Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to monitor your own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide your thinking and actions. EI has its roots in the concept of social intelligence, which was introduced over 75 years ago, but scholars spent most of this time focused on cognitive intelligence. Now, many are realizing that emotional intelligence is just as important for an individual’s success at work and in other social environments. Emotional intelligence includes the five dimensions illustrated in Exhibit 7.5 and described below.
• Self-awareness – People with high self-awareness recognize and understand their moods, emotions, and needs. They perceive and anticipate how their actions affect others. Self-aware people are also comfortable talking about and admitting their limitations, so they know when to ask for help. Notice that this (as well as some other EI dimensions described here) is similar to the self-monitoring personality concept .
• Self-regulation-This is the ability to control or redirect emotional outbursts and other impulse behaviors. For example, rather than yelling at a client, you manage to remain calm and later “talk out” the emotion to a coworker, self-regulation includes the ability to suspend judgment-to think through the consequences of their behavior rather than acting on impulse.
• Self –motivation-This includes stifling impulses, directing our emotions toward personal goals, and delaying gratification. Even when people do not achieve their goals, those with high motivation remain optimistic. Motivating yourself overlaps with the self-leadership concepts of self-reinforcement and constructive thought patterns.
• Empathy-In Chapter 6 we defined empathy as the ability to understand and be sensitive tot he feeling, thoughts, and situation of others. This doesn’t mean adopting other people’s emotions, just being sensitized to them.
• Social skill- This is the ability to manage the emotions of other people. It requires social competence and skills to guide the way other people act. Social skill includes the ability to form networks of relationships and to build rapport-finding common interests and understanding with others. Social skill requires other elements of emotional intelligence, particularly empathy and self-regulation.
There is still much to learn about emotional intelligence, such as how robust are these five dimensions and how they relate to self-monitoring personality. At the same time, little is known about how to select or train people for emotional intelligence. The U.S. Air Force and a few other organizations are now using tests that select applicants with high emotional intelligence, although the quality of these tests is still uncertain. Hong Kong Telecom and many other companies offer training in emotional intelligence because it can, to some extent, be learned. However, people don’t develop emotional intelligence simply by learning about its dimensions. It requires personal coaching, plenty of practice, and frequent feedback. Emotional intelligence also increases with age; it is part of the process called maturity. Whether people are hired with high emotional intelligence or they develop it through coaching, we still need to learn whether people with high emotional intelligence are better at coping with the emotional dissonance created by emotional labor requirements.
Ekta 28th November 2005 From India, Ahmadabad