Skip to content

Emotional Intelligence

October 10, 2012

Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to be self-aware, detect emotions in others, and manage emotional cues and information. Emotional intelligence has been controversial due to its lack of objectivity and measurability, and many believe it is not a valid concept in the field of organizational behavior. It is true that EI is not a silver bullet. It is not a valid form of intelligence and does not predict job performance as well as other factors, such as IQ. Although EI is not perfect, it is an important skill to have in conjunction with others. Those who demonstrate high levels of EI in their professional lives tend to have improved performance in interviews, jobs, and teams, and superior leadership effectiveness and interpersonal relationships. EI is related to professional success, which is why it is important for members of organizations to understand and develop each of its components.

Self-awareness is the first element of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, and your areas of development. Those who possess this skill are able to see themselves in the same way that others do and can accurately identify their emotions and tendencies. Knowing how you react to certain people and situations is an important component of self-awareness.

In this cartoon, Calvin displays a lack of self-awareness. He is unable to see himself in the same way that others do. There is inconsistency between the feelings he is expressing about others and his own behavior. Although Calvin and Hobbes is just a cartoon, the conversation between the two characters could be similar to one between coworkers in the real world. There are several steps that can be taken to improve self-awareness. One option is taking self-assessments, such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or the Big 5 Personality Assessment. Reflecting through observation, introspection, and analysis is important. In order to be self-aware, you must be honest and display humility and confidence.

The second element of emotional intelligence is self-management. Self-management is the ability to manage emotions and behavior to positive outcomes. A key part of self-management is self-control, or thinking before acting and redirecting disruptive moods and impulses. In the professional world, losing your temper or having emotional outbursts can be detrimental to your career. The inability to control emotions in front of customers or superiors can result in the loss of business, damage to your reputation, and even termination. It is important to understand what your triggers are so that you can remove yourself from emotional situations and deal with them at another time when you are more calm and rational. Another way to improve self-control is reframing, or using negative emotions or events to energize positive action. Other components of self-management are adaptability, initiative, and optimism in the face of failure. Those who have high self-management are self-driven; they have the propensity to set goals and pursue them with energy and persistence and can manage time and stress effectively.

The third element of emotional intelligence is social awareness. Social awareness is the ability to accurately read others emotions and moods when interacting with individuals or groups. Social awareness requires that you understand the emotional makeup of others and treat them accordingly. You need to adjust your behavior according to others’ emotions and change your management style depending on who you are dealing with.

The above picture from the Wall Street Journal article, “Dealing With a Boss Who Yells”, lists some of the negative consequences of low social awareness. The four bosses in the picture are using harsh tones to deal with their employees, who do not respond well to this type of management. Some consequences of this are: less competent employees, increased turnover, less creative employees, and less conflict resolution. At their level, success is less about their own skill and more about the ability to manage others well. Increasing their social awareness would make the four bosses in the picture more affective leaders with more productive employees. In order to develop your social awareness, you need to understand diverse others and listen without advising or controlling.

The last element of emotional intelligence is relationship management. Relationship management is about building teams and creating constructive work relationships. Important components of this are influence, building bonds, developing others, teamwork, and collaboration. In order to be successful in your job, you need to have common ground and trust with others. In business, you have to work in teams with others to accomplish common goals, and healthy relationships among team members are essential for success. Relationship management is also important for networking. The majority of jobs are obtained through networks and relationships with others. In order to develop relationship management, you can get coaching and seek opportunities for leadership. Other alternatives are developing your influence through networking and mentoring and learning effective conflict management and teamwork skills.

Emotional Intelligence is one of the keys to professional success. EI is related to many of the other topics covered in the Organizational Behavior course. Decision-making is improved when you are able to understand your own tendencies toward certain biases. Companies are more capable of managing diversity and relating to those who are demographically different when their employees’ social awareness is increased. Team members with high EI have greater cohesion and are more productive, and EI is an key factor in leadership. Understanding yourself and others better and being in control of your behaviors can provide a major advantage in your career.


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: