An ability to clearly express thoughts and emotionsCommunication meaningfully with othersKnowledge of emotional intelligence principlesShows a clear understanding of feelings and emotions and their impact on others

Emotional Intelligence Principles and how to apply them

Emotional intelligence is essential to develop every other competence. When it comes to interpersonal matters, we can’t rely solely on our knowledge and skills to know what to do in any given situation. Instead, we need to rely on our emotional radar, as it will be a more reliable indicator of how our words and actions are being interpreted by the others. The good news is, we all have a certain level of emotional intelligence and the ability to develop it further. This article will give an overview of the domains of emotional intelligence as originally described by Daniel Goleman, and some insight on how we can apply them in our everyday lives.

Why did I choose this tool?

Emotional intelligence is often referred to, but it is not often described in details and there is even less information about how to actually develop it. With this tool the aim is to do both, although it can only be a starting point in the journey to become more emotionally intelligent (or as I prefer to call it emotionally fit).

How does this apply to being a trainer?

Most of the competences outlined in the competence model for trainers, which this library is based on, are either directly or indirectly related to emotional intelligence. The competences of understanding and facilitating individual and group processes, learning to learn, cooperating successfully in teams, communicating meaningfully with others and the intercultural competence all require an awareness of emotions and skill in responding to them. A lot of what we face as trainers is unexpected, and as much as we might plan the perfect training in advance, we can’t predict exactly how participants are going to feel and how it will affect the learning process. This is where emotional intelligence comes in, because it gives you the ability to respond skillfully to the different emotions you may face in the group and to flow with them while still achieving the goals of the training.

Main content:

Emotional Intelligence Principles

In the book “Emotional Intelligence”, Daniel Goleman defines the 5 main domains of emotional intelligence:

Emotional Domain 1: Knowing One’s Emotions

Emotional Domain 2: Managing Emotions

Emotional Domain 3: Motivating Oneself

Emotional Domain 4: Recognizing Other’s Emotions

Emotional Domain 5: Handling Relationships

Emotional Domain 1: Knowing One’s Emotions

Knowing what you’re feeling, what you are striving towards consciously and subconsciously, why you’re feeling that way and most importantly what to do to feel consistently good, is the first step in having an emotionally healthy and overall successful life. In addition to this, knowing ourselves intimately is the only way to genuinely understand and empathize with others, thus being able to be successful in interpersonal relationships.

How to apply it?

“To Know Thyself is the Beginning of all Wisdom” – Socrates

Emotional intelligence is one of those topics that you can’t just gain book knowledge about. You actually have to apply it to yourself, first of all, and then to others and the world around you. There are a million ways to get to know yourself, including self-observation, feedback, journaling, personal growth seminars and books, coaching and therapy. You need to find the method, or the combination of methods, that are best for you. More important than the exact method is that you gradually reach the goal of “knowing thyself”, in this case particularly being able to identify what you are feeling when you feel it, and what events or thought processes have led to feeling that way. With this knowledge, you can then work towards changing the aspects in your life or in yourself that are not serving you.

Emotional Domain 2: Managing Emotions

Particularly when it comes to negative emotions, it’s essential to make sure that they don’t spiral out of control and have a negative impact on our lives as well as the lives of others. The way to do this however is not by repressing negative emotions and pretending that they don’t exist, but rather understanding, expressing and taking constructive action as needed. Constructively managing emotions is about listening to the emotions, but then consciously deciding what to do rather than letting them hijack our brain through the amygdala and act on our behalf.

How to apply it?

An emotionally healthy person will naturally feel a wide range of emotions both positive and negative. It is better to paraphrase this to mean “managing the reaction to emotions”, because this is the part that can and should be under our control. Julia Roberts in “Erin Brockovich” gives an excellent example of what can happen when we are in reactive mode, rather than taking the time to contemplate what is really going on, and then decide how we want to respond.

Emotional Domain 3: Motivating Oneself

Being able to motivate ourselves to work towards our goals, especially in the face of difficulties, negative emotions and other obstacles. Being able to manage our focus and direction, so that we can reach more long term and sustainable positive emotions (such as fulfillment) rather than just turning towards what will bring us instant gratification (such as the pleasure we get from food or drink).

How to apply it?

This is connected to the principle above. When you feel frustrated, sad, disappointed, overwhelmed or bored what do you do? Do you give into the negative feelings, even if doing so is detrimental to your long-term goals? Or do you identify the source of the problem, make the necessary changes, and then change your state to a motivated one that is able to make progress? Negative emotions are meant to be listened to, but they shouldn’t be the ones in charge of our lives and our progress. Think of them as advisors, not as your boss. Listen to what they are telling you, and then decide what to do. And don’t let them sabotage your progress on the long term.

Emotional Domain 4: Recognizing Other’s Emotions

Understanding what others are feeling, and especially what effect our words and actions may be having on them. For example, being able to understand when we have hurt someone, and being able to redirect our behavior to make them feel better and to ensure we don’t do it again. Or being aware of how people might be feeling in a social setting, and if they are interested in what others are telling them or perhaps wish they were somewhere else. Or being able to recognize when someone is feeling sad and despondent, and being able to say a few words that will elevate their mood and help them to keep going. On the other hand, this ability can protect us from someone who may have ill intentions, helping us to recognize what’s going on even before it’s obvious and extract ourselves from the situation before they can do us harm.

How to apply it?

Here is an example from the movie “inside out” on how to recognize what someone is feeling and respond accordingly, rather than pursuing a pre-set agenda that is not in line with their emotional state. I highly recommend the movie, as it is based on a research about emotions done by the psychologist Dr. Paul Eckman and is a quite accurate and animated portrayal of how emotions work.

Emotional Domain 5: Handling Relationships

This is an extension of domain 1 and domain 5, knowing one’s own emotions and recognizing other’s emotions. It’s about understanding the both sides of the relationship coin and being able to make decisions and take actions that take all of the emotions and needs into account. It involves being able to communicate our own emotions and needs effectively, while taking into consideration the other person’s emotions and needs as well, sometimes supporting them to communicate when they find it difficult to do so. In addition to this, being generally happy and content will inevitably influence every relationship you have in a positive way.

How to apply it?

How to apply emotional intelligence to relationships is too extensive to cover here, but some of the competences you can develop with emotional intelligence that will help you in relationships, are the following:

  • Your ability to express yourself, including negative emotions, in a compassionate way

Check out the article on “compassionate communication” also included in this competence for more detailed information on how to develop yourself in this area

  • Your ability to empathize and understand the emotions of another person

The best way to start developing this competence is by starting with principle 1 “knowing one’s emotions”. If you are in touch with your own feelings and you have a strong relationship with yourself, having empathy for someone else comes as a natural result of that. The meaning of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. If someone is being harsh and is lacking empathy for others, there’s a high chance that that person is being harsh and is lacking empathy for himself as well.

  • Your ability to love and care for another, and be loved and cared for by another

Getting in touch with your emotions and the emotions of others opens the way for love and care, in every one of its possible forms, to flow freely from and to you. Love and care is pretty much a natural outcome of “doing the work” as described above, insofar as your development in this area is not purely intellectual but integrates your mind and your heart.

  • Your ability to refrain from judgment in order to fully understand others

Emotional intelligence is pretty much about getting your mind and your emotions to collaborate rather than be at odds with each other. This involves waiting to react before being able to think about what is the smartest and kindest way to respond to any given situation. Often we are making fast judgments about people, situations, and ourselves, but if we were able to refrain from that, we would be able to see everything in a very different light.

Reflection questions:

On a level of 1 – 5, how well did I do in the 5 domains of emotional intelligence?

Emotional Domain 1: Knowing One’s Emotions

Emotional Domain 2: Managing Emotions

Emotional Domain 3: Motivating Oneself

Emotional Domain 4: Recognizing Other’s Emotions

Emotional Domain 5: Handling Relationships

For the ones that I scored higher on, how did I develop myself in that domain? What resources did I use? What experiences did I have? Did I have them since I was a child, or did I develop them later on in life?

For the ones that I scored lower on, what can I do to develop myself further in that domain? Thinking about the resources and experiences that have helped me in the other areas in the past, how can I use them today to get the same result? What other support do I need today to develop myself in those areas?

What might be holding me back from scoring higher in those areas? Is there any pain or any wounds that aren’t healed that are closing me off from my own emotions, or that of others? If so, what kind of support do I need to heal in those areas?

How developing myself in these areas will benefit my personal and professional life? How will it build my “communicating meaningfully with others” competence?

What are some problems that seem unsolvable to me now, that could be solved by me developing my emotional intelligence? What can my life look like then?

Exercise

Watch the movie “Inside Out” by pixar and reflect on the unseen role of emotions in our everyday lives.

Leilani van Rheenen

has been active in youth work, training and coaching since 2008. Her specialty is emotional intelligence, emotional fitness, since it is the primary ingredient in competences such as inter-cultural competence, learning to learn, cooperating successfully in teams, etc. Leilani’s contribution will combine the information and methods she has created with the vast array of tried and tested materials available. Leilani has developed herself as a trainer from the Salto training for trainers, but also from renowned coaches and authors, and adapted methods learned from these sources to meet the needs of youth workers.

Click here to read more about Leilani van Rheenen

Read more from this author

Bookmark(0)
Source
Top of Form Bottom of Form van Rheenen, L. (2018, November 8). Emotional Intelligence - The Key to Developing your Interpersonal & Intercultural CompetenceGoleman, D. (2012). Emotional Intelligence. Bantam.Top of Form Bottom of Form (n.d.). Emotion Control | Www.miifotos.com. Retrieved March 11

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button