Thursday, January 13, 2005

Emotional Intelligence

"Anyone can be angry - that is 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." - Aristotle

Understanding one's emotion to behave in a way that is socially acceptable is certainly not an easy task. It requires "a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' emotions, discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one's thinking and action" (Salovey and Sluyter 1997, quoted in DeJanasz et al., 2001, p.9). This social intelligence is what we call today as emotional intelligence or EQ.

Emotional intelligence is about developing an awareness of one's feelings and emotions to response appropriately according to the situation at hand. It requires skills like self-control, zeal, persistence, and motivation to adapt and navigate within a society.

According to experts in the field of behavioral studies, there are six fundamentals for achieving emotional intelligence. They are: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills, and group work skills (DeJanasz et al., 2001, p.10).

Self-awareness requires the self-analysis of behavior in understanding the way we conduct ourselves, our motivation, our modes of thinking, acting, and interacting. It includes understanding one's own personality or the relatively stable set of characteristics, tendencies, and temperaments formed by inheritance and by social, cultural, and environmental factors (Maddi 1980, p.10; DeJanasz et. al., 2001, p.4).

Self-regulation is about regulating oneself to adapt to situations, exercising discretion, cultivating trustworthiness, conscientiousness, innovativeness, with the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses.

Motivation is about what drives us to pursue one action over another. By understanding one's core drivers, whether positive or negative, one can discover the roots of one's behavior and make adjustments necessary to modify it.

Empathy is the ability to understand others and putting oneself in the shoes of another, to read and respond to others' feelings.

Social skills relate to one's ability to interact smoothly in managing interpersonal relationships and the emotions of other people.

Group work skills focus primarily on organizational or communal collaboration and cooperation, teamwork, conflict management, and the willingness to work toward common goals.

Emotional intelligence is related to several personality traits such as conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience, agreeableness and the kinds. To some extent, EQ can be learnt but people in general do not naturally develop it by just understanding what it is. It requires coaching, constant practice, and adapting from others' feedback (McShane and Travaglione 2003, pp.125-126).


DeJanasz, S., Dowd, K., and Schneider, B. (2001), Interpersonal Skills in Organizations, Irwin, McGraw-Hill.
Maddi, S.R. (1980), Personality Theories: A Comparative Analysis. 4th edn. Homewood, Il, Dorsey Press.
McShane, S. and Travaglione, T. (2003), Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim. NSW, McGraw-Hill.
Salovey, P. and Sluyter, D. (1997), eds., Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Educational Implications. New York, Basic Books.


Anonymous said...

I take it you don't think one can be a successful writer apart from psychology~ at least pertaining to journalistic reportage.
There's another facet to consider. I think all writers should take acting classes. How about THAT? Helps them empathize, get in the head of their subjects or characters. Write better.


Writer n Journalist said...

Hi MarjM ...

Don't believe for a moment that news reporting is about psychology in understanding events or people ... at least I don't think so! My opinion ... news reporting is very much about perceptions and what's make the news.

Emotional intelligence in this entry of my blog is simply a subject I am writing for a particular audience. For a discourse on concepts, perspectives, and ways of writing, read my archives of August to October 2004.