Monday, 27 June 2016

Emotional Intelligence ...the new buzzword in academia and corporate world

Aristotle father of the field of logic, and a student of Plato once said...

‘Anyone can become angry ...that is easy. But to be angry with the right person to the right degree at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way, that is not easy’

...our best intentions can be undermined by our inability to subdue destructive and self-defeating emotional impulses. An individual’s inability to rein over their emotional impulses and ‘read’ another’s inner emotional states (feelings) can ruin their personal, professional, relational, financial, physical, and social aspects of their lives. But an understanding of the mechanics of emotion, some knowledge on the complex world of feelings and clarity on the previously unexplored continent of emotional states can help us know how to channel feelings in intelligent ways. Ignorance of how to handle emotions makes individuals lose their temper as easily and unintentionally as they would lose a pen. But, with emerging subject matter on Emotional Intelligence (EQ), it is possible to be poised during perplexing moments, to choose relaxation over rage and to shake off our sullen shells and have joyful moments when being gloomy would be understood.

It was Daniel Goleman, previously a New York Times Reporter, and Harvard educated-PhD in Psychology, who first introduced the term, Emotional Intelligence to the larger global population. He defines Emotional Intelligence as the “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”Ever since the publication of his book; ‘Emotional Intelligence, Why it matters more than IQ’,(1995), Emotional intelligence has become so popular that some schools, especially in the west, have adapted it as part of the curriculum to help children improve their self-awareness and confidence, manage disruptive emotional states, be empathetic, improve academic performance and in behaviour modification.

Coming at a time when success in life was thought to unquestionably depend on one’s IQ, EQ
provided an alternative way of thinking about excellence in life. The phrase, emotional intelligence has since found its way in the most unlikely places as in cartoon scripts (Dilbert and Zippy the Pinhead). Its recognition surpassing what Daniel Goleman envisioned, He says that students in high schools, business students in college, and religious leaders, from Judaism to Christianity, all seem to have suddenly gotten interest in EQ or EI as it is also frequently abbreviated. IQ, as depicted is the photo to the right is only but a tip of the iceberg, the real mountain is below the sea!

This concept has not been left out by the businesses and corporate world. Managers and business people have learned that the enormous challenges facing their human resource can be remedied by the EQ concept, if they are to compete in the ever evolving global market. For example, building good relationships with peers, subordinates, superiors and clients is vital for business and corporate development. This is best achieved through developing EQ within the human resource.

According to the Harvard Business review, high levels of Emotional Intelligence positively  impacts the areas of leadership, and should therefore incorporated as part of employee development (a form of adult education). According to this review, EI is hailed as “a ground-breaking, paradigm-shattering idea, one of the most influential business ideas of the decade”

Helping people learn Emotional Intelligence is therefore crucial. Low levels of EI have been associated with under performance, substance abuse, and failures in relationships. These correlations pointed to possibilities in this concept to be used in personal development. Compounded with Social intelligence, it become Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Skills or abilities, which now forms part of a comprehensive curriculum in some schools in early elementary years. Helping students accurately label and recognize their emotions, and how those emotions lead, and inform their actions. In this respect, at elementary years, kids are helped to develop the ability to identify nonverbal clues on the feelings of another person, and at Junior high, develop the capability to identify what creates stress for them, and what motivates peak performance for them. This has been found t be so critical that in 2002, a worldwide initiative was started by UNESCO to promote SEL across 140 countries.

(UNESCO statement of ten basic principles for implementing SEL to the ministries of education in 140 countries)
The SEL program among children was found to help prevent bullying, drug abuse, violence and other forms of delinquency in among school going children, and acted also as a performance improvement strategy. SEL skills therefore pay off not only in increased empathy, good behavior, but also in improved performance.
In the corporate world, companies are now looking through the lens of EI when recruiting, retaining, promoting or engaging in capacity development for their personnel, and team building. Talent Smart have shown that 90% of peak performers have a high EI, while 80% of low performers posses a low EI.
Further, EI ‘helps in formation, development, maintenance, and enhancement of close personal relationships. And unlike IQ which remains almost constant over lifetime, EQ improves and keeps on evolving as we ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE and GROW
According to the Ability Model of EI, Salovey and Mayer’s have over a long period of study revised the definition of EI to "The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth,” and later evolved into "the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions, to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth." 

According to this definition, it is important to have the four abilities to,-

*      Perceive emotions, - identify one’s own emotions, and also identify emotions in pictures, voices, faces, or cultural representations. It is this ability that is key in emotional intelligence as it helps in processing all other contents of the emotions

*      Using Emotions, - effective thinking, decision making and problem solving requires one to be able to control emotions in a manner that they make such cognitive process possible.

*      Understanding Emotions, - One needs to cultivate the ability to grasp the complicated relationships among emotions. This involves one’s ability to comprehend and monitor the ways in which emotions evolve, and therefore be sensitive to the slight variations.

*      Managing Emotions, - Regulating emotions is two way. We regulate our emotions and those of others to achieved intended ojectives.

According to the Mixed Model introduced by Goleman, EI is portrayed as a wide array of skills and competences that drive optimum performance. 
The main constructs of this model are:-

v  Self-awareness

v  Self-regulation

v  Social Skills

v  Empathy

v  Motivation

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