perspectives.  When you do this you learn to understand and appreciate how someone else feels and act accordingly.   You learn to pay attention to body language which may show how another feels about a given situation. This gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately to someone’s feelings.

Organizational awareness: means having the ability to read a group's emotional currents and power relationships, and identify influencers, networks, and dynamics within the organization. When you can become aware of the dynamics within groups and organizations you can begin to influence its direction.

Relationship Management – Having good social skills means being able to effectively handle other people’s emotions and having the ability to create mutually beneficial relationships using good communication skills. Individuals with good social skills can productively handle conflict and have the ability to persuade and positively influence behavior in others. You must have strong social skills to build good relationships.

Influence: Influence as a competency refers to the ability to have a positive impact on others, to persuade or convince them to gain their support. With the Influence competency, you're persuasive and engaging, and you can build buy-in from key people.

Coach and mentor: is the ability to build the long-term learning or development of others by giving feedback and support. The Coach and Mentor competency is very important as a good mentor doesn’t offer their opinion but helps the mentee see all perspectives and is an essential social competency for people in life or at any level in an organization.

Conflict management: in the heat of conflict emotions run very high and logic can get replaced by feelings. Conflict management is about removing the emotion and feelings from the resolution and focusing on teamwork, respect, flexibility, collaboration and negotiation. Many find themselves arguing about petty issues; and if they aren’t careful, these interactions can trigger waves of defensiveness and hostility creating walls and barriers to a good resolution. The best conflict negotiators lead conversations toward team goals, team interests and opportunities for achieving win-win solutions.

Teamwork: we are not a team because we work at the same place or wear the same color jersey. We are a team based on how we play the game. The definition I like best is from the book “The Wisdom of Teams” and is defined as a group of individuals with complimentary skillsets working together towards common goals and objectives in which they hold each other mutually accountable.

Inspirational Leadership: We all the ability to inspire others through our work ethic, how we handle life situations and our accomplishments. When our actions influence others enough to inspire them something special happens. You don’t develop people by nagging or tearing them down, pointing out flaws and shaming people to change out of fear. You inspire, you motivate, you encourage and you celebrate. Anybody can be an influence good or bad, but inspirational leadership influences and inspires others to change. A good example of inspirational leadership is @sigurd.vedal who I see as an inspirational leader with his Instagram platform. Always seeking to challenge, inspire and make people think in a positive way!

Each of these skillsets can be tested and evaluated to see how you score. They can also be taught and learned so if you have a low EQ now you can learn and improve your EQ that is the good news. If you want to learn more about your own emotional intelligence you can take a test at