Emotional intelligence is the ability to evaluate and manage one’s emotions, as well as the emotions of other people. This chapter will give you an overview of how you can develop criteria for evaluating emotional intelligence, which will help you identify emotional strengths and weaknesses. Evaluating emotional intelligence can also help you identify stressors in the workplace. This chapter also covers methods for managing stressors by means of self-evaluation and feedback from co-workers.
Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer (1990) defined emotional intelligence as a type of social intelligence that allows people to monitor and regulate their emotions, as well as use it to guide their thoughts and actions.
Intellectual intelligence is not enough to be successful in life. Many academically brilliant people can also be socially inept, which can negatively impact both their professional and personal relationships. Intellectual intelligence can help you get into university, but emotional intelligence will help you manage the stress of dealing with exams.
Emotional intelligence affects the following:
1. Work performance
Emotional intelligence can help you navigate social relationships in the workplace, lead and motivate others, and work toward excellence in your career. Many companies now value it just as much as technical ability, requiring applicants to undergo emotional intelligence testing before hiring. If you are able to bring your emotions into balance at will, you will be able to act more rationally even in stressful work situations.
2. Physical health
Being unable to manage stress levels can negatively impact health. When uncontrolled, stress raises blood pressure, suppresses the immune system and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
3. Mental health
Uncontrolled stress can also leave you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If emotions are not understood and managed, mood swings and an inability to form relationships can result, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Memories are also strongly linked to emotions. Learning to retain healthy connections with the emotional portion of your brain will significantly expand your range of choices when reacting to different stimuli. Additionally, emotional memory factors greatly in your decision-making process. Honing your emotional intelligence will help prevent you from repeating decisions that had negative emotional reactions.
If emotions are understood and regulated, there is an increased ability to express your feelings and to understand how others are feeling. This allows for more effective communication and stronger relationships.
While some claim that emotional intelligence is an innate characteristic, it is possible to develop it further to be more successful and feel more fulfilled, both in your workplace and in your personal life. Emotional intelligence generally includes three key skills:
1. Emotional Awareness
The ability to identify emotions in yourself or in others.
2. Ability to Harness Emotions
The ability to utilise your emotions during tasks, such as thinking and problem-solving.
3. Ability to Manage Emotions
The ability to regulate emotions, such as cheering up another person or calming yourself down.