There is a growing role for emotional intelligence in business.
Emotional Intelligence is increasingly relevant to organizations and businesses today, since it has been proven to help understand and assess people's behavior.
Although Emotional Intelligence became popular after the publication of Daniel Goleman's Book, "Emotional Intelligence", in 1995, it was researched and developed during the 70's and 80's.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Peter Salovey and John Mayer defined EQ (Emotional Quotient) or EI (Emotional Intelligence) as made up of 5 elements:
1. Self-awareness - Observing yourself and recognizing a feeling as it happens.
2. Managing emotions - Handling feelings so that they are appropriate, Realizing what is behind a feeling and Finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.
3. Motivating oneself - Channelling emotions in the service of a goal, Emotional self control and Delaying gratification and stifling impulses.
4. Empathy - Sensitivity to others' feelings and concerns and taking their perspective, as well as Appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.
5. Handling relationships - Managing emotions in others and Social competence or social skills.
Can an individual increase emotional intelligence? Can a business organization increase its emotional intelligence?
Coaches and counselors and solution oriented therapists teach or remind us of our skills in this area routinely.
The one thing that the coaches and counselors and solution oriented folks do not teach us is that we need to recreate the optimism that Seligman talks about in our minds frequently, in order to stay optimistic, and if enough people in the organization do that, then the organization stays optimistic.
I first learned this from an AA friend who used to routinely repeat the phrase to himself, "What is the next right thing to do?"
Folks who come into AA know that urges to drink or use happen in very short periods of time, and they know that they must do "the next right thing" fast in order to dispute the craving that says, in so many words, "Go ahead, just this one time, you won't get caught today."
When I heard my friend talk about the "next right thing", I thought he meant doing something outside his body, like a workout, or going to a meeting, and then it occurred to me that the next right thing might be a thought, and then it occurred to me that I could create a pattern of thoughts that left me feeling content, like I felt after a 20 minute Transcendental Meditation where I repeated a mantra while sitting quietly.
Emotional intelligence does mean keeping myself feeling good, like after a meditation or workout, but in an organization, I also need to interact with other people, and those interactions are going to require my awareness of my feelings and thinking and those interactions are going to require skilled use of listening and assertive communication techniques, so I am going to need to do the think the next helpful thought and do the next right thing many times per day.
What tools are available to help in that thinking and feeling endeavor? Does brain fitness play a role?
Paul Ekman,Ph.D. has been working to categorize facial expressions for about a long time, and I find his work fascinating because it helps me to understand why I respond to certain facial expressions so strongly, for example, I have a very quick and powerful response to a look of contempt, and Ekman explains why.
All humans respond to a look of contempt very powerfully, across cultures, and that expression happens in 1/25th second according to Ekman. I blink my eyes in 1/10th second, so I respond hormonally to a nonverbal communication twice as fast as I can blink my eyes.
Does my response to facial expressions have a bearing on my emotional intelligence and my organizations emotional intelligence?
Again the answer is absolutely.
I like experiential learning. I think we can learn emotional intelligence faster from an experience than we can from reading a book, although book reading is in integral part of learning.
The tool that has made my emotional intelligence effective in response to the non-verbal communications of others in any kind of relationship is HeartMath, which is a biofeedback tool that allows me, after a few pratices, to cue an affiliative and cooperative heart intelligence inside my body on any given heart beat or to sustain a coherent heart beat so that I do or say the next right thing in my business environment and increase the emotional intelligence of my business.
HeartMath has grown out of the study of the heart's own nervous system. The heart has a brain of its own, which can learn and make decisions independently of any other brain I have, and it can do this heart beat by heart beat.
By the way, this tool has been tested in my domestic violence and anger managment program.
I have used it with couples to help them understand that they can self-soothe when upset, and then the individuals, with a little bit of practice, can establish a heart beat for their marriage, by using computers and holding hands. If each of the couples
Cannot coworkers and companies establish a heart beat for their working relationship and companies ask employees to attend to the heart beat of the company?
If employees are doing that, which has the benefit of feeling good, the company EQ will go up, and employees will have a tool to use when they find themselves responding to a customer or co-worker non-verbal communication.
Another helpful side effect of HeartMath? It opens the higher perceptual centers in the brain for brain storming. Solutions appear to previously intractable problems.
Have to take any tests for your job, employment or personality? You do better when you are relaxed.
However, each individual will have to work on that. The good news is that their are a number of software programs which can be used at an employees PC. (There are some Mac versions available too).
I really like the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro because it increases IQ, that wonderful tool to have along with EQ. You can improve your fluid intelligence too. It is an addictive experience, so you should volunteer to be the first VP in charge of corporate brain fitness.