What's Your "E.Q."?
Research shows that "emotional intelligence" or "E.Q." is an
BY IRMA O'DELL Ph.D. AND REGINA B. GLOVER Ph.D.
Emotional intelligence refers to self- control, zeal and persistence, ability to motivate oneself, relating to others, and knowing and controlling one's emotions.
Besides being the tide of one of the longest running best-sellers, "emotional intelligence" or "E.Q." it is a key concept for managers to understand. Excellence in the workplace can be achieved through the principles of emotional intelligence. According to Mayer and Salovey (1995) emotional intelligence marks the intersection between two fundamental components of personality: the cognitive and the emotional systems. Standards of intelligence are most commonly applied to cognitive performance, and standards of adaptation to emotional reactions. This ariticle's focus is the emotional component.
According to Harrison (1997) and King (1998), the essential ingredients of an excellent organization can include creativity, problem solving, decision making, learning as a conscious process, diversity and technology. These essential components start with management and are filtered throughout the organization.
To maintain an edge as a supervisor of an organization, we need essential components, we need tools. Tools such as problem-solving and decision-making abilities, continuing education programs, diverse work force, communication (verbal and nonverbal) and technical knowledge. These are critical to achieve and sustain excellence in management.
Two tools that appear to loom larger than others in this age of information overload are communication and organizational ability. A new organizational climate is emerging amid the accelerating pace of technological and social change. Excellence in communication and organizational ability will steer organizations through the upheavals ahead. Goleman (1995) concurs that communicating with co-workers and supervisors is essential to the success of an organization. Every business course appears to be about developing people skills that allow far more effective communication (Dilenschneider, 1996).
Generally speaking, communication consist of two factors: 1) the ability to read or decode signals others give out; and 2) the ability to project signals to get our message across (Dilenschneider, 1997). Whether we are sharing information that leads to understanding or empathetically listening, communication can lay the framework to accomplish great things. In addition, how we perceive ourselves and how we interact with other people in times of rapid and unpredictable change is important to success.
For example, an employee and her staff perform extremely well in delivering a quality triathlon over the weekend. The supervisor calls her into his office first thing Monday morning to ask how the event went and if the weather had any effect on participation. The supervisor shares that he heard there were some accidents due to slippery conditions. The employee said any and all problems were handled and handled well. Supervisor says, "good, glad to hear it."
The employee departs the office feeling confused and frustrated. The employee decoded the supervisor's message as the triathlon did not go well and participants were injured. The employee gathers her thoughts and returns to the office to share with the supervisor that the injuries were minor and there was more participation than ever before and her staff did an outstanding job of keeping the event running smoothly with very few incidents.
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EQ versus IQ
Goleman (1996) says that an individual's success at work is 80 percent dependent on emotional quotient and only 20 percent dependent on intelligence quotient,
We should keep in mind the meaning is not in the message, it is in the minds of those individuals involved in the communication relationship (Jordan, 1997). Missed signals during the communication process can create a sense of frustration and confusion.
Information not only requires processing, it is essential to keep the information organized. As managers we have to determine what information is necessary to keep and what we can discard and the best medium to convey the message. Goleman (1995) states that organizational ability is prioritizing information. To prioritize is to sort and discard the unimportant information and keep the important information.
For example, an employee is informed that he will be responsible for the auction fund-raiser next year. The employer has a meeting with his supervisor one year prior to the event to discuss goals and expectations. As the meeting comes to a close, the employee is given reassurance by the supervisor that additional staff will be assigned as the event gets closer.
After meeting with the supervisor, the employee is overwhelmed by the awesome task he was given and proceeds to develop a list of things to do. He not only makes a list but a flowchart that organizes tasks into categories: 1) things to be completed right now, 2) things to be completed in one month, 3) things to be completed in three months, 4) things to be completed in six months and so forth.
This approach proves to be an excellent mechanism to not only organize and prioritize tasks but to provide areas in which others can assist. This method of calming one's self in stressful times is not easy to achieve. Emotional intelligence components could help comfort employees during difficult times and assist with communication.
Emotional Intelligence Defined
Salovey and Mayer (1990) define emotional intelligence as the capacity to process emotional information accurately and efficiently including information relevant to the recognition, construction and regulation of emotion in oneself and others. Goleman (1995) suggests that brainy people do not necessarily have the right stuff in today's age when organizational adaptability and communication are the keys to survival. According to Goleman, intelligence quotient and emotional quittance are not opposing competencies but rather separate ones and both are necessary for success in the workplace.
Emotional intelligence refers to self-control, zeal and persistence, ability to motivate oneself, relating to others, and knowing and controlling one's emotions. Emotional information generally conveys knowledge about self and the world and the relationship between the two. If brains are not the right stuff, what is? How about emotional intelligence as a mechanism to organize, prioritize and communicate within your agency and with other agencies.
The five components of emotional intelligence are simple yet powerful enough to effect change. The components of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995) include knowing one's emotions, managing emotions, motivating oneself, recognize emotions of others, and handling relationships.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize a feeling as it occurs which gives us greater control over our lives. Self- awareness is the keystone of emotional intelligence. When we are able to recognize our emotions it allows us to control or manage them and make better decisions. When you are upset at work is it because you are "frustrated," "disappointed," or "mad?" They are three very different emotions.
It is important to be positive and optimistic even in the face of difficult situations. For example, the employee in the triathlon scenario used self-awareness while managing her emotions and did not vent her frustrations onto the supervisor. The employee left the office, thought through what she thought she heard and returned to make additional statements of clarification. She reiterated that the event went well and there were no serious injuries. This is critical because it demonstrates emotional intelligence because the employee did not complain, whine to others, or bottle the frustration inside.
Motivating oneself is described as the ability to take responsibility. The ability to delay gratification is a triumph of the reasoning brain over the impulsive one. For example, the employee did not blame anyone for what did or did not occur during the triathlon. She took full responsibility for her staff and the day's events. She understands that being motivated to do a good job may also mean delayed gratification until the employer tells her that she has done an excellent job. She may also realize that those words of appreciation may not ever come.
Words or actions of appreciation for good work performance is not always rewarded as quickly as it should. Some-
40 / Illinois Parks and Recreation
WHAT'S YOUR E.Q.?
times employees are confused, upset or wondering if they did a good job. When in actuality, they did an outstanding job!
Recognizing emotions of others is empathy, which is the ability to respond to changes in the emotional climate in others. The supervisor may have noticed that the employee was unsettled as a result of their discussion and could call her back into the office or go to her office to discuss the event further. This is important when managing and moving staff toward completion of tasks. To acknowledge gender, interest area, value differences, etc. when communicating with others is quite a challenge. However, employees that feel valued and appreciated will be committed to doing excellent work.
Handling relationships is understood as the ability to resolve conflict, offer solutions and not manipulate (Goleman, 1995). The workplace is often a stressful environment in which tensions run high. Effective communication is essential for excellent job performance. Talking about feelings and concerns and taking the other perspective provides an opportunity to distinguish between what someone does and what someone says.
In addition, mixed or misleading signals can create severe consequences (Dilenschneider, 1996). For example, your otherwise efficient employee does not pick up on the fact that the agency's top donor wants sympathy about his health. The donor spreads it around town that your employee does not care about people. No agency needs this type of publicity. It is equally important to understand the feelings of others and appreciate the differences in people's opinions (Goleman, 1996).
The most visible emotional skill is people skills, empathy, graciousness, and the ability to read a situation because according to Goleman (1996), 90 percent of emotional communication is nonverbal. These components are not only predictors of success in the workplace but to participate effectively as citizens of a democracy.
The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned. Goleman proclaims that emotional intelligence increases with age.
"People tend to have better emotional intelligence skills in there 40's and 50's, so that means these skills are learnable," says Goleman.
"And while intelligence quotient peaks at about age 21, Stuller, (1998) affirms that emotional intelligence can grow from childhood into the late 50's (p. 23)."
Goleman (1996) says that an individual's success at work is 80 percent dependent on emotional quotient and only 20 percent dependent on intelligence quotient. Emotional intelligence components can assist supervisors and employers with the day-to-day decisions we make (Grensing- Pophal, 1998).
In his 1995 book, Goleman proposes that future success in organizations can be predicted by looking at emotional quotient and not intelligence quotient. The ability to delay gratification is a skill, a triumph of the reasoning brain over the impulsive one. It is a sign of emotional intelligence. This type of intelligence can not be measured on an intelligence quotient test.
Whether you call it emotional intelligence, emotional maturity or simply knowing how to "get along," you want employees to have the communication and organizational skills necessary to assure that they make sound decisions as they interact with fellow employers inside the agency or employers from other agencies (Grensing, 1998).
IRMA O'DELL PH.D.>
REGINA B. GLOVER, PH.D.
"People tend to have better emotional intelligence skills in there 40's and 50's, so that means these skills are learnable, says Goleman.
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Sam S. Manivong, Illinois Periodicals Online Coordinator