February 12

EI Explored – What’s In It For Me?

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For the next several weeks, we will explore the role of emotional intelligence in every aspect of our lives. EI or EQ, emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (the measure of EI), burst on to the scene in the last 30 years. Original thoughts were that EI is simply another fad that would die down after it had its time in the spotlight. Nothing could have been further from the truth. But why?

Why is EI important?

To answer the question of why EI (emotional intelligence skills and competencies) is important, a good start would be to look at quotes from respected sources:

Notable Quotes

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.” 

~Robert K. Cooper. Ph.D.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” ~ Dale Carnegie

“75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.” ~ The Center for Creative Leadership

"Only through managing our emotions can we access our intellect and our technical competence. An emotionally competent person performs better under pressure.” ~ Dave Lennick, Executive VP, American Express Financial Advisers

"In general, the higher a position in an organization, the more EI mattered: for individuals in leadership positions, 85 percent of their competencies were in the EI domain.”~ Daniel Goleman

“Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.” ~ J. Freedman

These are just a few quotes that speak to the role and importance of EI in our lives. The common theme, that EI is the skill set most predictive of success and satisfaction.

The understanding of EI has come a long way since the original research. We know what specific parts of the brain (the Limbic System) generate emotions and how that process works.

Recent research and case studies have confirmed that EQ is 2-4 times more predictive of success than IQ. It does not replace IQ, but it is more impactful on our success and satisfaction in life and work. Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and just about every other major publication (business and personal) has published on the importance of EQ skills in our life and work.

EI Foundations

There are different models of EI, but the most utilized has 5 components of EI. The five categories of emotional intelligence are key components that contribute to a person's ability to manage emotions and interact effectively with others. Here's a brief overview of each:

  1. Self-Awareness: This involves understanding one's own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values, and motives. People who are self-aware are conscious of how their feelings affect them, other people, and their job performance.
  2. Self-Regulation: This refers to the ability to control or redirect disruptive emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances. It involves managing one's emotional reactions and responding to situations in a socially acceptable manner.
  3. Motivation: In the context of emotional intelligence, motivation is a passion to work for reasons beyond money or status. It's about being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement. It includes setting goals and showing initiative and readiness to act on opportunities.
  1. Empathy: This is the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. It involves being aware of others' feelings and needs and considering them in decision-making. Empathy is crucial in managing relationships, listening, and relating to others.
  2. Social Skills: This category includes a wide range of skills such as effective communication, managing relationships, inspiring others, and inducing desirable responses in them. People with strong social skills are often team players who can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

These components work together to enable individuals to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions while also empathizing with and influencing the emotions of others.

EI for Life & Work

With these definitions in mind, we can see how EI touches every part of our lives. Every decision, every action, every interaction will be impacted by our emotions, even when we think we are very logical and rational people. Remember this quote from earlier:

"Only through managing our emotions can we access our intellect and our technical competence. An emotionally competent person performs better under pressure.” ~ Dave Lennick, Executive VP, American Express Financial Advisers

Emotions can either be de-railers or they can be accelerators. Increasing EI competencies and skills allows us to use emotions as a strategic resource. To dive deeper into this and the EI connection with soft skills, see "The Secret to Great Soft Skills".

The title of this article stated the question, "What's in it for me?" Let me conclude this by answering that question.

We face challenges in our world today that demand more of people than ever before. The question is, "Will you have the internal resources to meet those challenges and achieve what you desire?" The answer to that question could be yes through developing EI competencies and skills. The outcome of that growth:

  • Greater agility
  • Increased resilience
  • Better decision making
  • Being more intentional more often
  • Having greater internal motivation
  • Approaching life with enhanced optimism
  • Being better able to navigate your own emotions and the emotions of others
  • Increased awareness of how you are impacting other people and how to get better outcomes

What's in it for you? Very simply a more successful and satisfying life. Does that sound good to you? If this sounds like a journey you would like to take, reach out to us.


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