During this time of the year most of us get caught in the trap of coming up with a brand-new set of New Year’s resolutions. In case you wondered how many of these goals are actually fulfilled, studies show that only 8% of people achieve their aspirations! In 2018 and for once, I want to be among those who fight against the odds. What am I going for? One of my objectives this year involves an exercise of reflection, understanding, and transformation of my social-emotional skills. I invite you to join the ride!
Ever heard of Emotional Intelligence before? The concept itself, which refers to the ability of recognizing our own emotions and those of others, has been around since the 1920’s but it wasn’t until American psychologist David Goleman published his book “Emotional Intelligence” in 1995 that it became popular. With this book, Goleman introduces us to the world of emotions and the power they have over who we are, what we do and our relationships with others.
Why is Emotional Intelligence (EI) of any relevance to my job, you may ask? The answer is easy; it affects group dynamics, individual and group performance, creativity, communication, motivation, and last but not least, a higher EI level reduces anxiety and protects against stress. Do you need any more convincing?
A person’s EI score depends on a series of abilities that can be grouped in the following 4 fundamental pillars:
Each pillar includes different emotional skills:
So, which steps can we take towards becoming an Emotional Intelligence Superhero? Here are some tips!
“Know Thyself” – Socrates
- Throughout the day, take a pause to consciously identify how you feel and what is causing your emotions. Realize that emotions are transitory and it is best not to make decisions based on them
- Think about how your negative emotions (anger, frustration, indifference, fear) may affect yourself and your coworkers, and acknowledge the consequences of this behavior
“The first and best victory is to conquer self” – Plato
- Think of ways to control your emotions while at work, in order to avoid hasty reactions and inadequate responses
- When facing a difficult and emotionally charged situation, try to wait a bit before responding or making a decision
- Another key emotional tool is to accept that frustration and uncertainty are part of any work environment; if we confront these feelings with a positive attitude we’ll increase our chances of finding helpful solutions for ourselves, our co-workers and our organization
- Identify what you like best from your job and find a way to spend more time dedicated to what motivates you the most and still dedicate yourself with full attention to those tasks you might not like so much.
- High-five yourself for each accomplished objective!
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
- Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes
- Practice active listening
- Last but not least, the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated
“Make sure you are understood. Don’t blame the other person for not understanding. Instead, look for ways to clarify or rephrase what you are trying to say so it can be understood.”- Joel Garfinkle
- Foster your understanding of the person you’re speaking to. We’re all different, hence the way we communicate and interact with one person might not be effective with another. Adapt!
- Master the art of persuasion
- Learn to communicate effectively; listen with attention, make the right questions, be clear, be precise.
Developing these skills is a long term-process that we all can benefit from, both at a personal and working level; it isn’t always easy but the results are well-worth the effort and time towards building an emotionally intelligence organization in the modern world!
Goleman, D. (1995), Emotional Intelligence
Brach, T. (2013), True Refuge