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EI in a world with crowded emotions

Ayoola Sosan Written by Ayoola Sosan · 2 min read >

Have you met people who are always in control of their emotions no matter the situation or people who can read the emotions of others? They are always so calm in a crisis and make decisions with caution. They understand what to say to make people feel better, and they know how to motivate people to take action. People who can do this are said to have emotional intelligence.

In one of the brush up sessions in school, I did a self-assessment exercise to identify my emotional intelligence (EI) level and the result was quite interesting. Let me be honest, there was nothing interesting about my score. I was quite disappointed in myself when I got my result. I mean, this is not the first time I have taken such a test. My previous employment was majorly in capacity development. My disappointment came about because I had the opportunity to take several EI tests and learn from EI experts. However, before I share with you my result and what I intend to do about it, allow me to indulge in some interesting takeaways I got from that EI session in class as well as some additional findings.

The key to managing emotions

Currently, the population of the world is over 7 billion people and research says the average person will meet at least 10,000 people in their lifetime. This means that to thrive in this world, we have to interact successfully with at least 10,000 emotional expressions at different points in our lives. Even your emotions can sometimes be all over the place. Moody today, joyful tomorrow, sad in the morning or excited at noon. So the question is, in a world with crowded emotions, how do I manage my emotions and those of others? I am happy to tell you that emotional intelligence is the key.

Emotional Intelligence

In class, it was simply stated as “the capacity to perceive, control and express one’s emotions and to decode and respond appropriately to the emotions of others.” Psychologist Daniel Goleman described EI as a cluster of skills and competencies. These competencies are:

  1. Self-awareness: Ability to perceive your emotions and understand your tendencies across situations.
  2. Self-management: Ability to use your emotional awareness to control your emotions and direct your behaviour.
  3. Social awareness: Ability to pick up emotions in others and in your environment, and understand what is happening.
  4. Relationship management: Ability to use self and social awareness to manage interactions and develop others.

The benefits of EI

There are many benefits to Emotional intelligence, but here are just a few:

  1. It helps improve networking and interpersonal relationship skills.
  2. Leaders become authentic communicators and inspirers.
  3. Aids an employee in moving to a leadership position faster.
  4. Creates a positive environment.
  5. Reduces workplace stress.

Building your emotional intelligence

There are several ways to build EI. Below are key steps you can engage in:

  1. Keep your stress level under control.
  2. Get more sleep.
  3. Engage in sports and exercise more.
  4. Manage your anger.
  5. Be flexible with your thoughts and feelings.
  6. Engage in effective communication.
  7. Express gratitude.

How Emotionally Intelligent Am I?

As promised to discuss earlier, the self-assessment I took was based on the 4 competencies I listed earlier. I had a low score in relationship management and a high score in social awareness. The instructor advised that I develop my relationship management skills and also consider strengthening my social awareness. To improve my EI, I have decided to start small by being intentional in three areas:

  1. Develop active listening skills.
  2. Practice empathy.
  3. Learn to recognize emotions in others.

On LinkedIn learning, I found some short courses on the above that I intend to take.

My Advice

If you want to boost your people skills and have peace of mind in this dynamic world, aim to be emotionally intelligent. Many companies now consider emotional intelligence during the hiring process, so you might not have a choice if you want to get to the top.

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