What is EI? Articles

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Wednesday
Mar072012

« 6. EI Competency 1: Emotional self-awareness »

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

Emotional intelligence can be separated into several different skill sets.

Each model of emotional intelligence pinpoints self-awareness as a key skill set. How good are you at recognising how you feel, moment by moment at work?

On the Genos Emotional Intelligence model "emotional self-awareness" is the first of the seven dimensions of emotional intelligence. This dimension is fundamental to several aspects of your emotional intelligence and you need skills in it for many reasons.

In this article you will find:

  • A definition of emotional self-awareness.
  • The aspects I consider to be involved in this dimension. 
  • An important step you can take to further develop your emotional intelligence and emotional self-awareness at work.

Want to do the MSCEIT to measure your emotional intelligence? It is the gold-standard ability mesaure. 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

Definition of emotional self-awareness

The skill of perceiving and understanding one's own emotions.

There are many aspects to this. For example, it may mean:

  • Being able to know how you feel. The speed with which you can do this is important. Do you know how you feel in each moment or only on reflection at the end of the day, or some weeks later when you explode in anger and realise how irritated or stressed you were weeks earlier? The faster you can pick up on your emotions the higher your level of emotional intelligence will be in this dimension.
  • Being able to recognise the fluctuations in your emotions and when they change from one emotion to another.
  • Being able to accurately identify which emotion you have, and whether you have a simple emotion or a complex of emotions. Emotions often occur together; for example, you might feel excited and fearful at the same time, or hurt may be underlying your anger.
  • Being able to identify the strength of your emotion. 
  • Being able to understand the emotions that are driving your behaviour, thinking or memory.
  • Being aware of the emotions behind what you are saying and how you are relating to and communicating with people. Your voice tone alone can change in many subtle ways with different emotions, people hear the change even when the words stay the same.
  • Being aware of the emotions that are leading you to avoid a task or situation.
  • Being able to recognise the patterns and habits in your emotional responses and reactions.
  • Understanding what triggers particular emotions in you.
  • Understanding the reasons behind some of your emotions. Some emotions arise because of our history and not always because of our immediate situation.
  • Having high levels of emotional intelligence in emotional self-awareness requires a sophisticated awareness and a complex skill set. We don't always have it! I know a manager who can barely identify any emotions she has, even when other people can notice changes in her body, facial expression and behaviour. It impacts negatively on her authority in the workplace.

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

More information on the Mayer Salovey emotional intelligence model.

EI case example: Why a manager lacked authority

Having high levels of emotional intelligence on this dimension, emotional self-awareness, requires a sophisticated awareness and a complex skill set. We don't always have it! I know a manager who can barely identify any emotions she has, even when other people can notice changes in her body, facial expression and behaviour.

It impacts negatively on her authority in the workplace as she doesn't know how she is coming across to others, or what non-verbal signals she is gving out. She doesn't find it easy to understand her own emotional drivers of behaviour and has a poor reference point from which to understand the emotions of others. This limits her skills when negotiating with others or influencing people, for example.

Ways to develop your emotional self-awareness at work

There are many steps that could be involved. I recommend you start by asking yourself these five questions, every day for a week.

  1. How aware are you of your emotions today?
  2. Which emotions did you find it easy to recognise in yourself?
  3. Which emotions did you miss in yourself?
  4. In which situations did you find it easy to know how you feel?
  5. In which situations did you find it hard to know how you feel?

Emotional self-awareness is an essential emotional intelligence skill in the workplace whether you are the Chairman of the Board, the CEO or the receptionist. Develop yours now.

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.

Develop your emotional intelligence now

We have many resources plus coaching packages to help you. Click here for the 5 star emotional intelligence coaching package, or for more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.

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