The last blog looked at Emotional Intelligence (EI) is and its effects on future employee suitability. EI is an individual’s capacity to recognise their own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately. EI uses emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour and to manage and adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve goals.
EI is a different way of being smart. It is a competency of star performers, which require some degree of skill in the realm of feeling, a sharp contrast to some cognitive abilities of programmed machinery.
Of the 4 areas of EI, we will focus on Social Skills based on the Ability Model. We will attempt to explore deeper into this area and bring out what this means to our growth and success. Ability Model places a lot of emphasis on processing information of an emotion nature to a wider cognition.
This is a new intelligence, the knowledge of emotions, and the ability to use it to influence others, as well as yourself. It sounds manipulative, but it’s the simple understanding that ‘smiling at people makes them smile back. This is an emotional act of reason and understanding, that responds and solicits a response from people, the environment, and day-to-day circumstances.
The Ability Model covers 4 distinct areas of IE, namely:
EMOTIONAL PERCEPTION – this first step of understanding emotions, to accurately perceive them. In many instances, this may involve understanding the nonverbal as well as the verbal gestures, such as body language, facial expressions, voice and tone of the voice. This includes the individual’s ability to recognise their emotional perceptions as well. As a matter of fact, the inability of people on the autism disorder spectrum with learning social cues is related to the limited ability to interpret emotions of others through their expressions. They lack the ability to ‘read’ facial and body language expressions of others that communicate feelings.
REASONING WITH EMOTIONS – this step uses emotions to promote thinking and cognitive ability. Emotions play a big part in decision making. They must be considered each time, thinking, and problem-solving take place. In practical terms, a child who knows emotions impact the outcome of a decision will plot when and what time to ask for permission from their parent. They know that when their parent is angry, stressed out and anxious, they are less likely to get a successful outcome when they seek for permission. However, when they use any goodwill their parent has to their advantage, they are more likely to get a successful outcome.
UNDERSTANDING EMOTIONS – emotions convey lots of information. This skill is built on the complexity of emotions. While many people have the ability to interpret basic emotional expressions, few have the nuance to recognise and understand emotional language. Appreciating that the emotions we perceive carry a wide variety of meaning helps us understand the emotional wellbeing of others and why it has occurred. The degree of understanding such a wide range of emotions includes the ability to perceive the shades of emotional states that exist, how different emotions interact with each and evolve over time. For instance, a message of anger may mean that an individual is treated unfairly. Understanding emotional states and the associated actions is an important aspect of this skill.
MANAGING EMOTIONS – this skill relates to the ability (or lack thereof) to regulate emotions in both themselves and others. Managing emotions at the highest level of the Ability Model and someone with high EI is expected to ‘manipulate’ the moods of themselves and others to achieve their goals. While emotional manipulation has a negative feel to it, used in a very positive way, it can serve important purposes. For example, a supervisor may recognise that an employee is struggling with something emotionally and its affecting their work. A pep-talk, heart-to-heart conversation may help motivate the employee by meeting their emotional needs. This example of emotional manipulation is positive both for the individual and the solving the problem of an ineffective worker.