Emotional intelligence (EI) sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t
it? How can a person be both intelligent and emotional? EI is
about using emotions to help thinking, to make decisions, to
plan. It’s also about recognising, decoding, your own emotions
and those of others, accurately.
We have all heard the expression, “I can’t think when I am
angry”. An emotionally intelligent decision would be to change
the angry feeling, to switch emotional gears, put the anger to
one side, so reasoned thinking can occur. EI has a number of
tools to help this shift. It does not mean don’t be angry, it
means think about the impact anger has on your decision making!
Think about the outcomes of your anger on your physical self,
your colleagues, your relationships with customers, clients and
important people in your life. This aspect of EI is managing
emotions. We all have some of the tools, it is just they are
not practiced or well developed.
My work with EI is across a breadth of people from CEOs,
managers, all kinds of workplace situations, to homeless men.
Garry’s story is an example of how EI can change your thinking,
ability to handle emotions and assist your
Garry was a homeless man in
his mid 20s. He was in my EI class with a number of other
homeless men. There is a uniformity to homeless men. They
look very shabby, worn out, with a grey, lifeless pallor.
Garry was quite articulate though and liked the EI
As I worked with the men, I
thought it was probably the only time in their lives they
had sat talking about emotions, how to recognise them and
decode them in themselves and others, and how emotions
can impede or assist us in our daily living. It was an
enlightening time of discussion, humour and
I didn’t see Garry for several months after the class sessions
had completed, and one day ran into him. The change in him was
astonishing! Gone was the grey face, the tiredness, the lack of
hope. He was shining, bright with life, clean and glowing. He
looked a different person. He said he had found a job in a top
apprentice situation and was thriving. I asked him how he got
the job? He said he went and asked for it using the principles
of EI. He said how much the classes had helped him, how
relevant they were for him and his level of confidence. He
could ‘read’ his clients emotions and knew when to be silent
and when to interact.
Imagine the possibility of becoming even more emotionally
intelligent and what this can mean for your life, for your
career, your ongoing relationships!
Libby Binsted 2006