News | May 7, 2018

Emotional Intelligence

By Dr. Robert Boggs DLA Land and Maritime People and Culture

If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. ― Daniel Goleman

There is a direct connection between emotions and relationship management. If relationship management was Intelligence Quotient (IQ) driven, the smartest among us would also be the very best at relationship management and we know that isn’t the case. The real connection to relationship management comes to us through our Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence describes an ability or capacity to perceive and assess our emotions and the emotions of others. Emotions have the potential to help or hinder our relationships. This makes sense when we understand that our emotions are rooted in core feelings such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear and shame.

Our actions can and are often dictated by the intensity of our emotions. Studies have shown that the majority of people are typically controlled by their emotions. Bradberry and Greaves in their book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 point out that Emotional Intelligence accounts for 58 percent of our performance in all types of jobs with a positive link to earnings.

Emotional Intelligence is based upon personal and social competencies. Personal competence focuses on the individual and awareness of their emotions and their ability to manage both behaviors and tendencies.

Those who can accurately perceive their own emotions and understand their tendencies across situations are said to be self-aware. Being self-aware means we understand why we do the things we do. Studies show that self-awareness leads to increased satisfaction with life and an increased likelihood of reaching personal goals.

Are you the same person you were one, five or 10 years ago? Probably not! The self-awareness journey we’re on requires honest self-reflection and courage. The self-awareness journey has been compared to peeling back the layers of an onion. Each layer leads us to a better understanding of who we are. Once we know who we are, we can then begin to better know and understand others. We become aware of our emotions by paying attention to our physical reaction to emotional events. Why do we react the way we do? According to Bradberry and Greaves, the following partial list of techniques can move us towards greater self-awareness:

  • Quit Treating Your Feelings as Good or Bad
  • Observe the Ripple Effect from Your Emotions
  • Feel Your Emotions Physically
  • Know Who and What Pushes Your Buttons
  • Keep a Journal About Your Emotions
  • Stop and Ask Yourself Why You Do the Things You Do
  • Visit Your Values
  • Seek Feedback
  • Get to Know Yourself Under Stress

Social competence focuses on our ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviors and motives in order to improve the quality of our relationships. To be socially competent we must have social awareness. This is our ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what’s really going on with them. This often means perceiving what other people are thinking and feeling even if we don’t feel the same way.

Social awareness is the skill to recognize and understand the moods of other individuals and entire groups of people. Instead of looking inward to learn about and understand our self, social awareness is looking outward to learn about and appreciate others. Social awareness provides a more accurate view of our surroundings, which affects everything from relationships to the bottom line.

Bradberry and Greaves provide the following strategies for greater social awareness:

  • Greet People by Name
  • Watch Body Language
  • Practice the Art of Listening
  • Understand the Rules of the Culture Game
  • Step Into Their Shoes
  • Seek the Whole Picture
  • Catch the Mood of the Room

We can increase our Emotional Intelligence through awareness and improvement efforts. Being aware of our emotions and the emotions of others increases the likelihood of successful and mutually beneficial relationships.