Emotional Intelligence Defined
Emotional Intelligence (EI) may be a new expression for some readers, so allow me to share a few definitions.
According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is the "ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people."
We could probably all use a little help in this area! And the ability to cheer someone up or calm them down? What an asset that would be to any of us!
MindTools.com records the definition of emotional intelligence as the "ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they're telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively."
This definition reminds me of the role a counselor plays in helping others work through the emotional ups and downs of their relationships. As to understanding how our emotions and/or expressions affect those around us, I say, “How many times has someone quizzed me to see if I was all right when I was perfectly content and feeling good?” The problem is that our outward expressions (both positive and negative) don't always match what we are thinking or feeling on the inside. The result? We are subjected to wrong interpretations, assumptions, and judgments.
On the TTI Success Insights® website, it states that their Emotional Quotient Assessment can accurately measure a person’s emotional intelligence, which they define as the "ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of overall emotional well-being to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity." The assessment offers an impressive array of feedback and is useful in developing leaders, engaging teams, coaching and in succession planning.
This is the definition I want to focus on in this article: emotional intelligence in the workplace and how "to facilitate (those) higher levels of collaboration and productivity."
The Importance of Critical Thinking and Emotional Engagement Skills
According to Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) June 2017 article entitled, “In the AI Age ‘Being Smart’ Will Mean Something Completely Different,” the age of artificial intelligence is ushering in a need to increase our critical thinking and emotional engagement skills. Why? Because this is something that smart technology can’t always do – piece things together and engage successfully with others to solve problems and to accomplish what only humans were made to do. Interestingly, Ed Hess, the author of this HBR article and co-author of the book, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Berrett-Koehler, 2017), also included humility as a necessary virtue since we must overcome both fear and vanity as we attempt to add something valuable to our high-tech world.
Thus, in the competitive world in which we strive, we must learn to value collaborative work above our own ego and do whatever it takes to remain truly productive in the workplace. In this article, we will address three points which are relevant both to this goal and to the aim of increasing one's emotional intelligence:
- The problem of sleep deprivation as it relates to EI
- The strengths and weaknesses of one's emotional quotient in the areas of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill
- The role that personal humility plays in the workplace among emotionally intelligent leaders
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Emotional Intelligence
In a recent Inc.com article by Julian Hayes, it suggests that a lack of sleep is wrecking people’s emotional intelligence. Because sleep is so closely linked to cognitive function, not getting enough of it affects everything about our life and work – and not in a positive way.
Do you want to improve your emotional intelligence? Start today by creating a sleep schedule for yourself. Plan for it. Prepare your family. Inform your friends. Consider what adjustments will need to be made as you put your laptop and cellphone aside at least 30 minutes before the bedtime you establish for yourself. Wrap your mind around having an actual scheduled time for sleep. Visualize it. Then lie down and relish a good long sleep. Enjoy waking up early, refreshed and ready to get going.
When human beings get enough sleep, they may see noticeable improvement in the following areas:
- Ability to focus and finish tasks more readily
- General improvement in attitude and demeanor when interacting with others because getting enough sleep is an automatic mood enhancer
- Greater likelihood to exhibit emotional stability during stressful situations
- Overall improved work performance and production may leave more room for investing time in team building activities and developing relationships with others
- Increased competence when it comes to communicating, prioritizing, scheduling, and making tough decisions
- Ability to experience joy over the most basic pleasures of life will become more commonplace
- Creativity, inspiration, new interests and greater curiosity may become welcomed new habits
- Feelings of weariness and fatigue (even stress) should begin to subside a little at a time
Do you see a theme emerging? All these improvements are related to your cognitive skills, productivity, collaborative efforts, and overall success – all because you are no longer sleep deprived.
The Emotional Quotient Assessment
If you choose to learn more about your own level of emotional intelligence, you may find TTI Success Insights’ Emotional Quotient assessment to be very insightful. It addresses the following 2 aspects of emotional intelligence (EI):
- one’s intrapersonal EI, having to do with self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation
- one’s interpersonal EI, having to do with empathy and social skills
According to the TTI Success Insight® website, the dimensions of emotional intelligence may be defined in these 5 ways:
- Self-Awareness - the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others
- Self-Regulation - the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and to think before acting
- Motivation - a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status and the tendency to pursue goals with energy and persistence
- Empathy - one’s ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people
- Social Skills - a proficiency in managing relationships and building networks
Suggestions from TTISI® for improving these areas of EI might include some of the following:
1. To improve Self-Awareness . . .
- identify with your emotional triggers more fully by describing them to someone you trust
- determine whether your self-perception is accurate or not
2. In striving for Self-Regulation . . .
- discuss ways to alter a negative mood with a good friend or advisor
- keep an on-going log of self-management skills most effective for you
3. To maintain Motivation . . .
- include dates when setting goals
- create very specific objectives as you reach for overall goals; celebrate accomplishments along the way
4. To increase Empathy . . .
- try to understand others before communicating your point of view so your message is clear
- observe others’ body language for non-verbal cues
The TTI Success Insights’ Emotional Quotient (EQ) reports are based specifically on individual responses to the assessment questions.
Topics in the report include the following:
- an introduction to the 5 dimensions of emotional intelligence
- an overview of your own level of emotional intelligence broken down into 5 distinct categories
- the areas of EI where there is room for improvement and where you rank among a majority of the population
- your overall intrapersonal, interpersonal and total EI rankings
- brief statements about your current EI level along with several specific suggestions for what you can do to improve in each of the 5 categories (excellent tool)
- the EQ wheel provides a pie-chart type of ranking showing your scores in each of the 5 categories
Emotional Intelligence and the Critical Role of Humility
Last, but not least, let’s consider the aspect of humility in how we seek to engage with others successfully in a smart-tech world. Merriam-Webster states that to be humble is the opposite of being proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive. Humility is also reflected, expressed, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission. It involves (professional) courtesy.
Think about the ways you currently present or share information with others in a collaborative context:
- Are you humbly authoritative or obnoxiously so in your leadership approach?
- Do others perceive you as smart but rather smug or as smart and always so humble?
- Do you come across as someone to be reckoned with or someone with true team spirit at heart?
- Do you thrive on the inspiration and input of others, or are you a one-man or one-woman show?
Do you recall that the MindTools.com definition of emotional intelligence involves your perception of others, understanding how they feel, and allowing that knowledge to help you manage relationships more effectively?
Work to establish yourself as just one part of a great team. Show your intelligence and present your ideas but not in a condescending or arrogant manner. Listen to others and their opinions. Respond to them with appreciation, and strive to understand their perspective with true patience and legitimate curiosity.
Teams are established by management for a reason; they believe everyone has something to contribute. So, practice humility. Work to be a valuable part of that established team, not to be the one and only.
Just because arrogant confidence and condescension may have worked to your advantage in the past does not mean that they always will. These are not attractive qualities and should not be perceived or accepted as such.
Your job is to produce but also to listen, pay attention, heed, and work with others’ knowledge and skills to accomplish great things. You can only do this when the focus is on the team and its goal - not simply on yourself and your preferences. Emotionally, you must find a way in which to relate and work well with others to the point of success; otherwise, you may be left behind.
Emotional Intelligence and What to Do Next
If you are serious about improving your emotional intelligence, be sure to develop your understanding about what EI is and how to improve yours. Learn how to talk about it. In this article, we’ve established the importance of getting enough deep sleep to improve overall cognitive function, presented methods for practicing humility in a team environment, and provided you with a successful method (TTISI’s Emotional Quotient assessment) for gaining insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your own level of emotional intelligence.
The future is bright. And so are you.
Will you seek to develop your emotional intelligence as you strive to ensure your future career success?
The next step is yours!
Contact Brannon Professionals at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622 today.