According to Caruso and Salovey (2004), emotional intelligence begins with:
1. Emotion is information.
2. We can try to ignore emotion, but it doesn’t work.
3. We can try to hide emotions, but we are not as good at it as we think.
4. Decisions must incorporate emotion to be effective.
5. Emotions follow logical patterns.
6. Emotional universals exist, but so do specifics.
1. Emotion is Information
Emotions are reactions we have to personally significant interactions and situations around us each day. Our emotional responses help us to respond, adapt and thrive in the busy environment in which we live. Our emotions or internal responses, which may be positive and negative, can be thought of as “data” or signals about how we perceive various situations, and if we are mindful to what an emotion is signalling, we can consciously help bring about a positive outcome.
For example, when we feel anger, we signal to others not to approach us. Conversely, a smile conveys happiness and approachability. The social nature of emotion is a key source of motivating information for managers and leaders.
2. Try to ignore emotion, but it doesn’t work
Emotions, thinking and judgements are exceedingly interconnected. Our emotional responses to situations, family and co-workers can influence our relationships and job performance in both positive and negative ways.
Research by a social-psychologist Roy Baumeister (cited in Caruso and Salovey) found individuals remembered less information when they tried to suppress the expression of emotions. He asserts attentive listening skills and information processing abilities were lessened in attempts to suppress emotion. Humans need to comprehend and reframe the meaning of the information as well as the emotional component in a constructive and adaptive manner without suppressing our personal feelings..
3. Try to hide emotions, not as good as we think
3. We can try to hide emotions, but we are not as good at it as we think. Conscious and unconscious attempts to mask our emotions ultimately fail. Ekman’s research on facial expressions and lying indicates that it is possible to identify someone who is not telling the truth by observing pauses in their speech, speech errors, and momentary emotional display. Covering emotions and “surface acting” is associated with job burnout and turnover among other issues. The desire to ignore emotions or to engage in purely rational pursuits can lead to mistrust and poor decision-making.
4. Decisions must incorporate emotion
4. Decisions must incorporate emotion to be effective
Effective interpersonal and management skills require integration of pertinent information and associated emotions. Successful decision making is not comprised of avoiding conflict and making everyone happy all the time. The western culture tends to distrust emotion as illogical, however the emotional intelligence theory recognizes that emotions make us truly human and these feelings must be embraced and incorporated into our lives.
Although we prefer to experience positive emotions, there is also just situations for negative emotions as fear, anger and hurt which create a stimulus to fight for equity. Caruso and Salovey (2004) stress “it means that there are times as a manager, a team member, an individual contributor, when one might feel hurt, badly hurt. But if it doesn’t hurt badly at times, you’re probably not making emotionally intelligent and effective decisions” (pg. 12).
5. Emotions follow logical patterns
Emotions are not random, but reactionary for various reasons, and follow a sequence from low to high intensity as the event or thought which generated the emotion continues or increases.
A renowned emotions researcher Robert Plutchik (cited in Caruso and Salovey) created a model of emotions that clearly presents emotions along an intensity continuum, depicting how emotions can intensify. Eight primary emotions are arranged within an inner circle, with opposing emotions on opposite sides of the circle. This model also depicts how various emotions can combine to create more complex emotions. Understanding this complexity allows individuals to manage their emotional reactions in healthier ways.
6. Emotional Universals exist, but so do specifics
Emotional intelligence can be applied to the global society at large as the rules of emotion and their associated expressions are universal. Although there are cultural differences in social behaviour, and customs may differ from country to country, emotional expressions are similar worldwide. A smile, laughter, or tears will be interpreted with the same meaning throughout the world. Caruso and Salovey exert that life can be more complex, and specific variations in emotional interpretations can be related to display rules, secondary emotions, and gender.