Emotional Intelligence is the ability to know, identify, manage and control your own emotions as well as the emotions of others.
There are four branches of Emotional Intelligence namely:
Perceiving Emotions: Perceiving emotions might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.
Reasoning with Emotions: Use emotions to improve thinking. Emotions prioritize what we pay attention to and how we react to specific situations.
Understanding Emotions: The emotions we encounter on a daily basis can have a wide variety of meanings. It is important that the person perceiving someone else’s emotions identify the type of emotion (anger, sadness, joy) as well as the cause.
Managing Emotions: Managing emotions effectively is a crucial part of emotional intelligence. Controlling and effectively managing emotional reactions is vital to avoid unpleasant situations. Responding appropriately to the emotions of others is an important aspect in emotional maturity.
A recent study that was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology looked at the results of 36 separate pieces of research into the relationship between self-reported Emotional Intelligence and job performance with an overall data set from 2,168 employed adults. Thanks to a bit of number crunching, the authors were able to conclude that there is a strong correlation between Emotional Intelligence and job performance. They found that there were 7 traits that made the difference to performance.
These 7 traits are said to make a person emotionally intelligent:
Emotional Stability: Emotionally stable individuals are easier to work with in the sense that they don’t allow their emotions to cloud their judgement; they don’t lose their temper easily and therefore can avoid toxic confrontations in the workplace. These individuals have a higher tolerance for stress and working under pressure without cracking.
Conscientiousness: Conscientious individuals have the personality trait of being thorough, careful and vigilant. This implies a desire to succeed and finish tasks well, instead of being aloof and disorderly.
Extraversion: Extroverts have an easier time of communicating with colleagues and forming bonds in the workplace.
Ability Emotional Intelligence: This refers to an individual’s ability to express emotions, empathise and reason using emotions.
Cognitive Ability: Cognitive ability affects an individual’s ability to solve problems and adapt to their environment, which in turn boosts Emotional Intelligence and performance.
General Self Efficacy: An individual’s belief in his/her own ability to succeed in specific situations and accomplish tasks. People with this view are far more likely to have developed the social skills for maintaining this positive self image.
Self Rated Job Performance: Several of the questions used to measure Emotional Intelligence during job interviews and performance appraisals seem to tap into people’s view of their own performance (e.g. Q: How would you rate your own performance? A: “Given the time crunch I think I did very well in completing the task before the deadline”) (Q: “What are your strong points?” A: “I work well in group situations.”)
Emotional Intelligence is not about wanting to be liked or to have many friends. Individuals who have a high emotional intelligence want to succeed, control their emotions and take charge of situations others might find difficult to control.
Emotional Intelligence is not something that you are born with and that you either have or don’t have. By building on your good, strong qualities it is possible to achieve a respected level of emotional intelligence and maturity.
Companies, corporations and organisations (government and others) need employees and leaders who are strong, emotionally stable and level headed. Unfortunately many who weren’t born with natural leadership instincts don’t possess the necessary skills to build on their emotional maturity.