Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a person’s ability to perceive, assess, and manage their own emotions as well as that of others around them. In essence, it is a person’s capacity to interpret emotions both internally and externally, and then utilize this information as the basis for their next steps. In the workplace, those people who are said to be “emotionally intelligent” can control their emotions as well as that of others. Through this learned skill, an individual can apply his/her emotional intelligence at work to affect those around them to have a positive impact. This is particularly useful for leaders who must remain composed in the face of challenging situations.
Emotional intelligence is actually comprised of five basic components that include both intra-personal and interpersonal categories:
1) Self-awareness: This refers to the ability to not only identify but also comprehend your own emotional state and utilize this information to shape your subsequent actions. For example, a self-aware person who is depressed will not only know they are depressed, but also the cause of the depression, and use this knowledge to decide his or her next step.
2) Self-regulation: This refers to the capability to control or even refocus one’s disruptive moods and urges. Once under control, an individual can master his/her emotions.
3) Motivation: This involves an individual’s innate passion for work. One’s inner motivation for his/her work is manifested in the pursuit of goals/objectives, and can be utilized to produce positive change.
4) Empathy: This component deals with the capacity to identify with what another person is feeling and to see life from their perspective. By achieving this level of understanding, one can better deal with people according to their emotional reaction(s) and help them reach a more positive state.
5) Social Skill: This deals with the individual’s skillfulness in managing relationships and creating networks. This particular skill requires one to exhibit compassion for others as well as sincere emotional interest for their well-being. In addition, one must demonstrate the ability to find common ground and compromise in the name of teamwork.
By better managing one’s emotions at work, one can more easily maintain the professional relationships that are so vital for collaborating and performing well on the job.