8 AHIMA ADVANTAGE
Emotional intelligence (EI) effects an individual’s behavior,
social interactions with others, and decision making. Intelligence
and technical skills aside, EI is recognized as a differentiator in
terms of high-performing leaders in the workplace. If you have
leadership aspirations in mind, there is merit in understanding
the components of and methods to increase EI, and in turn
improving leadership acumen.
Author Daniel Goleman, who has written several books on
the subject, defines EI as “the capacity for recognizing our own
feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for
managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”
The construct of Goleman’s EI model contain four domains:
self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and
relationship management. Under these domains are twelve
competencies that provide depth to each domain:
Self-awareness: emotional self-awareness
Self-management: emotional self-control, adaptability,
achievement orientation, positive outlook
Social awareness: empathy, organizational awareness
Relationship management: influence, conflict management,
inspirational leadership, coach and mentor, teamwork
The domain of self-awareness encompasses the ability to
understand one’s self as it pertains to emotions, awareness
of strengths and weaknesses, and acknowledgment of needs
and drive. It includes honesty with yourself and others, too.
Individuals with high EI recognize the impact of emotions on
themselves, on other people, and on workplace performance.
They are also aware of their own emotional triggers, as well
as methods they can employ to circumvent or navigate
appropriately through the emotions of others.
Self-management focuses on the propensity to manage stress,
meet commitments and expectations responsibly, overcome
barriers, and balance emotional response appropriately.
Individuals with high EI demonstrate self-management when
they put situations in perspective and habitually chose to pause
and think before responding; transparency is woven into their
practice of self-management.
Social awareness is a sensitivity toward others in terms of
their verbal and nonverbal cues together with their needs,
concerns, and feelings—it’s the ability to engage with others
with empathy. Individuals with high social-awareness skills
typically demonstrate a friendly, upbeat attitude. They often
deploy these skills to help others reach agreements or move
toward achievement of a mission or strategy. They recognize
that teamwork is essential, and are always cognizant of those
In the domain of relationship management, EI is expressed
through the ability to communicate in an effective manner, to
motivate and inspire others, to effectively practice intentional
listening, and to manage conflict well.
To further develop EI, it takes concerted effort and dedication.
The growth of these skills doesn’t happen overnight—it is a
continuous practice. There are some general tips for improving
your EI, though. For example, practice learning to manage your
emotions appropriately by taking note of emotional reactions
to events and the impact of those reactions, and reflecting on
ways to better manage those emotions going forward. Be aware
of your communication style, your clarity of speech, and how
it is received by others.
Interested in learning about your own personal EI? The
Harvard Extension School/Professional Development
recommends several free self-assessment tools that can
help establish a baseline score. v
Emotional Intelligence: A Critical Facet of Leadership
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