Magazine article Work & Family Life

Take a Look at Your Own Emotional Intelligence

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Take a Look at Your Own Emotional Intelligence

Article excerpt

There's a famous old musical "Stop the World-I Want to Get Off." And don't we all feel that way sometimes?

"I'm back on the job after my maternity leave," says Erin. "I'm juggling a million things, and I'm way behind on learning the company's new software."

In a fast-paced, ever-changing work environment, our so-called emotional intelligence, or EQ, can be as important as technical skills. Getting along with coworkers, accepting feedback and staying cool under fire are all EQ issues, says Adele B. Lynn in her book The EQ Interview.

What EQ is not

Emotional intelligence is often misunderstood, says EQ expert Daniel Goleman, PhD. It's not "being nice." In fact, it can mean confronting someone with a message she or he needs to hear.

It's not "letting it all hang out there" either-and the idea that it's genetic or that women naturally have a higher EQ than men is also a misconception.

People often equate EQ with social skills: how we relate to the outside world and to other people. But it also has to do with the part of us that drives how we respond to the external world.

In her book, Adele Lynn creates an EQ model that includes self-awareness and self-control, empathy, social expertness, personal influence and mastery of purpose. Within each of these five areas, specific abilities emerge.

Here's a brief summary of her model and how it works.

Self-awareness and self-control have to do with understanding our impact on other people and using that information to manage our emotions appropriately and productively. It requires a good sense of (a) how our behavior affects others, (b) how our emotions affect our behavior and (c) what our skills, abilities, strengths and weaknesses really are.

To assess your self-awareness and self-control, give some thought to these situations:

* When you did or said something that had a positive (or negative) impact on a coworker or customer.

* When something you said was taken negatively even though you didn 't intend it that way.

* When you realized you needed to adjust or modify your behavior.

Empathy is the ability to understand other people's perspectives. It is characterized by (a) respectful listening, (b) feeling the impact of our words and actions on others and (c) a desire to be helpful. To assess your capacity for empathy, consider:

* When you didn't understand why someone acted a certain way or took a certain position.

* When a conversation did not go well. When you sensed something was bothering a coworker.

* When you offered to help someone without being asked. …

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