What is Emotional Intelligence and why does it matter?

Posted by insitemind on February 12th, 2016

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is our ability to understand, manage, and effectively express our feelings, as well as to understand, engage and navigate successfully with the feelings of others.

According to Talent Smart, 90% of high performers in the work place possess high Emotional Intelligence whilst a staggering 80% of low performers have low emotional intelligence. Therefore having a high emotional intelligence is key to our performance.

Unlike intellectual intelligence, which does not change significantly over a lifetime, our emotional intelligence can evolve and increase with our desire to learn and grow.

Why does Emotional Intelligence Matter?

Some of our basic brain functions are a result of two brain areas working together at all times. They consult each other to determine our behavioural response. These systems are our Prefrontal Lobe which houses our rational brain and our Limbic System where or emotions are produced.

Everything we see, feel, smell, taste, hear and touch travels through our body in the form of electric signals, to end up at the prefrontal lobe where rational thinking takes place. They pass through the Limbic System along the way, the place where emotions are produced. This journey ensures we experience things emotionally before our reason can kick into gear.

The rational area of our brain can’t stop the emotion it felt by the Limbic System but the areas influence each other and maintain constant communication. The communication between the two brains is the physical source of emotional intelligence.

As we are wired to be emotional beings, our first reaction to an event is always going to be an emotional one. We can’t control this, however we do have control over the thoughts that follow an emotion and we have a great deal of say in how we react to an emotion once we are aware of it.

Understanding the 4 skills

Emotional intelligence is our ability to recognise our emotions in ourselves and others and our ability to use this awareness to manage our behaviour in relationships.

There are four skills to master in Emotional Intelligence and these skills are summarised into two categories. These categories are Self Competence and Social Competence.

Self competence houses our self awareness and self management. These focus on us individually and is our ability to stay aware of our emotions and manage our behaviour and tendencies. Emotions always serve a purpose. They are the reactions to our own life experience and they always come from somewhere. Understanding why they arise and why they get a reaction can keep us from doing things we will regret. Self awareness is about developing an honest understanding of what makes us tick.

People high in self awareness are remarkably clear in their understanding of what they do well. What motivates and satisfies them and which people in situations push their buttons.

Our self management is what happens when we act or do not act. It is dependent on our self awareness. When we are aware of our emotions we can stay flexible and direct our behaviour positively.

The second category of Emotional Intelligence is Social Competence. This houses our social awareness and relationship management. It is our ability to accurately pick up emotions in other people and really understand what is going on with them. This often means perceiving what other people are thinking and feeling even if we do not feel the same way.

Our relationship management is our ability to use our awareness of our own emotions and those of others to manage our actions successfully. This ensures clear communication and effective handling of conflict. It is also the bond we build with others over time. People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those they are not fond of.

INSITE MIND offers a program designed to improve your emotional intelligence through mentoring sessions and online education topics.

Call us today to find out if you qualify for this course.

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