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What Emotional Intelligence Is ... and Isn't

July 1, 1999
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Emotional Intelligence Is ...

Although there are many different models of emotional intelligence, most of them include a combination of competencies that contributes to a person’s ability to manage his or her own emotions as well as monitor emotions in others. For example, The Hay Group uses a model in which emotional intelligence comprises four dimensions, each with its own set of behavioral competencies. These dimensions and their accompanying competencies are:

  • Self-awareness: Includes the competencies of emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence.
  • Self-management: Includes self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, achievement orientation and initiative.
  • Social skills: Includes the competencies of leadership, influence, communication, change catalyst, conflict management, building bonds, teamwork and collaboration.
  • Social awareness: Includes empathy, organizational awareness, developing others and service orientation.

Emotional Intelligence Isn't ...

  • It isn’t "getting in touch with your feelings" or letting it all hang out. Having emotional intelligence means to be able to manage feelings so that they’re expressed appropriately and effectively.
  • It isn’t simply being nice. Sometimes being emotionally intelligent means being able to confront someone with an uncomfortable truth he or she has been avoiding.
  • It doesn’t mean suppressing or controlling your emotions. It means utilizing the appropriate emotion at the appropriate time in the appropriate amount.
  • It isn’t about just about personal self-improvement. The capabilities that underlie emotional intelligence are the ones that are most often associated with business success.
  • It isn’t a quick-fix program in which differences are immediately noticeable. People may be able to learn word processing in an hour, but learning such things as managing anger takes a lot of practice.

Workforce, July 1999, Vol. 78, No. 7, p. 62.

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