Emotional Intelligence: Why and How to Enhance It?

Introduction

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive both ones and other emotions. It enables one to use those emotions to understand and regulate them in both self and others (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). High emotional intelligence level enables a person to form meaningful relationships and lead to success in life spheres such as work and education (Goleman, 1995). The recent trend in management is the concern of many human resource managers (Ashkanasy & Daus, 2002). They want to recruit people with high emotional intelligence because it is related to their performance at the organizations (Casuro & Salovey, 2004).

Theories and ideas of emotional intelligence

Physiological and cognitive theories explain emotional intelligence. Physiological theories involve processes that determine behavior. For example, behavior can be learned or acquired through various processes such as observation or experience. On the other hand, cognitive theories involve how a person understands emotional information and processes it. Emotional intelligence is important in workers because they do better than those who rely on their expertise and book knowledge.

Importance of emotional intelligence

Workers who have high emotional intelligence can perceive the emotions of their colleagues and act appropriately. For instance, someone with emotional intelligence can detect emotions such as anger or sadness in their fellow workers and react appropriately by going to their need because such emotions are a call for assistance (Eisenberg, 2000). A person with high intelligence can detect things such as the tone of a speaker from which they can tell the mood of a person and act appropriately. For instance, a person can tell that a person is down after speaking to them and can raise the mood of that person, thus making them feel better.

Emotional intelligence is important because it allows individuals to attain emotional well-being. Such people understand their emotions better and can control them effectively. They also have a good life outlook and have good emotional health (Goleman, 1998). Research shows that people who have high emotional intelligence suffer less from depression than those with low emotional intelligence (Ciarrochi, Chan & Caputi, 2000).

The other importance of emotional intelligence is boosting the self-esteem and mood of an individual. Self-esteem is important in helping a person to do self-evaluation. Besides, the mood is a fundamental component of emotional well being. The mood has similar characteristics to the personality of lasting. Therefore, people with high emotional intelligence are generally more successful in their work.

Researchers say that emotional intelligence is important for empathy. Empathy plays a major part in occupational success. For instance, research conducted at Harvard showed that people who could perceive other people’s emotions were successful in their jobs and their social relationships (Cherniss, 2010). Such people can listen to their colleagues or customers and in turn, cater to their needs. Another example of the importance of high emotional intelligence is helping people remain optimistic and of a positive mood and attitude. Such people can do their work well, and those in sales can make higher sales as compared to people with low emotional intelligence that are generally pessimistic.

Enhancing emotional intelligence

Some believe that emotional intelligence can be enhanced. Mayer and Salovey (1997) hold the opinion that emotional intelligence can be improved. Mayer urges that emotional intelligence is a psychological trait that enables one to perceive and use emotional information. He says that a part of emotional intelligence is inborn while the other part can be learned from daily experience hence, this part of emotional intelligence can be enhanced.

Furthermore, Salovey says that the skills of emotional intelligence can be taught and consequently learned. It, therefore, means that a person who wants to improve their emotional intelligence can do so through learning. Therefore, an individual needs to be self-aware by learning and perceiving their different feelings in different environments. Consequently, such an individual should learn how to manage their emotions. For example, one should learn how to handle their emotions of anger, anxiety, or fear appropriately.

A person needs to learn the skills of enhancing emotional intelligence. A person must be in touch with their emotions. Through motivation, a person can learn behavior that directs their emotions hence their emotional intelligence. Such a person learns how to control their emotions and delay gratification. Moreover, a person can enhance their emotional intelligence by learning how to handle relationships.

One should learn the emotions of others so that one can respond appropriately to their other people in different situations. Learning the emotions of others can help a person learn the best ways of keeping relationships alive by behaving in a manner that draws other people to self (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). This way a person can have meaningful relationships and even learns how to control conflicts that arise in such relationships. Handling conflicts effectively leads to stronger relations because trust is built instead of pushing people away in times of conflict as they are bound to occur in every human relationship (Smith & Segal, 2010).

Emotional intelligence tests

The test results put me above average meaning, I have a high level of emotional intelligence. The tests also gave feedback about my strong points and pointers to improve my weak areas. I largely felt that the test largely asked relevant questions that relate to my emotions. However, I feel that there are areas that the tests did not test according to my situation, for instance, in one test they asked for occupation and did not have an option for students hence, I feel that the test may not be very accurate. I kept going back to my experiences in dealing with some of the situations that the test involved, such as how I handle drawbacks.

Moreover, such a test can be used by people to gauge their emotional intelligence and start working towards enhancing it or learning those aspects that will help them to have emotional intelligence because it is very important.

Conclusion

Being book smart is not enough to make a person successful in their occupations and social lives. Thus, a person needs to have emotional intelligence and learn ways of improving it to be successful in all aspects of life.

Reference List

Ashkanasy, N., & Daus, C. S. (2002). Emotion in the workplace: The new challenge for managers. Academy of Management Executive, 16 (1), 76- 86.

Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (2004). The Emotionally Intelligent Manager. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cherniss, C. (2010). Emotional Intelligence: What it is and Why it Matters. Web.

Ciarrochi, J.V., Chan, A.Y., & Caputi, P. (2000). A critical evaluation of the emotional intelligence construct. Personality and Individual Differences, 28, 539–561.

Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, regulation, and moral development. Annual Review of Psychology, 5 (1), 665-697.

Goleman, D. (1998). Working with Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.

Mayer, J. D., and Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P Salovey

and Sluyter, D. J. (eds.). Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: 3 – 3 1. New York: Basic Books.

Smith, M & Segal, J. 2010. Emotional intelligence. Web.