What is EI? Articles

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« 15. High emotional intelligence: Self-awareness »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, accredited MSCEIT consultant.

There is no clear cut answer to the question, "What is emotional intelligence?" or "What is EQ?" because it is not a "thing", it is an intelligence; and it occurs to varying degrees and in different ways.

For example, people may have high, medium or low levels of emotional intelligence across the full seven dimensions of emotional intelligence. Thus they will have different levels of skill on the first dimension: "emotional self-awareness".

What is it like to have high emotional intelligence on this dimension? There are many benefits to having high levels of emotional self-awareness. I will list a few of them here and encourage you to add your own.

5 advantages of high levels of emotional self-awareness at work.

  1. You are better able to understand why you do what you do, because emotions drive behaviour, whether you are aware of them or not. This therefore gives you greater control over the decisions you make.
  2. You have more choice as to how you behave. When you have high emotional intelligence and emotional self-awareness you can choose how you behave and not be at the mercy of your negative emotions. Your emotions will not automatically take over and dictate what you do.
  3. You can identify and understand the impact that your own feelings are having on your thoughts, memory and creativity, so that you can change them as you need. This is a vital skill in the workplace.
  4. You may feel more in control of your life and know what you want.
  5. You are less likely to get stuck in decision making and problem solving when there are conflicting emotions at play. Thus you might feel tempted to apply for the new executive role that has just been created but you can't decide whether to or not. If you know you are excited by the position, yet feel vulnerable in case you can't meet all the criteria, and feel silly in case people think you are arrogant, by identifying all three emotions (excitement, vulnerability, silliness) you can work through them and apply confidently for the role. If you are not aware you are more likely to feel stuck, procrastinate and miss the opportunity. I have seen this kind of behaviour played out many times in my clients.

Want to do the MSCEIT to measure your emotional intelligence? It is the gold-standard ability measure. To find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green, click here

Further resources on the Mayer Salovey emotional intelligence model.

3 more advantages of high level emotional self-awareness.

  1. You have the choice to act on potentially destructive emotions quickly and to stop them from festering and escalating. This means, therefore, you are less likely to harm yourself, others or your reputation, or to hijack negotiations, meetings or media interviews.
  2. You will be more able to develop trust between yourself and the people with whom you work, whether stakeholders, executives  or clients. Self-awareness can be enormously beneficial for the development of productive, engaging relationships.
  3. You may be better able to protect yourself from harm. Emotions can give you important warnings that you are not safe, that you are about to make an error, that you are not well and need help. By knowing how you feel you have the opportunity to heed these warnings early. This could save you from embarrassing yourself, your team or your organisation.

Have your emotional intelligence assessed now.

Want to know how high your emotional intelligence is? There is another model of emotional intelligence, by Salovey and Mayer, that has an ability-based emotional intelligence test called the MSCEIT which you can complete online.

Click here to find out how to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test (MSCEIT) and gain feedback on the results from our Director, emotional intelligence specialist, Rachel Green.

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Develop your emotional intelligence now and lead a happier, more productive life and improve your work relationships, whether with colleagues, stakeholders or customers.