One of the most important aspects to good communication is emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional intelligence is different from IQ. First, EI predicts much of life success, much more than IQ, in fact. 1 The great thing about EI is that it can actually improve over time, unlike IQ, which stays the same over a lifetime. According to Daniel Goleman, 2 a researcher on EI, there are five main aspects or domains to EI:
- Knowing your emotions
- Managing your emotions
- Motivating yourself
- Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions
- Managing relationships
First, let’s discuss knowing your emotions. If we don’t know how we feel about something, it can be difficult to communicate. It may seem obvious to know what we are feeling from moment to moment, but oftentimes we do not. How we feel impacts our body language as well as our verbal communication. For example, let’s say you just got home from work and had a really crummy day. When you get home, you find that your spouse has not unloaded the dishwasher yet, as you had agreed. Tie this with a crummy day, and you might communicate differently about it than if you had a great day.
On the other hand, if you recognize that you are tired and a bit cranky, your awareness of these emotions allows you to manage them. The third aspect of EI, motivating yourself, goes without saying in a management or human resource role. This is the key not only to career success but also to personal success.
The last two domains of EI revolve around being able to see and understand emotions in other people, which in turn can benefit the relationship. Let’s say, in the situation above, you get home and the dishwasher isn’t unloaded, but you recognize immediately through body language and facial expressions that your spouse is extremely upset by something. Seeing this emotion in someone else may help you decide if you should mention the dishwasher—or not—at this specific time. But what if you didn’t recognize this emotion and raised your voice to your spouse about the unloaded dishwasher? It will probably result in an argument. Using this example, I am sure you can see how this translates into the workplace. Emotional intelligence allows us to work better with people, understand them, and communicate with them.
Human Resource Recall
Do you think you are a good communicator? What could you improve?