Your Quick Guide to Emotional Intelligence
When it comes to your career success, it is a matter of fact that being intelligent is crucial for overcoming challenges and achieving your goals. Intelligence is widely believed to be synonymous with the intellect, as manifested in extraordinary learning capacity, mastery of skills, and problem-solving. However, it is far from it! Many people have excellent academic achievement and outstanding results in the most challenging intelligence quotient (IQ) tests, but then fail to achieve career success. The explanation is simple: There are several types of intelligence at varying degrees of proficiency in every person, depending on the environment they come from, as well as the knowledge, experience, and skills they acquired during their lives. Dr. Howard Gardner, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, lists eight distinct types of intelligence under his theory of “multiple intelligences,” first proposed in his 1983 book Frames of Mind. These are: linguistic, logical, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, naturalist, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. Later on, the theory provided the basis for further research on the different types of intelligence. In 1995, a book titled Emotional Intelligence was published, and quickly became one of the most influential books in the fields of personal development and business administration. In this book, Daniel Goleman, psychologist and science journalist, gives an in-depth analysis of two specific types of intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal, and highlights their importance in our lives. Goleman defined emotional intelligence as the ability to recognize our own emotions and those of others and manage those emotions well in ourselves and our relationships. Undoubtedly, emotion can influence the decisions we make. There are always such stressful moments that make us feel angry, sad, or afraid, while at other times, we may feel happy or excited. What matters is to deal intelligently with our emotions in different situations, and not to let them control our feelings, actions, and social relationships. Over the past decades, many studies have proved that emotionally intelligent people have a more substantial chance of success both on personal and career levels, because they can better make the right decisions at the right time and build effective social relationships. Today, many companies consider emotional intelligence as a key factor in selecting or promoting their staff, realizing the positive effect of emotionally intelligent people on the company’s performance and productivity. Whether you are a school or university student, or you have already embarked on your career, training yourself to be emotionally intelligent is essential to achieve success. Even though the environment you come from and the experience you have in life must have played a role in shaping your emotional intelligence, you can always improve it regardless of your age or academic/professional background. Consider it a set of skills that can be acquired and developed. At least give it a try!
Five Steps to Become More Emotionally Intelligent
- Self-Awareness – The first and most crucial step is to know your emotions well. Identify your reactions to the different situations you encounter. How do you feel? Is it a positive or negative feeling? How does this feeling affect your thought and behavior? For example: What angered you? What frustrated you? What made you feel happy? How do you act whenever you have such feelings? What caused things to be like this? Always be mindful of your inner self and observe it closely. The answers to the above questions will give you a deeper insight into your feelings and a greater ability to notice them as they are generated. They will also help you spot the strengths and weaknesses of your personality. The more you understand yourself, the better your mental health and social behavior become.
- Self-Regulation – Now that you recognize your feelings as they arise, see how you react to each one of them. To do so effectively, hold on once you start to encounter any sort of feeling, negative or positive. Before taking any decision, give space to reason for a few seconds. Think carefully about your reaction. Does the current situation require what you are about to do or say? Do not rush it and be driven by impulse, or you might find yourself in hot water. Instead, take command over your nerves, and redirect your emotions toward what will benefit you in each situation. Look out! This is not a call for you to push your feelings down and down until they eventually explode out. It is much wiser to handle them promptly. Focus on the solution, not the problem. Having a hold over your emotions will bolster your self-confidence and make it easier for you to adapt to change. You may find it difficult to control your feelings, especially if you have always reacted to some experiences in a specific way. But this does not mean that it is not possible to change this particular reaction. With concentration and daily training, you will make progress.
- Motivation – If you can instantly control your emotions, it is not beyond your capabilities to t would motivate you to attain your goals. It is all in between your ears. Whenever you like, you can feel passionate, upbeat, or happy, but this necessitates setting personal and career goals above just money and position—goals that inspire you to commit yourself to your decisions and dive into work. This approach will give you the power and determination to pursue your goals at all times.
- Empathy – You cannot live alone in this world! You will always have to deal with people with different cultures, behaviors, attitudes, and experiences. To get on well with others, you need to be good at discerning how they feel and understanding their actions in different situations. Be trusting and empathetic toward those around you. Instead of being judgmental, think about the conditions that might have led them to act this way. Put yourself in their shoes, see what you would have done, or look at it from a neutral perspective. This entails a more thoughtful mentality and, more importantly, being accustomed to calmness and self-control under pressure.
- Social Skills – The last step is to properly manage your social relationships, which will not be difficult if you have already made it through the previous four steps. Being considerate will help you build rewarding social relationships that boost your self-confidence, facilitate socialization, and make you a better team player and leader. By contrast, if you find difficulty being on good terms with others, you will be inviting such negative emotions as depression and frustration, which will hamper your personal and career development, even if you are academically perfect. Social skills are easy to acquire over time—but only if you genuinely want to. All you have to do is to start working on your communication skills. Make sure that your personal and career relationships are friendly, straightforward, and respectful. State clearly to others what is acceptable and unacceptable to you to minimize disagreements, which might be occasional but inevitable. Take them as opportunities to build up trust between you and those disagreeing with you, not as win-lose conflicts. Be open to different views. Accept and express constructive criticism. Always talk positively about yourself, and try to be a source of inspiration and optimism, rather than negative energy and pessimism.
All the above suggestions can change your life for the better and put you on the right track for making all of your personal and career goals a reality.