Developing Emotional Intelligence and Professional Practice in the Workplace

3261 words (13 pages) Essay

18th May 2020 Personal Development Reference this

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In terms of a definition, Mayer and Salovey (2004)[1], ability model of EI purports is ‘the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions to enhance thinking’. Whilst my score would indicate that I have some solid emotional skills, sometimes I do find myself feeling overwhelmed by conflict or emotionally charged situations, in particular confrontational situations.

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Those who are emotionally intelligent engage in behaviours that contribute to their ability to manage their own emotions and understand the feelings of others. However to be highly skilled at emotional intelligence, Mayer and Salovey, (2004)[2], point out, “individuals are keenly attuned to their own feelings, capable of expressing emotions in an appropriate way, as well as empathetic and understanding of how others are feeling”. When considering myself in this, expressing emotions in an appropriate way would be an area that I should consider to develop further. This would be because in certain environments and conditions, I struggle to express my emotions. In relation to this I would caveat that environments pertain to current “cultural norms” that prevail in the work environment where to be anything other than “under control” at all times would be construed as weak and not resilient.

Mayer and Salovey further developed their definition working see Appendix 1 with David Caruso, Mayer, Salovey, Caruso (MSCEIT) (2008)[3] and developed a 16 step model of emotional intelligence. This model links Emotional Intelligence to cognitive ability, and involves an individual having a certain level of sophistication in processing of information about ones self and that of others.

The Mayer-Salovey model emphasises abilities to perceive, understand, manage and use emotions. It assesses the four high-level emotional abilities through a variety of techniques including scales that purport to identify emotions in faces, and the emotions conveyed by landscapes and designs.

Daniel Goleman states that “emotional competencies are not innate talents, but are learned capabilities that can be developed.” My view is that emotional intelligence can be developed through training and experience but I think that to do this an individual must already have general emotional intelligence and the self-awareness to want to develop the characteristics. I do not think that this is always the case and for a variety of reasons some individuals appear to have minimal emotional intelligence. Goleman has also been accused by critics of contradicting himself by saying “individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies“.

Where would I see myself on this quadrant? Again I would reflect that I view myself as meeting all the criteria for Emotional Intelligence, again being stronger in some areas more than others.

Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman (1998) [4] identifies the following as characteristics of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness, required in order to recognise moods, emotions, and feelings, and how these impact on others.
  • Empathy, involves understanding the emotions of other people and being able to know whattheyare feeling in order to interact with them successfully.
  • Self-regulation it is suggested that this is central to emotional intelligence. Understanding your own emotions is beneficial, but not if you cannot make use of it. Emotionally intelligent people think before they act on their feelings.
  • Motivation, achievement of goals and capable of managing their behaviours and feelings in order to achieve long-term success.
  • Strong social skills, attuned to their own feelings as well as those of others. Knowing  how to deal with people effectively, and maintaining healthy social relationships and helping those around them.

In terms of myself and the above characteristics suggested by Daniel Goleman, I recognise all of these to a lesser or greater extent. Whilst I am empathetic and in tune with my emotions, dependent on the environment I struggle to actually share these feelings with others. Emotionally intelligent people not only understand feelings, they also express them appropriately! This would be one area of development that I consider myself to require. On reflection when answering the EI test questions, I noted from my answers that I am far more able to deal with situations that are not emotionally charged i.e. confrontation/ angry. I have assessed that I am able to control my own anger well, but what I lack is the ability to respond to others angry emotions, in a constructive way, and by constructive I mean in a way that I am satisfied with as usually I just don’t respond!. For example several years ago, during a difficult time in my life, I would get angry with people around me after receiving correspondence, rather than rationalise the frustration and react appropriately and proportionally.

There is however an aspect to consider in that tests completed rely on self-reported reflection, and don’t take into account context nor external constraints. Whereas if you were to ask this as part of a 360 questionnaire then the answers provided may be different to your own perception. One of the more effect ways to determine what others view about your emotional intelligence and therefore facilitate and acknowledge the areas that need development would be to undertake a 360 degree interview, asking a cross section of people who know you to answer the same questions regarding how they see you. Some of the 360 degree interviews are structured and defined by Goleman’s work and research. Ina 360 test Goleman’s definitions are broken down into a number of behaviors or attitudes that anybody that knows you could observe. This is something that I would wish to revisit having not undertaken a 360 review in some years. It would enable the question “what is it like to be on the receiving end of me?” to be answered, even for a relatively self-reflective individual like me, it will be quite ‘scary’, but you can’t possibly know whether you are emotionally intelligence without  asking others.

When considering my role and professional practice in the workplace, the quote by Mary Angelou[5], whilst is reflective of life in general feels applicable to my leadership style “People forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. In my view no matter what you do as a leaders, whether driving strategy or mobilising a new contract, the success depends on how you go about it. Even if you get everything else right, if you fail in driving emotions in the right direction, nothing you do will work as well as it could or should. I would describe my leadership as authentic and fully subscribe to this leadership style.

In Krauss Whitbourne’s[6] article in Psychology today she says “leaders don’t just have to be born with great emotional intelligence”, and that it is possible through learning what contributes to EI, to develop your own. I would agree with this. Whilst undertaking this assignment, I have become more aware and therefore better at assessing my own emotions and have implemented learning to date, enabling me to become not only a better leader but also a better friend. This assignment has made me even more interested in emotional intelligence and learning more.

Daniel Goleman [7] in his book says “emotional task of the leader is primal—that is, first—in two senses: it is both the original and the most important act of leadership.” Organisations all have their own unique culture. The culture of an organisation begins with the leader, and that leader’s personality/ mood/ values impacts upon the emotions of others within the organisation. In the context of work, many view emotions as too personal, however considering the characteristics of emotional intelligence that have been defined, those who are emotionally intelligent know how to express them appropriately. The authenticity of a leader is being able to understand them on a personal level.

I consider emotional intelligence to be aligned with authentic leadership. In his book Bill George, 2010[8], offers the definition of authentic leadership as: “The authentic leader brings people together around a shared purpose and empowers them to step up and lead authentically!” he goes on to add that authentic leaders are not necessarily perfect (which is good news!) because they possess the ability to acknowledge their shortcomings and admit their mistake. They connect with people and empower them, therefore demonstrating characteristics of emotional intelligence as identified by Goleman.

I like the suggestion of Susan Krauss Whitbourne [9] in her article, she purports that current leadership theories define great leaders as ones who show transformative qualities. Transformative leaders as described by Bass 2006 [10] act as models who inspire other people by their vision of change. They have particular qualities such as charisma, promote creativity and innovation, developing an environment in which their workers feel supported, and convey ambitious goals to their workers. Therefore you can argue why part of the formula for becoming a great leader is that you possess emotional intelligence.

Until studying this module I had only considered that an individual would use their emotional intelligence for positive outcomes. I had not contemplated that a con artist for example would be considered highly adept at emotional intelligence using others emotional intelligence to manipulate, Thus having emotional intelligence could actually make you vulnerable to those who use their emotional intelligence for negative purposes. Nor had I considered the use of emotional intelligence as a leader to perpetrate evil. Grant [11] in his article says “In some jobs, being in touch with emotions is essential. In others, it seems to be a detriment. And like any skill, being able to read people can be used for good or evil.”

In conclusion, I still maintain that I have good emotional intelligence and through this model I have developed my understanding further. I have particularly learnt where I need to consider further development and learning to use this skill better in a leadership role and be cognisant of what it is like to be on the receiving end of me.

Bibliography

  • Angelou, Maya (born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928– May 28, 2014) American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist
  • Baker M (2001) Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook, Hants, Management Pocketbooks
  • Bass, Bernard M. Aug 2006 Transformational Leadership
  • George, Bill, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership John Wiley & Sons, 10 Jun 2010 – Business & Economics
  • Goleman1998 ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence
  • Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee – Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence Harvard Business Press, 2013
  • Grant, Adam, The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence, Jan 2, 2014
  • Krauss Whitbourne, Susan, Ph.D. 2013, ABPP, PS Psychology Today (Feb 02 2013)
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201302/unlock-your-emotional-genius Accessed 23 May 2017
  • Mayer and Salovey 2004 Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model
  • Mayer, Salovey, Caruso “Emotional Intelligence: New Ability or Eclectic Traits?” 2008, Vol.63 Pages 503 to 517.

 

 

Appendix 1

Diagram based on Mayer and Salovey’s model of Emotional intelligence

Appendix 2

Goleman (1988) ‘Emotional Intelligence Quadrant’ represents his understanding of how EI works and its components, Appendix 2

 

Self

Social

Recognition

Self-Awareness

  • Emotional Self Awareness
  • Accurate Self Awareness
  • Self Confidence

Social Awareness

  • Empathy
  • Organisational Awareness
  • Self-Orientation

Regulation

Self-Management

  • Self-Control
  • Transparency
  • Adaptability
  • Achievements/ Drive
  • Initiative

Relationship Management

  • Inspirational Leadership
  • Developing Others
  • Influence
  • Conflict Management
  • Building Bonds
  • Teamwork and Collaboration

[1] Mayer and Salovey 2004 Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model

[2] Mayer and Salovey 2004 Emotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model

[3] Mayer, Salovey, Caruso “Emotional Intelligence: New Ability or Eclectic Traits?” 2008, Vol.63 Pages 503 to 517.

[4] Goleman1998 ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence

[5] Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928– May 28, 2014) American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist

[6], Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2013, ABPP, PS Psychology Today 

[7] Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, Annie McKee Harvard Business Press, 2013

[8] Bill George, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership John Wiley & Sons, 10 Jun 2010 – Business & Economics

[9] ‘Unlock Your Emotional Genius – How emotionally intelligent are you, and why should you care?’ Susan Krauss Whitbourn Psychology Today (Feb 02 2013) Accessed 23 May 2017 From https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201302/unlock-your-emotional-genius Accessed 23 May 2017

[10] Bernard M. Bass Aug 2006 Transformational Leadership

[11] Adam Grant, The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence , Jan 2, 2014

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