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Emotional Intelligence

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

The term “emotional intelligence” was coined by Harvard researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey, to describe a set of abilities used in everyday problem solving, whether that be at home or in the workplace.

So what do we know about EQ and how relevant is it to personal effectiveness and work performance?

Emotions are like a GPS – they tell you where you are in relation to where you want to be. In other words, emotions provide information that can help us make sense of what is happening so that we can respond in a way that moves us forward. This is a very different notion to “trusting your feelings”.

According to Mayer and Salovey, this sense-making process has four key elements or skills:

EQ: Four Key Skills:

Recognising Emotions

Being aware of the "felt-sense" of emotions. If you are not aware of an emotion, how can you make sense of it?

Using Emotions

Feeling the emotion, rather than ignoring it or pushing it away.

Understanding Emotions

Being able to put words to the emotion to help you understand what it is telling you and what you need to do.

Managing Emotions

Responding to the emotion in a way that helps you solve the problem or situation at hand.

Basically, emotional intelligence refers to HOW you use your emotional GPS to organise, problem solve, make decisions and move towards your goals.

When you think about how much your effectiveness at work involves forming and maintaining constructive relationships, you can begin to see the impact of emotional intelligence on performance.

People who are high in EQ generally understand themselves and others and are good at emotional problem-solving. They can sense the mood in a room, develop rapport with others, deal with difficult situations and often produce outcomes greater than expectations.

Can EQ be measured, and if so, how useful is this?

Yes, EQ can be measured. The Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is one of the most scientifically supported measures available:

  • It measures your abilities in each of the four skill areas

  • It provides useful information on how you can improve your emotional problem solving prowess.

  • It can also highlight areas where you may have the skills but are not using them to the fullest extent.

If you manage people, taking the MSCEIT can be very useful in gaining insight into how to improve your leadership style and how to work better under pressure. For more information, contact us.

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