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Emotional Intelligence 101

Alan Andersen

What exactly is Emotional Intelligence?  There are many definitions out there and because it is a fairly new discovery I think we are still settling on the best one.

I like simplicity so for me…emotional intelligence is the ability to label, understand and manage your own emotions first and then to perceive emotions and empathize with others.

Robert Cooper, author of Executive EQ, defined it this way, “emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity.”

Best Selling author of the top selling book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, labels the five emotional competencies:

1. Self Awareness: The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others.

2. Self Regulation: The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgment and think before acting.

3. Motivation: A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status and a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.

4. Empathy: The ability to understand the emotional make up of other people.

5. Social Skills: A proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.

By mastering each of these pillars, we are essentially managing and shaping our emotions in a way that will improve our ability to make decisions, increase influence, and lead effectively.

It's like taking your emotional temperature.  Putting it another way, I use the visual of 3 glasses of water.  While keeping one crystal clear, adding a few drops of red food coloring to the second glass making it cloudy and then dumping half the bottle in the third to show a definite change of color to red.

Knowing when are you escalating from clear to cloudy before you escalate to red in self-awareness.  Once in red, you are now in a stormy emotional state and your thinking brain shuts down. When we get to “red” our body feel threatened and kicks into the fight, flight or freeze state hi-jacking our logical, rational brain.

Dr. Leslie Parrott, Co-Founder of Real Relationships, absolutely nailed this first pillar, Self-Awareness.  Using her vast knowledge of counseling, therapy, leadership training, and relationship coaching she gave us a road map to follow to increase our ability to know and understand our personal self better.

My favorite tool at the 2011 Women's Leadership Summit was the way Dr. Parrott applied the Johari Window to our self-discovery experience – awesome.  She also drilled down and gave amazing insight into the make-up of our emotional brain.  I loved her analogy of wishing we had an “emotional storm predictor”  YES – I wish I had a barometer warning me that today I would be taken hostage by my emotions so be warned – prepare.  NOPE – those darn emotions hit us out of no where so we need to be prepared.

What is EQ to you?

Your Coach,

This article Emotional Intelligence 101 previously appeared on True Life Coaching

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