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            If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far – Daniel Goleman

            75% percent of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust – Center for Creative Leadership

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            When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion – Dale Carnegie

 

In their book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves follow up on their bestselling self-help book The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book. Their goal is to help raise awareness of emotional intelligence (EQ) and it’s key role in our success in school, work, and in life.

Most people know what an IQ is, but what about an EQ? Let’s start with the easy one. IQ stands for “intelligence quotient” and was first introduced by French psychologist Alfred Binet. At an early age, an educator or learning specialist administers an IQ test and that child is then assigned a number that supposedly represents his or her intelligence. According to the test, IQs are fixed and innate at birth.

In the early 1990s, Daniel Goleman of The New York Times introduced the idea of emotional intelligence or EQ. Unlike the IQ, emotional intelligence is not fixed from birth and individuals can raise their EQ through intervention and education.

In his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ, Goleman explains his conception of emotional intelligence:

            Abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope… And while there are those who argue that IQ cannot be changed much by experience or education, I will show that the crucial emotional competencies can indeed be learned and improved upon by children – if we bother to teach them.

Alternatively, Bradberry and Greaves define emotional intelligence as “your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.”

Their framework for understanding EQ is surprisingly simple, and includes four steps:

Self-awareness. Those who have high self-awareness understand what they do well, what makes them feel fulfilled or motivated, and what frustrates or stumps them. Self-awareness is the first step towards emotional intelligence, as without it, the next three steps are impossible.

Self-management. Now that you have an awareness of what makes you happy and unhappy, self-management is the ability to use that awareness in order to stay flexible and use your behavior positively. In other words, if you understand your emotional needs, you can occasionally choose to forgo your immediate emotional response in order to focus on long-term goals that will fulfill you in the future.

Social awareness. Social awareness is the capability of recognizing emotions in other people. In other words, someone with a high social awareness understands what is going on with other people’s personal emotional minds. They understand human behavior without including themselves in the equation.

Relationship management. This part is definitely the most difficult, as it is a combination of the first three steps: you understand your emotions, you manage your emotions, you understand the emotions of those around, and you act in a way that successfully manages your interactions with people both in the immediate moment and for the future.

You can assess your emotional intelligence through a variety of tests in order to understand where you stand on the EQ range, however, as I mentioned before EQ is not fixed and is easily raised through your own actions. The authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 provide multiple strategies for each step on the way to increasing emotional intelligence. I’ve included just two in each category, but their book is a wealth of information about the topic.

 

Self-Awareness

            Avoid judging your emotions. Rather than labeling a feeling you are having as good or bad, simply recognize that feeling and try to make sense of where it is coming from. Labeling it as good or bad complicates the situation.

            Don’t shy away from unpleasant emotions. Instead, let yourself feel them, and attempt to understand why you are feeling them. This way, you will be able to identify them in the future.

 

Self-Management

            Make an emotion vs. reason list. See if your emotions are in conflict with your logic. If so, decide which should get the upper hand.

            Speak to yourself more nicely. So much of what we do is listen to our own self-talk. Learn to change the way you speak to yourself in order to motivate and encourage rather than shame and blame.

 

Social Awareness

            Pay attention to body language. Learn to read the body language of other people. Are they angry? Frustrated? Really glad to see you? Paying attention to non-verbal cues will help you gain awareness of the emotions of those around you.

            If you are unsure, ask. When appropriate, if you are worried that you are misreading a situation, you can say, “You seem upset about something” or “Do you want to talk about something?” This way you can ensure that you have properly interpreted the situation.

 

Relationship Management

            Small acts of kindness. If you care about your relationship with someone else, show it in small ways. Those little ways will be noticed.

            Learn how to give and accept feedback. Giving and getting feedback is hard, but learning how to give and receive in a positive and constructive manner is a great way to develop your EQ.

 

Register now for an anger management workshop by Dr. Ross Greene on November 14, 2017. Please call Mrs. Schonfeld at 718-382-5437 for more information.

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An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@gmail.com.