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Emotional Intelligence in Our Lives

“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

In October we began an in depth look at Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence has demonstrated its value in predicting success for individuals because it focuses on the social and emotional ability of a person.  Last month we explored the realms of Self- Perception and Self-Expression, the foundational pieces of how you see yourself and how you express yourself.  This month we’ll look at the Interpersonal Realm, saving the Decision-Making and Stress Management realms for next month.

A couple of you expressed your thanks for this deeper dive as a reminder of the areas covered by EI, and for a look at various strategies that could be used to strengthen your  development in a given area.  I’m pleased that the information was helpful.

As I write this month’s column, the tragic shooting at The Living Tree Synagogue in Pittsburgh has just taken place.  I continue to be saddened by the evidence of hate in our world.  These acts of hatred and evil reaffirm my prayer and my desire to carry more love to others.  I know that love is greater than hate, and that it is the desired state for us to live in.  We cannot allow the acts of a few undermine our resolve to demonstrate love at every opportunity.

Be well and do your best work,


Interpersonal Realm

The third area of Emotional Intelligence is the Interpersonal Realm.  We often refer to this as “people skills.”  This realm is made up of Interpersonal Relationships – the ability to establish and maintain mutually satisfying relationships (characterized by both “give” and “take” and where trust and compassion are openly expressed in words and behavior); Empathy – the ability to be aware of, understand and appreciate the feelings and thoughts of others.  Empathy is the ability to be sensitive to what, how and why people feel and think the way they do; Social Responsibility – the desire and ability to willingly contribute to society, or social group, and generally to the welfare of others.  What we see with people who operate out of a well-developed SR is:

  • Acting in a responsible manner, even though they may not benefit personally
  • Doing thing for and with others
  • Accepting others
  • Acting in accordance with your conscience
  • Upholding social rules

The founder of my Coaching certification, Dr. William Glasser, believed that almost all of our mental health problems were connected to people’s ability to create and sustain meaningful relationship.  In many ways, how we perceive ourselves (Self Perception Realm) and how we express ourselves (Self Expression Realm) are integral to our ability to create and sustain relationships.  “The more emotional and social sense you have the easier it is to go efficiently and productively about your life.” (The EQ Edge by Stein and Book).

There is more than a casual connection with our ability to read a situation/person and appropriately react/interact with them.  The greater our social awareness, and our emotional intelligence is, the greater the chance is that we will properly read and respond to given situations.  The purpose of assessing our emotional intelligence is to allow us to develop (strengthen) our ability in those areas.  My experience is that the better we are at responding across a broad spectrum of situations and people, the higher the level of trust we can create.  Trust is the corner stone to building relationships and to growing our influence.

As we look closer at the three subscales of the Interpersonal realm, reflect for yourself which of these are strengths for you, and where there is an opportunity for you to grow.

Strategies for Interpersonal Realm (used in part from the Emotional Intelligence Development Guide, and with permission from ADVISA.)

  • Interpersonal Relationships
    • Be sure to strike balance between recognition and constructive feedback. This balance is important in building strong relationships.
    • Work to build trusting relationships with all types of people.
    • Remember: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
    • Share some aspects of your life in order to establish rapport. It will help you to establish common ground.
    • Be clear about the expectations you have of others. Invite them to share the expectations they have for you.
  • Empathy
    • Learn to validate and empathize without getting infected; i.e., feeling responsible for the cause of a problem or solution.
    • One of the keys to empathy is active listening. Ask for clarification when necessary.  Reflect back to them what you heard, “Based on what you are telling me about ____, it sounds like you are _____.”
    • Generate a list of questions that you can use to further understand your team’s needs.
    • Take time for informal interactions with people to understand more fully how they are feeling.
    • Seek feedback from trusted friends about how you are doing in showing more empathy.
  • Social Responsibility
    • It is important to be intentional about how you spend your time to ensure a healthy balance between focus on self, others, and larger social issues. Take inventory every so often to understand your balance and changes you may need to make.
    • Providing opportunities for others to be involved in socially responsible activities can create an overall feeling of meaning and greater connection.
    • Identify issues that you care about. Find related volunteer opportunities.
    • Further leverage your passion by connecting your team to these opportunities, or encouraging their participation in other opportunities.
    • Do something beyond the normal limits of your job at work. Take on a project that will benefit others.

Self-Perception, Self-Expression, and Interpersonal realms are all related to the human side of our development and ability.  The final two realms of Decision-Making and Stress Management are more about how we deal with the emotions of making decisions, and how we deal with stress when emotions are involved.  We will talk about the final two realms of emotional intelligence next month.  These final two pieces will help us to not only understand more about the five realms and fifteen subscales, but we’ll explore how they interrelate to one another and how we can impact their development.

Until then, I hope you will have a blessed Thanksgiving, taking an inventory of all the things in your life that you are thankful for.  May this holiday season connect you with yourself and others in a truly remarkable way.

To your journey and living out the best version of you…




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