Currently, in the professional world, emotional intelligence is becoming a required skill if one must thrive. It is no longer enough to just have a sterling certificate and grades. Institutions and the society at large looks out for people that are aware of their emotions, manage these emotions, and understand how others feel as well.
Lots of people are puzzled about the growing expectation to be emotionally intelligent. Some people think it is a trend or a buzzword that will take its toll and die out like others but that is hardly the case.
Many research have been conducted to determine the importance of working with emotionally intelligent people and otherwise and the results are clear. Emotionally intelligent people positively affect the outcome of situations, objectives, their lives, and the lives of those around them.
An emotionally intelligent person is more productive and motivated than a person who lacks the skills of emotional intelligence. The important thing to understand about emotional intelligence is that it is a skill and like any other skill in the world, it can be learned, developed, and applied to the full extent of its merits.
The Classifications of Emotional Intelligence are specific areas of emotional intelligence that when developed improves the overall outcome of a person’s response and management of their emotions and that of others.
There are five main categories of emotional intelligence and they include the following;
- Self-awareness: The very first thing emotional intelligence demands of us is the ability or skill to discern what we are feeling. Recognizing and making sense of what we are feeling and why we are feeling that way is only half of the catch. The other half is about how our emotions are affecting other people. Our emotions do not just affect us rather it has lots of impact on others as well. Self-awareness is like a self-check. When you are self-aware you know what makes you react a certain way. You understand what motivates you, what brings out empathy and lots of other feelings.
- Self-regulation: it is one thing to identify and understand what one is feeling and the consequence or impact of those feelings on others but it is also another thing to be able to manage or control the outcome of the negative emotions. Our emotions often need to be regulated and it is up to us to regulate it so that we do not have conflicts with not just others but ourselves too.
- Motivation: The type of motivation that comes from “self” is the best kind of motivation. The goal of self-motivation is to gain internal or personal satisfaction or gratification. Most people find motivation from external validation and praise. Self-motivation is like a light that does not burn out easily.
- Empathy: The feelings of others matter and our ability to respect this is very important. Empathy is the ability to perceive and understand the feelings of others, and put such feelings into consideration before responding to any situation. With a good understanding of how empathy works, we can understand people and have better relationships with them.
- Social Skills: the sum total of the skills involved in managing the emotions of other people and using this knowledge and skill to foster better relationships and interactions is what is known as social skills. Social skills are most evident in non-verbal and verbal communication.
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
The value or importance of emotional intelligence cannot be over-emphasized. The lack of emotional intelligence often results in conflict and stressful situations. Some of the benefits of emotional intelligence include the following;
- Developing and sustaining meaningful human relationships
- Developed empathy, cooperation with others in social and work situations
- It ensures the management of personal emotions through self-awareness improves overall physical health
- Emotional intelligence helps to deal with chronic stress which could lead to anxiety, anger and depression as well as other severe medical conditions..
- Emotional intelligent people are easily motivated to carry out the work that needs to be done at a particular time
- It guarantees enhanced and effective communication with oneself and others.
- Emotional intelligence is a prerequisite in excelling in certain professions like nursing, management roles, service industry, hospitality management and other such jobs that require dealing with people on a personal level.
How to Improve your Emotional Intelligence Skills
Emotional intelligent people are often described as having ‘people’ skills. This is probably because it is often measured and judged by interactions and association with other people. Emotional intelligence aims to improve the quality of the relationships you have with yourself and other people. Chances are you have heard or read a lot about emotional intelligence but have never really been guided properly on the ways to acquire the skills and improve on your emotional intelligence. So how can you do it effortlessly? Follow us as we show you the steps.
The first step is to pay attention to how you react to other people. You must observe if you are the kind of person that rushes to a conclusion or judgment without having all the information and facts in a situation. Notice if you are often quick to pack people in a box by stereotyping them.
This first step has a lot to do with learning about yourself and honestly appraising yourself and your reaction to other people. It is as easy as objectively thinking back to previous encounters you have had with others and how those encounters played out in the end. You must be able to accept with complete honesty whatever it is you find to be your reaction to others before you can begin to take any further steps.
The next step is to observe how you react to changes in your immediate environment, place of work, school, family and in your social circle. You must look to find if you seek external validation from others for your work, your abilities, your achievement, and your actions. A good step toward improving emotional intelligence is to adopt the virtue of humility even when you have achieved so much.
Humility creates a welcoming environment that allows others to easily work and associate with you. Humility shows that you are calmly confident of the things you have achieved. It is a solid personality trait that would make other people feel comfortable around you. Lack of humility is repulsive and wards people off. Fewer things are a sign of the lack of emotional intelligence.
Another important step to improve your emotional intelligence is to take emotional intelligence tests or evaluations. These tests are designed to help you find out your weaknesses and strengths. It will expose your flaws which you should try to work on to improve your emotional intelligence and also point you to your strength so that you can stand on them to make the most of situations.
The tests are often private so no one else can see your performance, so it is up to you to use the test result to improve your emotional intelligence. However, the answers to the tests must be completely honest if you must trust the results.
How do you react when you are stressed? It is easy to keep a cool head when you are not in stressful situations. Knowing how you react when you are under pressure or when things are not going your way is very important. The ability to manage or regulate your actions or decisions in these situations is priceless.
You must avoid blaming other people for your failure, you must keep your wits about you and always find the path to the best possible outcome in such situations, and in a worst-case scenario, choose to do nothing if your actions might escalate the situation.
How do you react when you are hurt due to the consequences of your actions? Do you take responsibility then work toward making things better? When you hurt people’s feelings or you are clearly in the wrong, it is best to first accept responsibility. Deflecting and blaming others or even becoming combative is hardly the way to go. Avoiding or ignoring the people you have wronged is not the best solution either. An emotionally intelligent person are not scared to admit their faults and take necessary actions to make things better.
Summarily, the easiest way to practice emotional intelligence in most situations where your actions affect others or their actions affect you is to put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel or what would you do if the table turned. It is easier to measure the extent of your reaction when you understand how others feel by mentally putting yourself in their position.
Emotional intelligence takes time to build. Do not become frustrated when you find yourself making mistakes on your journey towards developing and improving the skill. It takes time just as it takes time to learn and become good at any other skill. However, ensure that you keep practicing it as much as you can in your workplace, school, home, and social circles.
See the tools and resources you need to build your emotional intelligence.