April 1

Enhancing Emotional Literacy


EQ in Action

We are on a journey of understanding emotional intelligence (EI). We started by looking at the major categories of emotional intelligence: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Now we can dive deeper into the individual competencies of EI and how those can be learned and developed.  We begin by looking at the competency known as Enhancing Emotional Literacy.

I use the Six Seconds model of EI competencies. Why?

  1. Six Seconds is the largest emotional intelligence organization in the world.
  2. The competencies are easy to understand. This allows people to learn and grow them more rapidly.
  3. Their assessments have been used and validated with hundreds of thousands of unique individuals around the world.
  4. Their support materials, case studies, and resource library far exceeds that of any other EI focused organization.
 I have become certified in all of their assessments and practices, and have seen these change lives for the better for almost a decade.

The Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence, is broken down into 3 pursuits:

  • Self-Awareness: Be more aware, by clearly seeing what you feel and do
  • Choice: Be more intentional, by doing what you mean to do
  • Purpose: Be more purposeful, by doing it for a reason
KCG -Six Seconds Model

Note: The Six Seconds model contains 3 main categories of EI: Self-awareness (Know Yourself), Self-management (Choose Yourself), and Self-direction (Give Yourself). These are compatible with the 5 main category model that we have been exploring. Self-awareness = Self-awareness, Self-management = Self-regulation & Motivation, Self-direction = Empathy & Social Skills.

Enhance Emotional Literacy

Emotional literacy, integral to emotional intelligence, involves accurately identifying and understanding feelings. This competency is essential as emotions, which are neurotransmitters, act as a feedback system delivering crucial data that influences behavior and decisions. Emotional literacy allows for the effective interpretation of this data, offering profound insights into the core drivers of behavior and aiding in managing reactions.

One way I like to explain this competency is by comparing it to a library. There are over 34,000 unique emotions. Think of a library that holds many books. Now think of emotional literacy as the library in your brain that is filled with over 34,000 "books" about those emotions. Just like a book, knowing the title is only the first step in understanding emotions and how they impact you and others. The more you "read the book" on that emotion, the more easily you can identify, understand, and know what to do with that specific emotion.

Emotional literacy is about becoming a student of emotions and how they impact you and others. It is a key component of self-awareness. The greater your emotional literacy, the more adept you can become in navigating different emotional environments. This is critical to enhancing success and satisfaction in life and work.

Measuring EI Competencies

 The first step is to measure EI competencies. Without that, we are simply guessing at what they might be, and there is no way to create a viable pathway to developing and growing these competencies and skills. Here is what a sample report for these competencies looks like:

Low Scores in Emotional Literacy - Individuals with low emotional literacy might struggle to recognize their own emotions and those of others. This can lead to misinterpretations of social cues and impaired interpersonal relationships. A lack of emotional literacy hampers agility in adapting to changing emotional landscapes. These individuals may find it challenging to bounce back from emotional setbacks due to a poor understanding of their emotional responses. Leaders with low emotional literacy often face difficulties in empathizing with their team, leading to ineffective communication and leadership. This can result in decreased team morale and productivity.

High Scores in Emotional Literacy - High emotional literacy is characterized by a deep understanding of one's emotions and those of others. This leads to better communication, empathy, and interpersonal skills. High emotional literacy enhances an individual’s agility in emotional situations, allowing for quick adaptation to different interpersonal dynamics. It also fosters resilience, enabling effective coping mechanisms in stressful situations. Effective leaders with high emotional literacy can motivate and engage their teams more successfully. They understand team dynamics better and can foster a positive work environment, leading to increased performance and satisfaction.

Developing Emotional Literacy as a Competency & Skill

  • Recognize Your Emotions: Start by identifying and acknowledging your emotions as they occur. This can be done through regular self-reflection or maintaining an emotion diary.
  • Name Your Emotions: Learn to put a name to your feelings. This helps in acknowledging and accepting them, which is essential for emotional literacy [2].
  • Understand the Causes: Try to understand what triggers these emotions. Is it a specific situation, person, or a thought? Recognizing these triggers can help in managing reactions better.
  • Practice Empathy: Attempt to understand the emotions of others. This not only helps in improving interpersonal relationships but also gives insight into how emotions influence behavior [3].
  • Reflect on Your Responses: Analyze how you typically respond to certain emotions and consider if there are more constructive ways to handle them.
  • Seek Feedback: Get input from others on how they perceive your emotional responses. This can provide valuable insights into your emotional patterns [5].
  • Educate Yourself: Read books or take courses on emotional intelligence to deepen your understanding and learn new strategies.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Engaging in mindfulness or meditation can help in better recognizing and managing emotions.

Remember, like any skill, improving emotional literacy takes time and practice. It's okay to make mistakes along the way as long as you learn from them.

 Enhancing emotional literacy is the first competency in developing greater self-awareness. Building our "emotional library" becomes a valuable resource in every aspect of life and work. This competency increases effectiveness and mastery of a multitude of skills, increasing our success and satisfaction.

Copyright © 2024 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: info@gscfit.com.


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