I was very fortunate to attend recently a presentation about emotional intelligence by the amazing Sarah Yip who is an Australian based executive coach. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a much talked about topic. It has increasingly become accepted that emotional intelligence is an important factor in our success and happiness, not only at work, but in our relationships and all areas of our lives.
So what is emotional intelligence and why is it so important. As per Wikipedia “emotional intelligence is defined as the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).” In other words emotional intelligence is how you understand your own emotions and the emotions of others.
A person is considered to have good emotional intelligence if they can recall between 15-25 different emotions during the course of the day. That’s a lot of emotions to be identified and named.
The idea of emotional intelligence became widely known after the publication of Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ in 1995. I have been told that it is a worthwhile read although hard to follow at times.
There are various models that have been developed to measure EQ. One of the models is the GENOS model developed in the late 1990s by Dr Ben Palmer and his academic colleagues at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia.
The GENOS model involves six core skills as seen in the blue circle below. The outer circle defines your behaviour when you perform high in this skill. The inner circle displays your behaviour when you are low in this skill. For example if you have very low self-awareness you will appear as disconnected to other people as oppose to being present.
The real benefits in understanding emotional intelligence is that you can consciously make changes to improve each of these skills. They are not personality traits; rather they are behaviourally based and with hard work and good coaching everyone can improve them in monumental ways.
Something else I learned during Sarah’s presentation is that anger is actually a secondary emotion, which is preceded by at least four other emotions. In other words by the time we burst out in anger, there have been at least four warning emotions which would have prevented or dampened the outburst if identified on time. Does this sound familiar to parents of little children? It’s amazing how much our emotional intelligence improves just by mindful parenting. So next time your little one has an angry melt down, think about what is happening at present and how much you are training your EQ right now.
- Subscribe to Fast company which regularly posts about EQ
- Six Thinking Hats by Edward Bono (a popular book on the idea of parallel thinking which is now used in schools in at least 20 countries)
- Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal