Jul. 29—LIMA — L. Lamar Nisly of Bluffton University spoke about emotional intelligence at the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce's Real American Sunrise breakfast on Friday at the Lima Memorial and Veteran's Civic Center. He told those in attendance, "If you're not self aware, you really can't work on the other things."
Self-awareness is the first step towards emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Studies have found that emotional intelligence accounts for about 58% of performance in most jobs, and people with high emotional intelligence earn more than people with low emotional intelligence. Yet, based on studies, only 36% of people can identify their own emotions.
In a nutshell, your emotional intelligence is your ability to identify and understand emotions in yourself and others, and to use this awareness to manage your responses and relationships. Emotional intelligence can be divided into four categories: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
Self-awareness is simply knowing yourself and how you operate. Self-awareness lays the foundation for all the other emotional intelligence skills.
Nisly told chamber members to "take a moment to pause and think, a time to pause and reflect back and think about how you're doing, and in that process then you have a chance to trace your emotions back to their origin."
Nisly then moved to the next step, self-management. "The goal here is to actively choose what you do instead of simply being carried along in the emotion of the moment."
Self-management is your ability to use your self-awareness to deliberately choose what you say and do. It enables you to plan and direct your responses to people and circumstances in a positive way. It allows you to rein your emotions in, decide whether to take action and the type of action to take. It also involves the ability to set aside your immediate needs to focus on longer-term goals. People who are strong in self-management handle stressful situations and confrontations more effectively, communicate better, and are proactive yet patient.
Nisly says, "exercise, taking breaks, walks or getting away from your workplace for a little bit, unpacking what happened with a friend or spouse, improved sleep patterns, all these basic kinds of things can help us with our self-management."
Social awareness is thinking about how we are interacting with other people and how other people are responding to us. This requires the willingness and ability to understand others' perspectives even if they are different. Nisly says, "Listen attentively. Test what you've heard with other people. Work to clarify and understand." To build social awareness, we must be fully present, listen and observe. This means we must silence our self-talk, give the other person our full attention and be willing to consider his or her point of view.
The final step is relationship management, which is your ability to apply the emotional awareness of yourself and others to manage your relations. "It's all about relationships. They become a way that we interact with other people, but they are not always easy. It takes work to understand people." This includes effective communication, conflict management and forging bonds.
Nisly summarized emotional intelligence, "Be open and curious. Look for possibilities to learn from and connect with other people. Help them help you understand. Learn also what sets the other person off and then don't do it. Understand how to convert emotions and then connect."
Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409