Emotional intelligence

March 14th, 2008 by Jashodhara Purkayastha

Definition

Emotional intelligence is a combination of competencies. These skills contribute to a person’s ability to manage and monitor his or her own emotions, to correctly gauge the emotional state of others and to influence opinions.

Exactly what is Emotional Intelligence? The term encompasses the following five characteristics and abilities:

  1. Self-awareness–knowing your emotions, recognizing feelings as they occur, and discriminating between them
  2. Mood management–handling feelings so they’re relevant to the current situation and you react appropriately
  3. Self-motivation–“gathering up” your feelings and directing yourself towards a goal, despite self-doubt, inertia, and impulsiveness
  4. Empathy–recognizing feelings in others and tuning into their verbal and nonverbal cues
  5. Managing relationships–handling interpersonal interaction, conflict resolution, and negotiations

Why Do We Need Emotional Intelligence?
Research in brain-based learning suggests that emotional health is fundamental to effective learning. According to a report from the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs, the most critical element for a student’s success in school is an understanding of how to learn. (Emotional Intelligence, p. 193.) The key ingredients for this understanding are:

1.) Confidence 5.) Relatedness

2.) Curiosity 6.) Capacity to communicate

3.) Intentionality 7.) Ability to cooperate

4.) Self-control

These traits are all aspects of Emotional Intelligence. Basically, a student who learns to learn is much more apt to succeed. Emotional Intelligence has proven a better predictor of future success than traditional methods like the GPA, IQ, and standardized test scores.

Hence, the great interest in Emotional Intelligence on the part of corporations, universities, and schools nationwide. The idea of Emotional Intelligence has inspired research and curriculum development throughout these facilities. Researchers have concluded that people who manage their own feelings well and deal effectively with others are more likely to live content lives. Plus, happy people are more apt to retain information and do so more effectively than dissatisfied people.

Building one’s Emotional Intelligence has a lifelong impact. Many parents and educators, alarmed by increasing levels of conflict in young schoolchildren–from low self-esteem to early drug and alcohol use to depression, are rushing to teach students the skills necessary for Emotional Intelligence. And in corporations, the inclusion of Emotional Intelligence in training programs has helped employees cooperate better and motivate more, thereby increasing productivity and profits.

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