Emotional Intelligence (EI) is your capacity for recognizing your own feelings and those of others. According to Daniel Goleman’s Working with Emotional Intelligence, you need to develop five skills to be successful and raise your own EI: self-awareness, social skills, self-regulation, empathy, and motivation. Someone with these five skills can develop high Emotional Intelligence and is therefore more successful at motivating others and managing emotions in personal and professional relationships.
In a study conducted by Travis Bradbury and Jean Greaves, 500,000 people were surveyed and only 36% of those people were able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen. The fact that so many people are unable to accurately identify their emotions as they happen makes the following methods for improving Emotional Intelligence all the more important.
VISTA members and VISTA Leaders can improve their EI through five methods:
- Observation-- body language, environment, facial expressions, etc.
- Listening-- voice tone, what is not being said, etc.
- Sensing-- your inner voice telling you something is going on that isn’t being said or seen
- Asking pertinent questions-- to confirm what you are seeing, hearing, sensing; by asking questions you reduce the likelihood of making assumptions and judgments that may not be accurate
- Self-Awareness-- analyze clues based on your experiences, biases, assumptions, knowledge, etc.
VISTA members and VISTA Leaders should utilize the five methods to improve one’s EI in their everyday work, but especially when managing conflict. By combining the five methods of improving EI with the strategies and communication tools provided below, VISTA members and VISTA Leaders will be more effective in handling conflict at all stages.