Emotional Intelligence: Theory Development and Self-Reflection
Emotional Intelligence refers to the ability to be able to understand your own emotions along with others (Mayer 2004). Many believe that emotions can do more harm than good, especially in any work or professional environment. But if emotions are handled and understood in a correct way, this can be linked to emotional intelligence. As society is continuing to be more inclusive, grow, and become more united, emotional intelligence is becoming a vital aspect to have a healthy and successful environment in any workplace. Emotional Intelligence is recognized in many areas of life, and now is seen as an important factor in the workplace.
Emotional Intelligence is a psychological theory that was founded and developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990. They define emotional intelligence as "Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth." These two developed the psychological theory that we know today as emotional intelligence (Fernández-Berrocal 2006). This shows that emotional intelligence is a newer and modern concept in our society since it was developed in the more recent years, compared to other psychological theories. Emotional Intelligence was soon developed more in depth by Daniel Goleman, due to his book on emotional intelligence. His book defines emotional intelligence into different categories (Goleman 1998). The categories of emotional intelligence explain how emotional intelligence appears and the fully developed steps to emotional intelligence.
To be able to understand what emotional intelligence is and is developed, there are four specific categories developed by Goleman. According to Landry (2019), there is self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Self-Awareness is to be able to perceive and recognize your emotions and the effect they have on others and even your strengths and weaknesses. This means being able to recognize the emotion you are feeling accurately and understanding what you need to improve on and what you are successful at. Self-Management is the second step, which is the ability to manage those emotions, and not react on impulses appropriately. This takes place after you have recognized the emotion, and the plan on how you are going to act upon it. Social Awareness is the third step, and is your ability to recognize others emotions and not just yourself. This means being able to recognize your emotion, plan on how you will react, and then understand how that reaction is going to affect others. Relationship Management is the last component, which is your ability to influence others and resolve conflict correctly. This is the last component of emotional intelligence and is what is viewed from others. Your emotions can affect other people positively or negatively, and understanding how to recognize, manage, and being socially aware can impact relationships. These four components are the stepping stone to understanding what emotional intelligence is, and how to take the steps to understand one self’s emotional intelligence.
The basis of emotional intelligence and four steps of emotional intelligence is becoming more and more relevant in any workplace. In this field, people are constantly interacting with one another and making decisions and emotions can affect those. Emotional Intelligence can change the atmosphere of any workplace in a negative or positive way. Without the presence of emotional intelligence and using the four steps, a workplace can suffer greatly. According to Clark & Polesello (2017), “the composition of the workforce is changing, these changes require a new skill set (from individuals and organizations) – skills that enable leaders, individuals, and organizations to leverage this increased diversity to establish a competitive advantage by harnessing the talents of diverse individuals toward the achievement of organizational goals” (p. 337). It is important to understand how emotional intelligence is becoming an important asset to organizations and their culture.
The fully developed steps of emotional intelligence show emotional competence skills that are used in the workplace. According to Goleman (1998), as I define it, an emotional competence is “a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work.” Some skills or emotional competencies that are needed to help run a successful workplace are communicating with each other and discussing topics openly, listening to issues of both parties, being able to manage conflict, and inspiring one another to be the best they can be. Being able to do these things will help improve the success of any workplace. The four steps and competence skills in understanding what emotional intelligence is and applied can be seen and used in the workplace.
Being self-aware in the workplace can help you make decisions, self-accessing yourself, and having confidence. Being emotionally self-aware can help you make decisions. This can be seen by completing your own work, and making business decisions. Being able to accurately self-access yourself can help you understand what you’re bad and good at. An example of this is taking on projects that you are good at, asking for help, and motivating yourself to learn or train more about what you aren’t as good at. Having self-confidence can help you believe in yourself and complete tasks more efficiently. An example of this is taking risks, or even having a better job performance due to your confidence. Recognizing your emotions and being self-aware are skills that can be a step in the right direction to hold emotional intelligence.
Self-Management is the workplace can help with emotional self-control, take initiative, achievement and adaptability. Having emotional self-control means not acting on your impulse emotions. This can be seen as not evoking yourself in conflict with coworkers and showing hostility, improving your work while under pressure, and overall preventing negative actions. Taking imitative means understanding a problem and solving it to be better. This means understanding the issue at hand, improving yourself, and coming up with new ideas. Achievement is having the motivation to meet the standards that are reached beyond them. This can be seen as getting deadlines completed on time, or taking on opportunities to improve yourself. Adaptability is being flexible with yourself and others or in situations. This can be seen as not agreeing with someone but seeing their point of view, or understanding that things can happen abruptly and you have to adjust to it.
Social Awareness in the workplace is to understand employees or coworkers emotions, needs, or concerns. This helps others feel more comfortable in the workplace overall. There is empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation. Having empathy is overall understanding others emotions. Empathy means hearing someone’s thoughts and feelings. Whatever someone says you listen and take note. Having organizational awareness is understanding the dynamic between yourself and others in the organization. This can be seen as recognizing the values of an organization and other people’s differences. Service orientation is helping others. This can be seen as going out of your way to help someone who is struggling when it isn’t spoken, and understanding other people’s needs.
Relationship Management is the ability to make relationships with others and work well with others. There is inspirational leadership, influence, teamwork and collaboration, and conflict management. Inspirational leadership is getting people together to make them feel a part of something greater. This can be seen as viewing your subordinates as equals and encouraging them to participate in something inspiring and motivating. Influence is getting people to follow you and support you. This can be seen as working on projects together, or just gaining support from a coworker. Teamwork and collaboration is working well with others as a team. This can be seen as taking on team projects, diving responsibility and building a team. Conflict Management is handling issues (Fuge 2014). This can be seen as negotiating issues calmly and working with one another to understand bad feelings or situations.
As society’s culture continues to change, emotional intelligence is becoming a more important factor in job selection and is something that employers look for. According to Zeinder (2004), a survey of benchmark practices among major corporations found that four out five companies are trying to promote emotional intelligence in their organizations. This proves that this is becoming more important in our modern world for workplace expectations. Zeinder also claims that having emotional intelligence is shown to have more successful performance especially in management positions. Even more, they found that emotional intelligence can predict overall job effectiveness.
Overall, emotional intelligence is a newer psychological theory that is appearing more often in today’s society, and especially in our workforce. The four steps of emotional intelligence and emotional competency are the building blocks of emotional intelligence. As we continue to become more advanced, culturally aware, and open to others, emotional intelligence is going to be seen as a requirement for job selection.