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Self-Awareness: The Cornerstone of Emotional Intelligence

In times past, professionals turned up their noses at the idea of Emotional Intelligence. It was made to appear like something Human Resources professionals came up with to justify training programs organized for employees. It did not immediately translate to measurable achievements, so it was not highly valued by executives. In recent years, there has been more research and buzz around “Emotional Intelligence”. There are increasingly more courses and professional certifications being offered to help individuals develop their emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others, and motivate ourselves, manage our emotions and improve relationships with others. Some people are academically and professionally brilliant, but display social ineptitude and appear unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Research is increasingly showing that intellectual intelligence is not enough for success in life. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) can help you succeed academically and develop the technical skills you need in your profession, but it is your Emotional Quotient (EQ) that will help you manage stress, embrace change, bounce back from challenges and navigate difficult relationships.

The ability to manage your behavior, move smoothly through social situations and make critical choices in life is important. The major hallmarks of emotional intelligence are the ability to make healthy choices based on accurately identifying, understanding, and managing your own feelings and those of others; tuning in to people, starting with yourself. Aristotle said “Anyone can be angry, that’s easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way, this is not easy.”

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence, and people who achieve great personal effectiveness are some of the most self-aware people. Self-awareness is an awareness of “self” i.e., the awareness of the qualities that make one’s identity unique. These unique characteristics include our thoughts, experiences, and abilities. The ability to monitor our emotions and thoughts from moment to moment is key to understanding ourselves better, being at peace with who we are, and proactively managing our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Self-aware people tend to act consciously (rather than react passively) and tend to be in good psychological health. They also have a positive outlook on life, greater depth of life experience and are likely to be more compassionate.

The goal of emotional intelligence is not self-awareness, but self-improvement leading to greater personal effectiveness at work and at home. For example, emotional intelligence enhances one’s effectiveness in influencing and leading others. Some of the characteristics of effective leaders include deep business understanding beyond their professional silos; listening; boldness and determination to make a difference and leave a legacy; comfort in the midst of discomfort; determination to succeed, even in the midst of adversity; ability to ask good (catalytic) questions; passion for people development; purpose-driven life which propels the passionate pursuit of goals; ability to ignite fire in others and enable them to discover their overall purpose; high standards for all thing, be it work, family or fun; ability to tell stories about the past, present, and future, that motivates employees to go the extra mile.

Everyone possesses emotional intelligence to varying degrees, however people with higher levels of emotional intelligence and greater awareness of how to harness its powers are likely to be more successful than others. What is your level of emotional intelligence? Is it low, moderate, or high? How do you know? Which qualities of emotional intelligence are strengths for you? Which qualities are critical weaknesses? How are these impacting your effectiveness and success at work and at home? Which qualities will you need to leverage more to accelerate your performance and career?

If you do not have clear answers to the questions above or you simply want to develop an appreciable understanding of Emotional Intelligence and how it may be of benefit to you, then you should enroll for H.C. Bonum’s new e-learning course, Emotional Intelligence: Key to Personal Effectiveness. This self-paced course will break down the concept and components of emotional intelligence and show you what you need to know and do to become a more emotionally intelligent individual, team member, colleague, employee, manager, etc.

Omonike Charles-Binitie


IG: @omonikeadeoti

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