Beta Life Series
Emotional Intelligence 101 – Who Are You?
After being brutally beaten and robbed, a man was left unconscious on the roadside. A psychiatrist was passing by, he paused, looked at the man and exclaimed: “My God, whoever did this, really needs help!”
What’s the difference between a psychologist and a magician? A magician pulls rabbits out of hats whereas a psychologist pulls habits out of rats.
Long before the field of psychology received significant attention, there was little or no importance placed on the value of emotional intelligence. But recent studies have convincingly proven that to succeed in today’s world, high intelligence quotient (IQ) is not enough. For guaranteed success in leadership positions, you need an excellent blend of IQ and emotional intelligence.
You must have heard people say that managing people is a tough job. That’s why leadership and management will be a hard nut to crack for anyone that fails to intentionally understand people and why they act the way they do. But how can you understand others if you are not fully aware of who you are?
It’s easy to manage robots – no mood swings, no sick days, no anger feats, and all sorts. But when your job requires managing a team of four to six people, a headache pops up and then you are about to explode.
It’s clear that it’s impossible to separate human beings and their emotions. Your typical day can best be described as a rollercoaster of diverse feelings and emotions – angry, happy, sad, ashamed, afraid, anxious and we have some emotions that are without names.
It’s a huge challenge to effectively deal with emotions because our brains are wired to always give emotional reactions an upper hand. When you receive signals from your sensory organs – sight, smell, hearing and touch; the signals pass through the spinal cord at the base of your brain to its destination (the frontal lobe – the back of your forehead). But before the signal reaches the frontal lobe, it has to pass through the limbic system. The limbic system is the seat of emotions while the frontal lobe is the seat of rational thinking and logic. So, the signals get tampered with and evoke some emotions before they reach the center of logical thinking. That’s the popular emotional hijacking!
In the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, Emotional Intelligence was divided into four core areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
The first two – self-awareness and self-management drive your personal competence because they have to do with the understanding and management of your personal emotions.
The last two – social awareness and relationship management controls your social competence because they involve comprehending the emotions of people around you and effectively manage your interactions with them.
In conclusion, low emotional intelligence is not the end of the world. Not when you are determined to see it grow and improve. But the foundation of all the four core areas is self-awareness – it sets the pace for the development of other areas. The journey to increasing your emotional intelligence starts with YOU – it does not start by pointing fingers, it starts by going inside out.
For further reading on Emotional Intelligence, you can check the following books: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
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