The term Emotional Intelligence first came up during the 90’s through the works of Psychologist Daniel Goleman.
In a short period of time, this term was widespread in research, schools, organizations and in society in general... Nowadays, we can clearly see that emotional intelligence is an increasingly valued ability!
Emotional intelligence is the ability to feel, understand and control one's emotions, allowing thoughtful and more effective decisions.
Goleman describes emotional intelligence in five dimensions:
- Self-awareness: recognising our emotions
- Self-regulation: accepting and dealing with emotions in different circumstances
- Motivation (intrinsic motivation): the drive which allows us to carry out certain actions in order to achieve objectives
- Empathy: the ability to understand others
- Social skills: ability to relate to others and communicate effectively.
Studies show that the ability to self-regulate our emotions increases our wellbeing and our chances of being successful.
But how do our emotions work?
Emotions are at the basis of the interpersonal experience and help to cope with everyday events.
Ekman compiled a list of basic emotions:
- Anger: reaction to an attack; protects and defends
- Fear: feeling of imminent threat; preserves life and assesses the risk of the situation
- Sadness: loss of something; allows reflective thinking
- Disgust: violation of personal taste; preserves the body's health
- Surprise: some novelty or unforeseen event; increases attention
- Joy: associated with pleasure and happiness; feeling of satisfaction and contentment
Depending on the stimuli or on the situation, each emotion has its own timespan and intensity.
Did you know that 95% of the decisions we make are influenced by the emotions we feel?
Emotions mobilise resources and guide our behaviours.
Rage, for example, is an emotion that high levels of cortisol (stress hormone), so it will drive an individual towards a more protective behaviour in order to achieve what they desire.
Strategies to manage our emotions:
- Writing down in a notebook each day about how we felt that day which allows us to see situations more objectively
- Counting to 10 when we feel very irritable, frustrated or angry helps to change our mindset
- Being aware of our body sensations to understand what emotion we are feeling
- Meditating by focusing on what we are feeling and where in our body we are feeling it
- Practicing active listening and accepting other people's experiences
- Breathing calmly to oxygenate the brain
- Confronting difficult thoughts with the help of more realistic ones
Emotional Intelligence in the work environment
Did you know that about 85% of the success of leaders in organizations is due to the way they connect with themselves and others?
For some time, organisations valued mainly technical, reasoning and negotiation skills and sustained a context devoid of strong emotions, promoting a certain distance between managers and workers and within the teams’ themselves. Currently, these requirements have undergone changes specifically due to the recognition of emotional skills such as empathy, adaptability, proactivity and the ability to self-reflect.
According to the literature, emotional intelligence is a determining and explanatory factor of success and job satisfaction. An organisational climate that values emotional abilities generates a better attitude towards tasks, thus facilitating performance and job satisfaction. Studies show that employees with lower levels of emotional regulation find it harder to control stress and have a greater tendency towards burnout. On the contrary, more emotionally intelligent employees are able to better control work demands and establish good relationships with their peers and leaders.
So, are you ready to be emotionally intelligent?