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Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, assess and manage your own emotions and that of others in a positive way to relieve stress, empathize with others, communicate effectively, defuse conflicts and overcome challenges. A nonverbal process that informs your thinking and influences the way you connect with others. It allows you to understand and recognize what others are experiencing emotionally.

Model of Emotional Intelligence

In 1997, Mayer and Salovey proposed that Emotional Intelligence is a cognitive ability that is associated with general intelligence. The model consists of four different branches which include – Perceiving Emotions, Using Emotions, Understanding Emotions, and Managing Emotions. These abilities and/or branches are ordered from basic psychological processes to higher abilities that develop as the individual matures with age. For instance, the lowest branch concerns relatively simple abilities to express and perceiving emotions, whereas the highest branch concerns with the reflective, conscious regulation of emotion.

Perceiving Emotions

The initial step in understanding emotions is the ability to perceive them accurately in yourself and others. In most cases, this may involve understanding non-verbal signals like facial expressions, voices and body language – including emotions in stimuli such as art and landscapes. The ability to perceive emotions in voice and face of others provides a starting point for more advanced recognition of emotions.

Using Emotions

The second step involves making use of emotions in order to promote cognitive and thinking ability. In other words, using emotions can be termed as self-regulation. This step involves regulating feelings so that it does more good than harm, to yourself and to others. Emotionally intelligent people have a good input system of emotions that help with direct thinking and toward matters which are truly important.

Understanding Emotions

The way emotions are perceived can carry a variety of different meanings. Each emotion has its own pattern of plausible messages and the different actions associated with those messages. An emotion of anger, for instance, may convey a message that a certain individual feels treated unfairly. The anger in return can be associated with a certain set of possible actions - including retribution, revenge seeking and attacking. Recognizing such messages and the actions associated with them is an imperative aspect of an emotionally intelligent individual.

If someone is expressing emotions of anger, the observer must be able to interpret the cause behind the anger and what could it possibly mean. For instance, if your manager is acting with haste and anger, the message could be he is dissatisfied with your recent work or it could because he did not have a good morning and or received a speed ticket while his way to the office.

Managing Emotions

One of the crucial parts of emotional intelligence is the ability to manage emotions effectively. Regulating and managing emotions in yourself and others, allows an emotionally intelligent person to harness the power of emotions – in order to promote and achieve your own and others personal or professional goals.