How emotionally intelligent is your partner?
That’s a tricky question to answer. Whether it’s your life partner, work partner, friends or yourself it’s really hard to gauge emotional intelligence (EI) levels. What we do know is that people with heightened EI tend to be better communicators, more successful in their careers and are better placed to handle the inevitable ups and downs of life. This takes a minute to read and by the end you should have a more clear idea of what EI is and how to build it.
Back in the 80s and 90s the godfathers of emotional intelligence research, Mayers, Salovey and Caruso developed a definition for emotional which has been generally accepted within the academic, coaching and business community. They defined EI as the ability to problem solve by staying open to emotions. In order to stay open to information that emotions are telling us we needed to be able to recognise, understand, use and manage emotions effectively.
The good news is that we can all get better at EI with practice. EI profiling and coaching enables us to not only appreciate difference but provides us with the practical tools to help teams to communicate and work in an effective way.
Emotions at work
When it comes to the workplace we understand that emotions arise in others and ourselves for a reason. It may be that someone or something is getting in the way of us achieving our goals. When this happens we may choose to lash out or we can take a deep breathe and observe the emotions as they arise. In this moment of self-reflection we become empowered. This moment’s pause gives us choices:
- In that brief pause we may be able to see the bigger picture and appreciate that the person in front of us is not the cause of our problems but part of the solution;
- We may realise that we still feel aggrieved by the persons actions but in that brief pause we are able to regulate our emotions and explain clearly and calmly why we feel aggrieved;
- We may also realise that this is not the time for confrontation but that a clear conversation will need to be had with the person when the time is right for both of you and you are both open to each others perspectives;
- Or we may also realise that the thing that we thought aggrieved us is simply not important.
That brief pause also enables us to be less reactive and access the wisdom from our professional training, our personal experiences, our procedural experiences, our personality and our intuition. There is a great quote by the Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
How often in life do we look back and wish we had taken that brief pause. People with heightened levels of emotional intelligence are well placed to integrate important information, that emotional signals are sending them with, other areas of stored knowledge. They learn that they can pause and learn to act from a place of strength, authenticity and calmness
Measuring and developing EI - What is the MSCEIT test?
The ability to recognise, use, understand and manage emotions is key to success in all walks of life. The Mayer, Salovey, Caruso EI test (MSCEIT) measures EI and gives a tailored report on a persons ability in each of these four areas.
The test is an online measure of ability, which takes about 40 minutes to complete. It gives a score, which compares the participants to a normal distribution of results. 100 is at the middle of the normal distribution and the participant receives a score for each of the following four areas:
The Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence
- Recognising Emotions: The ability to perceive emotions in oneself and others as well as in objects, art, stories, music, and other stimuli
- Facilitating Thought: The ability to generate, use, and feel emotion as necessary to communicate feelings or employ them in other cognitive processes
- Understanding Emotions: The ability to understand emotional information, to understand how emotions combine and progress through relationship transitions, and to appreciate such emotional meanings
- Managing Emotions: The ability to be open to feelings, and to modulate them in oneself and others so as to promote personal understanding and growth
Once you have this feedback we can then use evidenced based coaching techniques which are based upon the latest neuroscience coaching research to develop and enhance these areas
EI for you and your team
I've recently completed a two month EI project with AIMS and currently work with PwC , Cameron and Co and Ozcare in Townsville. If you want to take the test or your interested in developing EI in your team let me know.
In Australia the details are at MSCEIT profiling Australia
In the UK the details are at MSCEIT profiling UK