Leadership and Management Theory
“People may not remember what you said, but they remember the way
you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Introduction to Emotional Intelligence Emotions play a big role in our lives; they help to guide decisions for the world around us and influence our interactions with others. Accordingly, emotions are also shaped from the external world. Emotional intelligence brings control to our everyday emotions and will affect every aspect of our lives. The ability to control one’s emotions and use them in a healthy manner can be life-changing. Emotional intelligence combines emotional and social skills to navigate through organizations and relationships, as well as deal with emotional stress. It is a skill that can be learned and strengthened, bringing great success to an individual’s personal and professional life. With an emotionally intelligent team, maximum success can be achieved.
Defining Emotional Intelligence Every day we face situations in which we emotionally react. Emotional intelligence (EI) brings cognition to emotional responses. It involves recognizing, understanding, and managing our own emotions, as well as recognizing, understanding, and influencing the emotions of others. This includes being aware of the emotions that drive specific behaviors. It does not mean denying personal feelings, but rather identifying and reasoning with them. Developing emotional intelligence is especially important in the workplace, as it teaches professional and empathetic communication.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence Emotional intelligence is incredibly valuable to many major aspects of our lives, our mental and physical health, professional success, and personal relationships. There are many positive traits that come from emotional intelligence. In business, emotional intelligence will cultivate motivation, change, and leadership. It encourages us to step away from an autopilot mode and become better at navigating through the many social complexities in life. Respectively, emotional intelligence will help us to create a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Signs of low emotional intelligence include: • Having a victim mentality • Being unaccepting of feedback • Dwelling on mistakes • Difficulty listening and connecting • Often quick to make judgments
Leadership and Management Theory
Who Needs It?
Humans are wired for connection; these connections consist of social interactions full of emotions. Essentially, identifying and building emotional intelligence is important for everyone. High emotional intelligence is a hiring trait desired by leading corporations, and to some extent, more important than IQ. Emotional intelligence provides a strong foundation for humans to reflect on their emotional responses, including when managing feelings of stress or overwhelm, creating a collaborative environment, and having difficult conversations with others. It is the key to achieving success in any leadership role. When emotional intelligence is lacking from one individual in the workplace, it affects everyone else within the organization. These repercussions can include a lower company morale, and decrease in productivity and performance. A positive work environment requires employees who are willing to coach and motivate one another, in which emotional intelligence is the foundation.
What Are Emotions?
Since emotional intelligence is all about the management and control of emotions, it is advantageous to understand what emotions are and why they matter. Although we all share the same emotions, we do not all experience these emotions the same way. Emotions are natural reactions that we experience, in response to a situation, mood, or connection. They signal a change that has occurred within us, or in our environment. The six basic human emotions, also known as primary emotions, are happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, and anger. Emotions may be momentary or long-lived. There are three key elements of emotions, including the subjective experience (how someone experiences an emotion), the physiological response (how their body reacts to this emotion), and the behavioral/expressive response (how they behave in response to this emotion). Emotions will guide decisions, help us to avoid danger, and motivate action. Our daily lives are influenced on whether we are feeling happy, sad, or bored.
Practical Illustration Shawn was in charge of hiring the new marketing analyst. He was looking for an employee who was knowledgeable in this field, along with great social skills and emotional control. After reading a few resumes, he had two strong prospects that he chose to interview. The first candidate, Hunter, had many years of experience. Although he had a lot of knowledge to bring to the team, he did not demonstrate strong leadership and interpersonal skills. Shawn’s second prospect, Leah, did not have many years of experience. Leah understood the essentials for the position, and assured Shawn that she was willing to learn and transition with the company. She was confident, empathetic, and professional. The positive impact that Leah left on Shawn had helped to guide his decision. He believed that Leah was perfect for the position, and would share her enthusiastic attitude with the rest of the team.