5 components of Emotional intelligence
The ability to express and control our emotions is essential, but so is our ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. Imagine a world in which you could not understand when a friend was feeling sad or when a co-worker was angry. Psychologists refer to this ability as emotional intelligence, and some experts even suggest that it can be more important than IQ in your overall success in life.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened. While others claim it’s an inborn characteristic.
Emotional intelligence as a term didn’t come into our vernacular until around 1990. Despite being a relatively young term, interest in the concept has grown tremendously over the last 20 years.
Salovey and Mayer proposed a model that identified four different levels of emotional intelligence, including emotional perception, the ability to reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion, and the ability to manage emotions.
- Perceiving emotions:The first step in understanding emotions is to perceive them accurately. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
- Reasoning with emotions:The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.
- Understanding emotions:The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of the person’s anger and what it could mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work, or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he’s been fighting with his wife.
- Managing emotions:The ability to manage emotions effectively is a crucial part of emotional intelligence and the highest level. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately, and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.
Different types of emotional intelligence
Self awareness, or the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, is a critical part of emotional intelligence. Beyond just recognizing your emotions, however, is being aware of the effect of your own actions, moods, and emotions of other people.
In order to become self-aware, you must be capable of monitoring your own emotions, recognizing different emotional reactions, and then correctly identifying each particular emotion. Self-aware individuals also recognize the relationships between the things they feel and how they behave. These individuals are also capable of recognizing their own strengths and limitations, are open to new information and experiences, and learn from their interactions with others.
Goleman suggests that people who possess this self-awareness have a good sense of humor, are confident in themselves and their abilities, and are aware of how other people perceive them.
In addition to being aware of your own emotions and the impact you have on others, emotional intelligence requires you to be able to regulate and manage your emotions. This doesn’t mean putting emotions on lock-down and hiding your true feelings — it simply means waiting for the right time, place, and avenue to express your emotions. Self-regulation is all about expressing your emotions appropriately.
Those who are skilled in self-regulation tend to be flexible and adapt well to change. They are also good at managing conflict and diffusing tense or difficult situations.
Goleman also suggests that those with strong self-regulation skills are high in conscientiousness. They are thoughtful of how they influence others and take responsibility for their own actions.
Being able to interact well with others is another important aspect of emotional intelligence. True emotional understanding involves more than just understanding your own emotions and the feelings of others. You also need to be able to put this information to work in your daily interactions and communications.
In professional settings, managers benefit by being able to build relationships and connections with employees. While workers can benefit from being able to develop a strong rapport with leaders and co-workers. Some important social skills include active listening, verbal communication skills, nonverbal communication skills, leadership, and persuasiveness.
Empathy, or the ability to understand how others are feeling, is absolutely critical to emotional intelligence. But this involves more than just being able to recognize the emotional states of others.
It also involves your responses to people based on this information. When you sense that someone is feeling sad or hopeless, for example, it will likely influence how you respond to that individual. You might treat them with extra care and concern or you might make an effort to buoy their spirits.
Being empathetic also allows people to understand the power dynamics that often influence social relationships, especially in workplace settings. Those competent in this area are able to sense who possess power in different relationships. They understand how these forces influence feelings and behaviors, and accurately interpret different situations that hinge on such power dynamics.
Intrinsic motivation also plays a key role in emotional intelligence. People who are emotionally intelligent are motivated by things beyond mere external rewards like fame, money, recognition, and acclaim.
Instead, they have a passion to fulfill their own inner needs and goals. They seek things that lead to internal rewards, experience flow from being totally in tune with an activity, and pursue peak experiences.
Those who are competent in this area tend to be action-oriented. These people set goals, have a high need for achievement, and are always looking for ways to do better. They also tend to be very committed and are good at taking the initiative when a task is put forth before them.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to strengthen your own social and emotional intelligence. Understanding emotions can be the key to better relationships, improved well-being, and stronger communication skills.
Also read – Emotional intelligence of your child