Emotional intelligence or When the high IQ simply isn't enough

Emotional intelligence can be understood as a capability to control one's emotions and also ability to feel and understand the emotions of others. It is the ability to handle one's emotions and cooperation with your surroundings. This term was introduced by Salovey and Mayer in 1990 and they define it as a part of social intelligence and social abilities. According to them, it encompasses the ability of watching one's and others' feelings, emotions, differentiate among them and use them in one's thinking or behaviour. The emotional intelligence thus contributes to being able to handle one's emotions well, but also to ability to use them for personal or work benefits in real life.

Under the term “emotional intelligence,” we can also imagine a balance between emotions and reason, one's personal wisdom or degree of experiencing with which we handle everyday problems and difficulties. Emotional intelligence as a field of study is searching for its place in psychology and its practical application in various planes of life.

EQ versus IQ

Intelligence is a capability to adjust to various environmental conditions, to learn from one's experiences, to know how to handle situations the right way, which also applies to new situations which arise in life, to have good grades, etc.
The intellect is usually measured by intelligence tests and it is expressed by an intelligence quotient, or IQ. In general population, the intelligent quotient is usually around average, which stands for the area between 90 and 110 points. Lower or higher intellect generally causes various problems. While people with higher intellect get bored more often among others and they are not coping well with stereotype, because their mind feels unsatisfied and not fully used, people with lower intellect somewhat have problem to keep up with others, despite their maximum effort.

Intelligence is a topic in case of which scientists still argue about its degree of significance in our everyday life.

A person with high IQ may not be very popular among others because of one simple reason – he or she may not know how to get along, deal or cooperate with people. The reason for this might be a low emotional intelligence, because the very emotional intelligence helps us to understand other people, to be able to deal with them and to know and control one's own emotions. Emotional intelligence is important especially for someone who deals with other people.

Daniel Goleman and popularization of emotional intelligence

Daniel Goleman, writer, psychologist and journalist has promoted and greatly contributed to popularization and use of the concept of emotional intelligence. He has contributed regularly into The New York Times and he is the author of many books about psychology, among which were several books about emotional intelligence. He is also one of the organizers and participants of worldwide meetings of scientists from various fields, which focus on transformation of negative or even destructive emotions and their use in real life.

According to this author, the emotional intelligence is composed of five elements, which keep interacting with each other and affect each other. It is an awareness of one's emotions, the ability to recognize one's feelings, an element, which is essential for self-understanding and which allows better decision-making. Further, it is the ability to handle emotions and to deal with our feelings in a way appropriate to the situation, to shake off the feelings of gloom and fear or to calm one's anger etc., the ability to motivate oneself and an attempt to connect our feelings to our attempts in order to achieve acquisition of knowledge and creativity and thus to achieve a successful activity in general. It can also be seen as the ability to postpone satisfaction, ability to suppress hasty behaviour and other abilities. According to Goleman, perception of others' emotions is yet another element; this ability is also called empathy (ability to empathize). It develops with growing emotional self-awareness and it allows us to recognize desires of other people. The art of interpersonal relationships enables development and use of empathy; satisfactory interpersonal relationships depend on whether a person is able to feel others' emotions and to adjust his or her behaviour to their emotions.

According to Goleman, all emotions are in fact urges to activity; thus, if we want to be successful in interpersonal relationships, it is necessary to be able to recognize both one's own and other people's emotions flawlessly. Only in this way we can realize what we do, what we want to do or what others do or want to do. Basically, it concerns two key elements of emotional intelligence, the perceptive one and the behavioural one. Thus to summarize, to recognize and to use suitable psychological action on behalf of this recognition.

Purpose and use of emotional intelligence.

However, the ability of empathy and self-control does not automatically guarantee a moral use of emotional intelligence. Many people, who can recognize other people's wishes, can use this knowledge for their own benefit and for selfish reasons. For example, they can use loneliness of some people, insinuate themselves into their favour and then use them for their own benefit. Personal gain is thus one way of using emotional intelligence. Moral use of emotional intelligence depends on the degree of development of personal morals. Positive social sensitivity is described as altruism and empathy is a prerequisite of the altruism. Thus, it is desirable to interconnect emotional intelligence and ethical sensitivity or emotional maturity. Emotionally intelligent people are also aware of their weaknesses, they moderate their reactions and they can steer themselves towards the desired result.

Another way of how to use emotional intelligence in real life is undoubtedly to use it in your work. Emotionally intelligent managers can lead better and more effectively not only themselves, but also other people. Strong emotional connection of managers and other people in an organization leads to subordinates with clearer knowledge of the required tasks and the effectiveness of the organization thus increases naturally.

What are emotions and why are they so important for us?

Brain structures where the emotions originate are much older in terms of development than the structures in which thinking and analytical processes in general take place. And the information from sense organs reach the “emotional” structures much faster, so emotions (anger, fear, but also joy) react first and reaction of reason comes only after them.

It has allowed us to do the most important thing – to survive. Despite the layer of civilization and rationality, most of primary information is transferred through emotions.

Philosophers and psychologists have been arguing about the meaning of the term emotion for many years. They have not agreed on an uniform definition.

Here we have several views and definitions to emotions

emotion: from a Greek word e-motere: motere - to move, prefix - e – movement in a direction away from something
emotion: wider term than feeling – it encompasses subjective feelings of pleasure and displeasure
emotion: urges to act, immediate instructions for handling life situations; they are accompanied by physiological changes and motor manifestations
emotions (Oxford dictionary): agitation or uneasiness of the mind, feeling, any mental agitation. To this day, the scientists also have not agreed on which emotions should be considered primary, i.e. the origin of other emotions. Paul Ekman from University of California, San Francisco has discovered that a specific facial manifestation of four emotions (fear, anger, sadness and joy) is recognized by people of all cultures in the same way – including illiterate people, unaffected by mass media. That is why he considers these emotions universal.

8 basic emotions (according to Hartl psychological dictionary)

happiness, fear, trust, anger, surprise, sadness, anticipation, disgust

Emotion categories according to Coleman

  • Anger– rage, coarseness, hate, anger, annoyance, indignation, bitterness, partiality, sullenness, animosity, in an extreme case even pathological hate and violence
  • Sadness – grief, sorrow, joylessness, gloom, dreariness, melancholy, self-accusation, despair, in a pathological condition even heavy depression
  • Fear– anxiety, nervousness, worry, shock, concerns, bad premonitions, shyness , suspiciousness, irritability, terror, dread, jumpiness, doubt, in psychopathology, phobia and panic
  • Joy– happiness, relief, satisfaction, bliss, enjoyment, amusement, pride, sensory pleasure and delight, excitement, enthusiasm, passion, gratification, euphoria, capriciousness
  • Love – friendship, trust, tolerance, warmth, acceptance, kindness, attraction, devotion, admiration, feeling of-being in love, fascination
  • Surprise– shock, amazement, dismay, astonishment
  • Outraged refusal– loathing, contempt, disgust, disdain, aversion, resentment, detestation, abhorrence
  • Shame – guilt, shyness, grief, disappointment, remorse, conscience, subservience, regrets, humiliation, humbleness and repentance
  • Mood– in comparison to emotions, much less pronounced and effective much longer than emotions. It is very rare for anyone to stay angry for the entire day, however, it is very common to be irritated or to be in a bad mood for the entire day. When in such mood, we succumb much more easily to temporary manifestations of anger, which are much shorter because of their nature.
  • Temperament– dynamic personality features, a collection of innate features, which demonstrate themselves by manner of acting, reacting and experiencing. Temperament is connected to individual's excitability – a degree of response of the organism to various impulses; at the same time, it concerns the organism's tendency to change moods. People differ from each other not only by the content of their intellectual life (i.e. by perceiving, remembering, thinking, by their interests), but also by its form – by reactions to impulses. The temperament thus determines the dynamics of the entire act of experiencing and behaviour of a personality.

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