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Emotional Intelligence: action, not reaction!

By Jeff DeLay, Training Consultant at John Matchett Limited

There is now a considerable body of research suggesting that a person’s ability to perceive, identify, and manage their emotions provides the basis for the kinds of social and emotional competencies that are important for success in almost any job.

It has now been clearly established that Emotional Intelligence is linked to important work-related outcomes such as individual performance and organisational productivity.

Emotional Intelligence may be described as a measure of ones ability to recognise and manage their own feelings and those of others, to work effectively with other people (staff, colleagues and customers) to produce results and create profitable business relationships. In fact, it may be the single most important factor that leverages the success of people and routinely characterises those individuals with the "right stuff."

Indeed, organisations often find they have high potential leaders, managers and staff who are very intelligent but demonstrate other behaviours that ultimately lower their performance. Their quality of relating and communicating (to themselves and others) may radically improve as emotional intelligence approaches are learned and applied.

There are five major components of emotional intelligence.

  • Self-awareness: Observing yourself and recognizing a feeling as it happens.
  • Managing emotions: Handling feelings so that they are appropriate; realising what is behind a feeling; finding ways to handle fears and anxieties, anger, and sadness.
  • Motivating oneself: Directing emotions in the service of a goal; emotional self-control.
  • Empathy: Sensitivity to others' feelings and concerns and taking their perspective; appreciating the differences in how people feel about things.
  • Handling relationships: Managing emotions in others; social competence and social skills.

The benefits to organisations and individuals using E.I. include:

  • Using positive emotions to energise and motivate the workforce.
  • Understanding how emotions link to performance and use this information to build a climate of high trust that results in improved performance.
  • Controlling the negative impact of emotions, which negatively affect morale and put the organization at risk for lawsuits and grievances.
  • Creating a climate that will retain high potential and high performing individuals.
  • Influencing organisational change.
  • Drawing on both the rational mind and emotional mind, which enables greater creativity and innovation.
  • Building high trust with employees and customers

Ultimately, emotional intelligence is beginning to make a major contribution towards improving quality of communication, understanding and relating, creativity, creating synergy from teamwork and igniting inspired performance from people.

So, what's the reaction of organisations introducing E.I. behaviours and techniques as a result of working with John Matchett Ltd to date? Initially, one or two people are slightly apprehensive but subsequently relieved to find no tree-hugging is involved. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and affirming.

Typical delegate comments are:

"It has made a real difference to have the opportunity to understand how my emotions affect my colleagues and ultimately my clients."
"I now understand what it means to be capable of having 'a powerful conversation."
"This is clearly and unmistakably the beginning of something new and exiting as a way of working together."

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© The Matchett Group 2004. Reproduced with permission. Any opinions or views contained in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Training Reference.

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