We all know people who have masses of academic qualifications yet somehow just don’t get it right in the world of work. They are not easy people to be with and tend to misread situations. They say the wrong thing, upset people (often completely unintentionally) and therefore don’t always get as many opportunities as people who are emotionally intelligent.

They are clever but socially inept. Increasingly, emotional intelligence is being seen as desirable as academic qualifications in the world of work.

Daniel Goleman
Emotional Intelligence, or EQ as it is often known, is a relatively recent idea which came to prominence with Daniel Goleman's book called 'Emotional Intelligence'. Emotional Intelligence is particularly relevant to organizational development and developing people; the EQ principles provide a new way to understand and assess people's behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential.

One of the more attractive traits of EQ is that it helps to bring more compassion and humanity into our workplaces and challenges the received wisdom that your value increases in relation to the amount of qualifications you possess. In Emotional Intelligence theory everyone is valued.

What Is It?
The basic premise of Emotional Intelligence is that in order to be successful we need to be able to manage our own emotions, and be aware and sensitive to those of others.

We need to:
• Understand ourselves, our goals, intentions, responses, and behaviour.

• Understand others, their feelings, and what makes them tick.

The Five Domains of Emotional Intelligence
Goleman identified the five 'domains' of EQ as:
1. Knowing your emotions.
2. Managing your own emotions.
3. Motivating yourself.
4. Recognising and understanding other
people's emotions.
5. Managing relationships, ie. managing the
emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence embraces and draws from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Transactional Analysis, (this link will take you to my last article on T.A) and empathy.(See my blog for a short post on the difference between empathy and sympathy)

By developing our Emotional Intelligence in these areas and the five EQ domains we can become more productive and successful at what we do, and help others to be more productive and successful too. An understanding of and use of Emotional Intelligence also contains many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organizations.

E.Q. can help by decreasing conflict, improving our relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony. This is why personal development training is so popular in enlightened organisations at this time of change. It really helps!

A 'Feeling' Exercise
Try this simple exercise. How are you feeling right now? Are you cold? Hot? Warm? Are you Hungry? Full up? A bit peckish? Are you feeling anxious about something? Are you feeling relaxed? Are you blissfully happy? Are you feeling irritated?

Just jot down a couple of sentences about how you feel, beginning with ‘I am....’ You get the idea. Try and differentiate from how you feel physically from how you feel emotionally.

You’ll probably come up with quite a few and you may even surprise yourself; for example, if you realise that you are carrying around a bit of anger from this morning’s frustrating encounter trying to get a space in the car park. If you aren’t aware of it, that residual anger may be showing itself in other ways and you may be communicating a negative message unintentionally.

Now look at a colleague and apply the same exercise to them. How do you think they may be feeling? If you can tap into other’s people’s emotions you are better equipped to communicate with them.

If you can spot that someone is very frustrated in a chore you may conclude this is not a good time to ask a favour but a very good time to offer them a helping hand. You can temper your responses to be in harmony, if you choose.

Author's Bio: 

Jane grew up in a non-affluent, primarily working class or blue collar area of the UK where educational achievements were not high on the list of priorities, especially for girls! However, Jane’s childhood love of books and reading (fed by raiding all the jumble sales and thrift shops she could find for material) helped her secure a place at a school which nurtured her talents and eventually led on to University and post graduate study.

Those early experiences of the lottery of opportunity had a profound impact on her and have been reflected in her career. Jane has spent a lifetime working with people of all ages, class, status, income and profession; helping them achieve to their full potential. In the spring of 2003, in her 40s, she decided to make a significant life style change herself and established her own successful company, changingpeople.

Her experience is extensive, covering both the private and public sector, ranging from small business owners to large organisations, professors at Cambridge University to those who may have no formal qualifications who know they want to change their lives but aren’t yet sure how to go about it.