Emotional intelligence is based on self awareness. We say, ‘First manage thyself!’ Groups function best when people act from a ‘grown-up’ place and take personal responsibility for their behaviour.
Research clearly tells us that people who are personally resilient or ‘emotionally intelligent’, (as Daniel Goleman calls it) are the most productive in the workplace and a great asset to their organisation.
Our Definition of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence allows us to be ‘bold’ in our willingness to speak up with our ideas, take risks and use our full potential. It strengthens us to withstand and appropriately respond to workplace pressures and challenges. It helps build robust, collaborative relationships.
So why is this focus on emotional intelligence necessary? It’s because when we work in groups, so much of what trips us up and creates conflict and other dysfunctional behaviour is caused by the emotional ‘stuff’ that goes on – much of it at an unconscious level. All too often when there is trouble in a group, we tend to look for the fault in others rather than reflect on our own contribution to what is going on. Because of these underlying unconscious dynamics, working in groups can easily ‘press our buttons’. Because of this, many groups underachieve, have high turnover or fail altogether.
If you can better understand your own reactions, then you can better manage your responses. The success, longevity and wellbeing of a group will be significantly enhanced if we can foster your emotional intelligence.
How do I become emotionally intelligent?
The question remains, how do we actually build the emotional intelligence of ourselves and our staff, individually and as teams? It’s easier said than done!
We felt we needed a simple, easily accessible model that all sorts of people could readily grasp. So we have created our own model, which we have called Emotional Resilience™.
For us, Emotional Resilience is how we bring Emotional Intelligence to life as we interact with other people and the world around us. Below are the components we see as the building blocks of emotional resilience.
Emotional Resilience includes:
- The capacity to know your self, your strengths and areas of emotional vulnerability.
- The awareness of your emotional trigger points, where these come from, what is likely to activate them and how to manage this.
- Awareness ‘in the moment’ of what’s going on for you, and why and how you are reacting.
- We have created our own model for self-awareness – the Community of Selves™, acknowledging that we all have way more than one inner voice or self wanting to be heard
Awareness of others
- Ability to understand the unconscious dynamics played out between people.
- Capacity to remain centred and respond wisely in the face of conflictual encounters.
- Capacity to see and act wisely, without judgement, in the face of other people’s lack of ‘centredness’ in a given situation.
Generosity of spirit
- Avoidance of an ‘assumption of malicious intent’ when interactions go poorly.
- Willingness to ‘think well’ of people and to inquire directly of them about their story.
- Insight to recognise your mistakes and the generosity to apologise fully.
- Listening to understand.
- Capacity to practice deep listening until you understand the other’s point of view. This does not necessarily equate with agreement!
- Capacity to do the above in the face of strongly held differences.
- Listening to understand requires the ability to temporarily put aside your own points of view and feelings.
Communicating across our differences
- When in conflict or disagreement with another, to fully hear their views and feelings without denying your own.
- The capacity to stand by your own points of view
- To express your points of view honestly and in hearable ways without putting the other person down.
- Willingness to refrain from harmful gossip and to speak up against it when others are doing so.
- Capacity to speak first, and directly, to another with whom you are having difficulties.
Understanding power, rank and diversity
- Understanding the structure of power and rank and how it is played out in organisations.
- Capacity to maintain this understanding in the midst of complex or challenging encounters.
- Awareness of your own rank in any situation and how it may affect the interaction.
- Ability to encourage, welcome and work with differences and strongly held opinions.
Holding the big picture
- Ability to see and maintain an awareness of the larger organisational and societal context in which we are operating.
- Wisdom to see the effect of such big picture issues in ourselves and others, and the capacity to take this into consideration.
- To remain emotionally resilient, we must address our own needs:
– Personal space and reflection time
– Time out, rest, relaxation and fun
– Physical health care
– Time and support to address unresolved emotional issues