Don’t take it personally, but in today’s world, more than ever, improving your Emotional Intelligence (EI, or also called EQ) can be the key to surviving and thriving in both your personal life and professional career.
Take Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an example. AI is undoubtedly changing the way we live and work, and it will most likely continue to do so in the future.
AI has the potential to create new industries and transform existing ones in many ways, including education (e.g. intelligent tutoring and personalised learning), customer service (e.g. chatbots), finance (e.g. data analysis), and transportation (e.g. self-driving cars and trucks), to name a few.
However, while AI can potentially provide many benefits and enhance our lives in many ways, it is important to recognise the unique qualities and abilities that we possess, in particular, our Emotional Intelligence skills.
After all, AI is programmed to follow a set of rules and patterns, and does not have the same level of flexibility that humans have, nor does it have emotions or the ability to empathise as we do.
So, what exactly is Emotional Intelligence?
To put it simply, Emotional intelligence is our ability to recognise, understand, and manage our own emotions, as well as to recognise and respond effectively to the emotions of others.
People with higher Emotional Intelligence are generally better able to regulate their own emotions and interpret situations more accurately.
Emotional intelligence plays a critical role in building strong relationships, managing conflicts, communicating effectively, and adapting to change - all of which are important in both personal and professional contexts.
One of the most widely recognised and researched models of Emotional Intelligence is the one developed by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in the 1990’s.
Their EI model is based on their research and observations of how people use emotions in their everyday lives.
The Mayer and Salovey Four-Branch Model of EI includes four fundamental emotion-related abilities: perceiving emotion, reasoning with emotion, understanding emotions, and managing emotions.
“Perceiving emotions” is about our ability to perceive and interpret our own emotions and that of others, and it includes our ability to recognise subtle changes in facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.
“Using our emotions” refers to our ability to harness emotions and use them to guide what we think and how we behave. For example, we are able to use feelings of enthusiasm and excitement to motivate ourselves, or use empathy and compassion to guide our understanding and decision-making process.
"Understanding emotions" involves our ability to understand the complex relationships between different emotions, including the causes and consequences of our emotional states, and the ways in which emotions can influence our thoughts and behaviour.
And last but not least, "managing emotions" is our ability to regulate our own emotions and to respond to the emotions of others in appropriate and effective ways. This is a key ability to help us manage stress, cope with challenging situations, and resolve conflicts.
The Mayer and Salovey Four-Branch Model of EI has helped us better understand the role that emotions play in our lives, and how we can develop skills to manage our emotions effectively.
Good leaders would generally understand the importance of Emotional Intelligence and would make a conscious effort to develop and strengthen their EI skills in order to lead more effectively.
If you come from the corporate world, and have experience managing teams, you have probably heard of the Four Quadrant Model of Emotional Intelligence developed by psychologist and author Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”.
The Four Quadrant Model of EI looks at four fundamental skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.
Goleman's book drew on research from a variety of fields, including psychology, neuroscience, and sociology, and presented a new perspective on the importance of emotions and social skills in personal and professional success.
As Goleman explains, "without Emotional Intelligence, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but they still won't make a great leader."
This quote emphasises the importance of EI in effective leadership, highlighting that even with strong technical skills and intelligence, leaders must also possess Emotional Intelligence in order to truly excel.
Let us see some examples of EI skills in leadership.
Leaders with a strong sense of "self-awareness" are generally better able to understand their own emotions and how they impact their decision-making and relationships with others.
In addition, leaders with strong EI skills are better able to "communicate" with and "influence" others, which is critical for effective leadership.
And most of all, leaders who are able to "empathise" with others are more likely to build strong relationships and foster a sense of trust among team members.
Empathy may, in fact, help with decision-making. Leaders who are empathetic are better able to consider and weigh the emotions and perspectives of all stakeholders involved as part of their decision-making process.
As the importance of Artificial Intelligence continues to grow, it has become increasingly vital to recognise and cultivate our Emotional Intelligence skills.
In a 2018 interview with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk emphasised the significance of Emotional Intelligence, stating that those with high EQs typically rise to leadership positions and perform better in life.
Moreover, Musk argued that Emotional Intelligence is essential for humans to maintain control over AI. He explained, "If you create something that is smarter than yourself, then you must be smarter than it, to control it."
Emotional Intelligence can help us develop ethical and moral considerations when working with AI systems, enabling us to make informed and empathetic decisions that consider the broader implications of our actions.
Overall, Emotional Intelligence can be crucial in navigating complex social and emotional situations, leading to greater success in our personal and professional lives.
Ultimately, Emotional Intelligence has the potential to be a game-changer for personal growth and development in today's world, as well as for the future of work.
Executive Trainer | Senior Project Manager | Organisational Change Manager
Would you like to learn more about developing your Emotional Intelligence skills?