How important is
for social an professional success?
MANAGER PROJECT -
As I said before, I had the chance to discover Emotional Intelligence (EI) couple of years ago.
“Individual and Teamwork” course offered me a better understanding of the unlimited validity area of Daniel Goleman’s theory, both in social and professional life.
Less than 20 years ago, Goleman had a discussion with Eileen Rockefeller Growald, president of Institute for Health Evolution, and for the first time he approached the “emotional alphabetization” subject.
No more than 10 years after that (1995) Goleman published this book: “Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ? His theory overturned entire personal evaluation system which was based only on IQ. Goleman stated that a human being is a complex of 8 “intelligences” and his social and professional value is at their crossing.
The revolutionary aspect of this theory is that, for the first time, Goleman presented the IQ tests limitations. In his opinion, the IQ tests reflect only Cognitive Intelligence, which is brain capability to accumulate, stock and process academic data . This exclusively describes the relation between individual and his knowledge.
In “Emotional Intelligence”, Goleman not only presents other components of Human Intelligence but also, for the first time ever, he moves weight centre of individual social and professional value from the IQ level to a more complex level: individual relation with the society. This is the essence of EI.
Personally, I have been fascinated by three elements:
complexity of scientific arguments brought by Goleman in order to sustain cerebral mechanisms of EI;
extraordinary wide range of this theory availability and applicability. Actually, there is no human activity area without EI involvement. Most of the times, it exists in unconsciousness and raises performances level every time it is brought to individuals’ consciousness.
Obviously, my entire adhesion to this theory as well as un-conditioned offered support are exposing me to accusations of subjectivism or “fanatical cohesion” to a simple and still young theory.
Fortunately, one of the most useful tests that Dr. Teresa Shafer developed in order to facilitate our “self-awareness” was referring to stress. Coincidently, this was the first area which I was eager to improve since 2 years, after I have finished an EI training and read Goleman’s book.
That time I was living at a high stress level. This was affecting not only my professional results efficiency and quality, but also my health. When interpreting the analyses results, my doctor said: “Your lever is also affected by stress. Immediately you need to get rid of stress factors”. That was easy to say, but hard to accomplish. So I asked him how should I do this. The answer was simple: “You are not allowed to involve yourself too much”. I was still amused when I was leaving his cabinet; I just couldn’t see myself standing in front of my manager, who is a very demanding person, and tell him with serenity: “You know, boss, my doctor told me not to involve myself anymore…”
This short story
might seem irrelevant. But it is not. This is to prove that one of the best
During the training I followed, I have come to understand that EI might cure stress. I’ve brought the trainer (a psychologist) about a detailed discussion in this area. It has been really challenging for him also, as nobody ever has approached him on this subject: “stress viewed through EI”.
We knew very clear that we had a big, global issue – stress, and a theory which was extremely generous in socio-psychological tools. We decided then to choose a new approach of presented issue, through EI.
In the beginning, we agreed that stress is the result of individual’s interaction with environment (need to be mentioned that this occurs also to animals and vegetal). As the environment is known, we used “self-awareness” rules (following EI theory) to draw up the map of processes and reactions at the brain level in front of stress.
I repeat saying that all we had was Golemn’s theory and a great wish to succeed.
The next step was to find out if stress is a result of the way environment is soliciting us or a result of the way we rapport ourselves to environment. The conclusion was that both variants are generating stress, but in different manners. The first one generates a reasonable amount of stress, which we can handle as we are genetically prepared for it, while he biggest stress comes when we interact with the environment (the second variant).
We have found here again the base concept of EI theory, which appears in every human activity analyze, respectively the individual – society relation. This encouraged us to continue.
For the next step we used another EI concept, which is “self-regulation”. After a comparative analyze we have found that a certain environment factor, for example a colleague promotion, can be a joy reason for part of the team and, at the same time, a frustrating and anger factor for other part of the team or simply can pass as an indifferent event for other colleagues. It became obvious that stress is generated by the personal manner we interpret environment signals.
This was the revolution key for the changes in stress perception that started in my brain.
We must understand that every emotional involvement is generating stress (you probably remember the precious “Don’t take it personally!” which I’ve talked about in “What makes a leader?”). It is also a reality that we get emotionally involved in all kind of situations, which normally shouldn’t affect us, like: another car overtook our car on the highway, the favourite team lost the final game, our husband / wife was late 20 minutes because he / she was trapped in a jam, somebody is talking too loud just next to us, etc.
Conclusion: all the situations above are stress signals which are forcing our organism to liberate adrenaline – this means an energy surplus which, unconsciousness, will be used to feed new possible conflicts, generated by our own thoughts and interpretations. Supposing that the conflict will be ended before the whole adrenaline quantity is used, this will accumulate to the rests of similar situations. In order for the individual to keep his mental and physical health, he must eliminate this surplus through sports exercises.
Solution: with EI and “self awareness” methods, I have found the solution for decreasing stress level. Firstly, I’ve become aware of the fact that stress is mostly my problem and less an environment problem, which environment we blame all the time, for commodity reasons. Secondly, I have started deliberately to change my own perspective over traditional stress factors. After repeated trials, I have succeeded to stop reactions in front of stress factors with no relevance.
The results were absolutely fantastic. From that moment in time, the medical analyses showed a normal leaver. Another confirmation of successful overcoming stress by EI was the result of the Stress Test that I took after this: the final result was 110 points (normal maxim level was 200 points and the average group score was 10 times bigger than mine).
Being encouraged by these great results, I have continued to pay a special attention to EI implementation in order to improve my social and professional parameters.
The next area with significant results was the empathic communication one. The importance of this ability consists of the fact that “90% of the emotional message in communication is non-verbal”, as Goleman claims (p. 126).
The science people discovered that “what you say” is differently received, function of “how you say it”. Often it comes to the paradox that an affirmative sentence can be perceived as a negative one, if the way you say it suggests this. In these conditions, the empathic qualities are essential for any successful person.
Randy Larsen said: “more open we are to our own feelings, more able we are to interpret other people’s emotions”.
Starting from these realities and imposing myself to pay more attention to non-verbal messages that I was transmitting during communication, I succeeded to improve two times my relationships.
Why two times? One time because I have come to understand feelings which normally come together with the verbal messages. Second time because I succeeded to control my own attitude during speaking.
professional benefits that EI has brought (improved work efficiency through
stress control, empathic communication), another good result was health
improvement and raised overall tonus level. In EI book (1995), Goleman
dedicates a whole chapter to “Mind and medicine” subject. His study was based
on the discovery that Rober Ader had made in the laboratories of “
Following studies have proved the importance of emotions in falling ill process as well as brain capability to communicate with immunity system through chemicals messengers.
Goleman helped me understand that any negative emotion (anger, stress, depression) may generate immunity system resistance decrease, while a positive mind-set is increasing human organism resistance to illness.
Just to give you an example, till that time I used to catch a cold 3-4 times every year. Through self-awareness, I succeeded since then to become aware of the moments when my organism was exposed to influenza. Through self-regulation I imposed myself a strongly positive attitude, sustained by preventive light medication. Result: I haven’t been cold since two years.
These are only few benefits I have gained through deeper knowledge about EI. As Goleman’s theory offers many possibilities of self-improvement, I am in full process of thoroughgoing study.
On the other side, the managerial projects approach from “Individual & Teamwork” course offered new subject opportunities: EI and hiring / firing processes, EI and team motivation, EI and time management.
The confirmations I had as well as accumulated experiences are encouraging me to continue performances improvement using this extraordinary theory, which is so young and, in the same time, general valid.
Daniel Goleman, Emotionl Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ, 1995
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