Top performers are emotionally “competent.” They are able to manage a wide range of emotions, and deal with other people effectively. Emotional intelligence abilities fall into two main categories.
1. Personal abilities
These skills refer to how you manage yourself. They include:
Self-awareness – This means being aware of emotions, strengths and limits, and capabilities. It means having a strong understanding of yourself and what you do well, and your areas of weakness.
A person who is self-aware knows, for example, that her mood affects her customer’s mood. If she is tense, her customers will pick up on this. So she projects a positive attitude, which is contagious.
Self-management – This means controlling emotions and impulses. It means having integrity. It also includes being flexible, responsible, and innovative. Instead of holding others responsible for your success, you take action yourself.
This helps you take a positive approach to solving problems and avoid flying off the handle, even in high-pressure situations.
Goal orientation – This is the emotional ability that helps you reach a goal. It includes the desire to achieve, your level of commitment, your initiative, and a positive attitude.
2. Social abilities
These skills determine how well you deal with others. People with strong social skills have empathy. This means being aware of other people’s feelings, needs, and concerns.
Empathy is especially important with customers, because anticipating and meeting their needs is critical to success in the workplace. Customers want suppliers to take an active interest in their concerns.
In addition, people with strong social skills are able to solicit effective responses from others. They are able to communicate well with others, have strong conflict management skills, and exhibit leadership skills.
Social skills are important for interacting with customers and co-workers. Those with strong social skills are able to work well in team environments. They are also able to lead effectively since they can influence others in positive directions.
Top performers in the workplace have a wide range of competencies. In addition to their intelligence and training, these workers have emotional intelligence abilities.
Dealing with Emotions Effectively
People with emotional self-restraint don’t tend to come unglued in stressful situations. They can manage someone else’s tantrum without becoming angry.
Just because someone holds in emotions doesn’t mean he is coping effectively. Some people don’t react visibly, but their negative emotions come out in other ways. High blood pressure, headaches, backaches, and other kinds of health problems can be caused by holding negative feelings in. It’s important to understand and release stress.
There are four important skills that help you keep your emotions in check:
1. Mood management – Some people recognize and control their moods. They change behaviors that cause bad moods. For example, if you know you get grouchy in the afternoons, instead of wasting time being angry, schedule a task you enjoy for the afternoon.
2. Self-understanding – Some people are very aware of their strengths and weaknesses and seek help when appropriate. For example, if one of your co-workers makes you very tense, rehearse before you have to talk to her. Because you know she makes you tense, it’s important for you to think about what you want from your conversation. If you plan ahead, you won’t get emotional.
3. Calmness under fire – Remaining calm defuses an attacker’s emotions. For example, you might count to ten before you respond to anything an angry customer says. That way you have to think before you speak.
4. Clarity about feelings – People who understand their feelings can manage them. For example, if you know that you get tense when you have to crunch numbers, have someone else check your work so that you don’t worry and end up panicking. The other person will help you understand where you make mistakes, so, over time, you’ll get better at the task.
Having strong self-control doesn’t mean avoiding emotions. It means dealing with emotions effectively. You can get control over your feelings by gaining understanding. It’s also important to understand your feelings and abilities so you can plan positive actions.