The Emotional Intelligence model consists of five dimensions:
- Awareness of the Self
- Actions of the Self
- Awareness of Others
- Interactions with Others
Definitions of the Five Dimensions
- Awareness of the Self: The ability to identify emotions in yourself and to perceive the impact you have on others.
Self-awareness is the unconditional building block of Emotional Intelligence.
The first step in enhancing Emotional Intelligence is achieving a healthy level of self-awareness—the ability to identify emotions in the self and to perceive the impact you have on others at home, in the workplace and beyond.
Being self-aware means that you are realistic in appraising your own behavior, that you are able to recognize how people perceive you, that you are aware of how you respond to people in a variety of situations, and that you can identify your intent and attitude as you communicate with others.
Sample scenarios demonstrating Awareness of the Self in the workplace:
Strength: During a company budget meeting, John speaks with enthusiasm about the current needs of his department, but after five minutes, he notices that at least half of those at the meeting have lost interest and are no longer listening to him.
Needs Development: After putting in twelve to fourteen-hour work days for weeks on end, Michelle is surprised one morning to find herself flat on her back with muscle spasms as she tries to get out of bed.
- Actions of the Self: The ability to manage your own emotions, especially in the midst of strong “negative” emotions in yourself or in your environment.
Individuals who are strong in this dimension are able to manage their own emotions.
They can express a range of feelings appropriately and plan how to manage strong emotions in a given situation.
They have developed ways to cope with those emotions that are perceived to be “negative” and thus maintain their equilibrium.
People are sometimes surprised to learn that they can successfully manage (not “control”) even quite dramatic emotions such as anger, jealousy, and sadness.
Being aware of your emotions is a good first step in learning to manage them. If you can identify what it is you are feeling, you can learn to acknowledge the emotion, understand how it may be expressed in your physiological state, and plan a way to manage it if it involves negative consequences.
Sample scenarios demonstrating Actions of the Self in the workplace:
Strength: After an upsetting argument with her teenage daughter, Margaret drives to work thinking about how to shift her focus from the emotional argument at home to a decision that she and her team will be considering today.
Needs Development: Michael has put forward what he considers to be a good solution. When another employee speaks up in disagreement Michael feels the blood rushing to his face, gets annoyed and has difficulty controlling the sarcastic tone and volume of his own voice.
- Awareness of Others: The ability to accurately perceive and understand the emotional states of others.
At the lower end of the range for this ability, individuals have a difficult time identifying and understanding what others are feeling whether through their words, actions, facial expressions, or body language.
At the upper range are those individuals who are alert to what others are experiencing emotionally and are able to empathize with them.
The skill of listening to others—to the meaning of their words and to their intonation and tone—is a necessary aspect of awareness of others, but the ability to read how people are feeling by observing their facial expressions, their actions, and their body language is also part of such awareness.
If you are unable to “read” how others are reacting or feeling, you will find it more difficult to communicate and to influence others.
Sample scenarios demonstrating Awareness of Others in the workplace:
Strength: Although Sophie has only recently joined the college’s executive team, she quickly becomes aware that the Executive Dean rolls his eyes every time the Chief Financial Officer speaks up during a meeting.
Needs Development: David, determined to get through all eleven of his talking points, never notices the annoyance on several faces as the meeting goes twenty-five minutes overtime.
- Interaction with Others: The ability to utilize awareness of others’ emotions to build relationships, teams, and support networks.
The ability to successfully interact with other people builds on an individual’s awareness of others’ emotions.
An individual who is strong in this dimension utilizes that awareness to build strong relationships, teams, and support networks. Such an individual is capable of empathy and compassion in interactions with other people.
If you develop techniques for accurately evaluating the emotions of those you interact with, you will be less likely to make negative judgments and more likely to empathize—to put yourself in the shoes of those individuals – and to be able to develop relationships that are productive and satisfying. This ability is also important for building successful teams and organizations.
Sample scenarios demonstrating Interaction with Others in the workplace:
Strength: John calls his staff together after a merger is announced to allow them to ask questions and discuss how the change in management might affect their jobs.
Needs Development: When an employee fails to bring important information to the meeting, Sharon reminds him in front of his peers that the success of the team depends on each person doing his or her part on time.
- Resilience: The ability to maintain equilibrium despite the inevitable changes that occur both internally and externally in an individual’s life.
Several other factors such as optimism, flexibility, the ability to learn from mistakes and to recover from setbacks are also significant aspects of Emotional Intelligence. In this model, they are combined in a dimension called resilience.
It is resilience as much as any other aspect of Emotional Intelligence that is the foundation for an individual’s ability to maintain equilibrium and balance amidst inevitable changes and even crises that one encounters over a lifetime.
Resilience is important in the make-up of the emotionally intelligent individual.
This dimension is what fuels an individual’s day-to-day motivation as he or she encounters internal changes—joy, sadness, boredom, love, intellectual curiosity, and anger to name just a few – as well as external changes that run the gamut from
seasonal and weather changes to geographic re-locations to emotionally charged environments in one’s personal life, relationships or the workplace.
These inevitable changes are more successfully handled if an individual is flexible, optimistic, and prepared to cope with and learn from disappointments and setbacks. All of these abilities are aspects of resilience.
Sample scenarios demonstrating Resilience in the workplace:
Strength: A production flaw that could mean a costly setback is discovered late on a Friday afternoon. On Monday, Sarah is at her desk early ready to inspire her team to respond to the challenge and meet the production deadline.
Needs Development: With international sector sales dropping for the third straight quarter, Paul loses confidence in his ability as a manager, blames himself for the loss of company revenue, and begins to have difficulty focusing and sleeping.
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