Oct 092012

Can Emotional Intelligence Make Us Smarter Than Intellect Alone?

To the ancient Romans sensus communis meant common sense, humanity, and sensibility, which included the full use of the senses, the heart, and intuition. Today’s business runs on brainpower, but to compete effectively it must incorporate another important aspect of intelligence often untapped. This additional resource is better known as “emotion,” the vastly overlooked fuel that drives the brain’s higher reasoning power. In many workplaces today, productive workers are being thwarted or sabotaged by the lack of or gaps in emotional intelligence within themselves, their bosses, or others around them.

People can be successful in their chosen profession if they learn the importance of emotional intelligence and allow it to play a role in maximizing emotional and social functioning. It has been demonstrated that those with higher Emotional Intelligence (EI) are more likely to perform at higher levels than their less emotionally intelligent peers or co-workers.

We can improve our emotional intelligence through training and assessments. Research has also shown that emotional intelligence can predict effective transformational leadership skills and leadership performance.

However, in order to improve our emotional skills and abilities, we have to recognize our strengths and those areas that require improvement. The Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment (EISA) is one program that measures these strengths and areas for improvement.

The five EISA factors are:

  1. Perceiving
  2. Managing
  3. Decision – making
  4. Achieving
  5. Influencing

Perceiving emotion is the ability to accurately recognize, attend to, and understand emotion. Having the ability to perceive information about other people starts with being aware of emotional signals, accurately identifying and defining them, and applying them to a given situation.

Managing emotions is the ability to effectively manage, control, and express emotions. It is a skill that allows us to evaluate, and adequately control our emotions in order to function effectively.

Decision-making using emotion is the appropriate application to manage, change, and solve problems. The appraisal of our emotions affects the intensity of our mood, and can influence our thoughts and behaviors.

Achieving emotion is the ability to generate the necessary emotions to self-motivate in the pursuit of realistic meaningful objectives. People who use their emotions to achieve their goals are often motivated to succeed and spend less emotional energy and time thinking about failure.

Influencing emotion is the ability to recognize, manage, and evoke emotion within oneself and others to promote change. Emotions can play a role in creating and maintaining social relationships. This can be evident in our capacity to evoke emotions in other people.

Each of the five dimensions above can be developed or improved upon to maximize one’s performance. Taking an Emotional Intelligence Skill Assessment can provide insight into your level of professional emotional and social functioning.

The EISA is an assessment tool I am incorporating into my coaching programs for my clients. With feedback from managers, peers, direct reports and others, the assessment can be used to understand one’s own emotions, stay abreast of the emotions of others, demonstrate empathy and the difference between emotions. We then use developmental exercises to improve EI skills and develop a goal-setting plan.

Those who use emotional intelligence in their workplace and their personal lives can identify skills they can rely on during times of heightened stress, and identify areas for improvement. The appropriate use of your emotional intelligence can significantly improve your job performance.


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