There’s no denying that cognitive ability will continue to be relied on when making business decisions, but since emotional intelligence seems to be gaining steam, how can it be applied it at work to help people get ahead?
Pennington, NJ (PRWEB) February 09, 2013
Researchers recently completed the first detailed map of the brain regions involved in emotional intelligence, publishing the results of their study in the journal, Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, as reported in U.S. News and World Report. The team at Strategic Leadership Resources, which provides high potential leadership development, was quite interested in reviewing this map, since it’s taken things a step further by announcing how to apply emotional intelligence in the workplace.
“Those who ‘play’ at all in the areas of leadership development or psychology have probably done some research about emotional intelligence,” said Andrea Zintz, Ph.D., president of Strategic Leadership Resources. “There’s no denying that cognitive ability will continue to be heavily relied on when making hiring or promotion decisions, but since emotional intelligence seems to be gaining steam as something that influences business success, how can it be applied it at work to help people get ahead?”
Zintz notes that before addressing emotional intelligence’s application, people need to understand what it is: “the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions.” Emotional intelligence can affect everything from self-awareness, confidence, and empathy to insight, control, and the way people manage their own emotional states…and it has a lot to do with three traits that are quite important to business success:
- Personal mastery
- Social acumen
- Leadership effectiveness
Zintz points out that most people who “score high” in those three areas have a great deal of emotional intelligence, but she wonders whether they’re born with it or it’s something that can be developed.
“Research from years ago concluded that emotions are involuntary, and often the result of pent-up energy,” she said. “The proof was provided by automatic responses like these: when someone insults us, we’re hurt; when we’re sad, we cry; when we’re angry, we go on the attack.”
Today, Zintz says, much of that research is seen as flawed. While it’s agreed that emotions begin in the subconscious mind, and are important symbols reflecting basic human needs, people don’t have to let them be in control; everyone has the power to understand the important messages they’re sending, and use that information to adapt strategically to specific situations—including applying emotional intelligence in the workplace.
“Let’s say someone takes credit for something you’ve done on the job,” Zintz said. “Your immediate (subconscious) reaction might be anger. If you ‘turn on’ your emotional intelligence, however, you can journey into your conscious mind to realize that the best strategy to deal with the situation isn’t anger, but asserting your right to get the credit due to you.”
Zintz believes that using emotional intelligence in the workplace means people must be introspective, thinking about what they have a right to before they blindly lash out. It also calls for self-compassion—something considered key to enhancing performance—pressing pause before beating themselves up when something unfortunate happens to think about what they’d say to their best friend in that same situation.
“When you develop a greater understanding of emotional intelligence, one of the many benefits you’ll attain is gaining clarity about what your subconscious mind is trying to tell you. You may need to employ a new strategy, or make a change in your behavior, belief or environment,” Zintz said. “The marriage of the conscious and subconscious minds is truly powerful. Your subconscious will have automatic habits and patterns (i.e., immediate responses), but your conscious mind can ‘reroute’ them, honoring your feelings while adapting them in a positive way.”
Strategic Leadership Resources is a leadership development firm made up of professionals who know what it’s like to lead organizations. Our counsel comes from years of field experience and best practices. We offer executive coaching, leadership alignment facilitation, and mentoring programs. Although we have developed a number of unique and proprietary approaches and tools, we are not bound by any single methodology or way of working. To learn about more about SLR, visit http://www.strategicleadershipresources.com/