Many of us live in a world of work where we are constantly being asked to do more with less. The cut and thrust of the corporate world is constantly applying pressure to innovate in order to be able to compete where there’s a fundamental sameness about most products and service offerings.
In this post I invite you to pause for a moment, and for you to think about one aspect of your business life that quite often gets pushed aside, or given lip service at best… and yet, this one aspect can make a huge difference in you being able to be more happy, flourish and prosper at work (and in your personal life as well).
Some things come naturally to some people, while for others, what comes natural to some, can take considerable effort and motivation to learn and reach a level of competence, and serious dedication for a long period of time to reach a level of mastery.
Your level of emotional intelligence is just one of these areas.
Sadly, emotional intelligence (EI) seems to have in many ways been placed in the ‘past fad’ category of understanding human performance.
Over this past week I’ve been revisiting the research on emotions as part of my Master Degree in Applied Positive Psychology.
EI became THE hot topic in 1995 when Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ flooded the business world… can you believe it was almost two decades ago.
Unlike many others, I wasn’t overly excited about the book’s main theme that emotional intelligence was more important than traditional IQ as a measure of intelligence.
For the majority of my adult life I have never placed a great deal of importance on IQ as a measure for success. It’s not how smart you are in an IQ test that matters in life. It may be a factor, but it certainly isn’t the factor… and I’ve always thought what’s more important is your character and how you live your life.
Fast forward to where science today is now providing more research into the impact of our emotions on living more happy, flourishing and prosperous lives, and what is still being validated is that our emotions, when we’re able to recognise, use, understand and manage them, can guide us to making better decisions and taking more positive action toward goal achievement.
I struggle with the term emotional intelligence, because intelligence typically is about thinking, and what’s more important when it comes to our emotions, is our behavioural responses and the impact of those behavioural responses on ourselves and on others.
How well are you ‘managing’ your emotions? What are the triggers throughout your day that take you away from more positive and goal supportive emotions? How well are you recognising and behaviourally responding to the emotions of others around you? What’s your level of empathy for others?
While we get so busy with all the busy work and the demands being placed on us, recognising that our actions when left to unintentional and reactive habitual responses, can lead to unintentional outcomes.
Remind yourself regularly throughout your day of your intentions for the people you’re working with (colleagues, clients, team-members, family, friends etc.,) and keep tuned in to your emotional states throughout the day and recognise the impact your emotions are having on the relationships you have through the actions you take and on your level of happiness, your ability to flourish and your potential to prosper in the many areas of your life..
This simple (not easy) exercise can make a huge difference in your personal and work life.
While the academic and scientific juries are still out on the validity of many of the currently ‘popular’ approaches and assessment tools in the Emotional Intelligence space, from an unscientific point of view I think most of us still agree that what we called “People Skills” back in the 70’s and 80’s are just as important today as they were back then.