Five key things to understand about workplace Emotional Intelligence (EI - defined by psychologist Dr Susan David of Yale and Melbourne universities as "the ability to solve problems with and about emotions effectively"):
1. Emotions are resources - so treat them as data; whether positive or negative the purpose of emotions is to tell you that action of some kind is required.
2. The 4 stage RUUM model (Recognise, Use, Understand, Manage) is an extremely useful model for applying EI at work. It is possible to have different EI scores for each stage of the model, so for example you can have a high score for recognising emotions and a low score for managing them. The model allows you to pinpoint which areas of your EI ability you can benefit from developing.
3. When it comes to managing emotions in the workplace, there are several short term and long term strategies you can use. Psychology research shows which are very effective strategies and which are not.
4. If you're considering implementing an EI measurement tool at work, choose carefully. David claims that some well-known EI measurement tools actually measure personality, not EI.
5. Emotions provide useful data for business decision-making, because they underpin cognitive processes. Therefore, accept that there will be an element of 'heart' in all business decisions. Improving your ability to interpret your and others' emotions at work can transform your decision-making ability.
I'll be returning to the subject of EI , measurement tools and strategies for improving your workplace EI in a later post. In the meantime, you can find lots of useful information here.