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038 - Emotional Intelligence

posted Dec 1, 2015, 1:16 PM by Doug Muha

Counselor Notes 38

March 23, 2015

Emotional Intelligence

A study once done at Bell Labs in northern N.J. sought to see why some extremely intelligent people were not rising as high in the corporate hierarchy as might be expected by their superior I.Q.’s.  The researchers found that those geniuses that “flamed out” did so because of interpersonal flaws.  The study saw those that those who were building good relationships with others before they needed cooperation from them were the ones getting ahead.  These people had “emotional intelligence.” 

On the back of jacket of the best seller Emotional Intelligence, author Daniel Goleman (ISBN # 0-553-37506-7) “argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, ignoring a crucial range of abilities that matter immensely in terms of how we do in life.”

Now if that is all true, emotional intelligence would be pretty important stuff! 

I have an article that claims IQ counts for about 20% of the factors that determine a person's success in life.  The other 80% come from their EI (Emotional Intelligence).  The article goes on to label the biggest components of E.I. as:

1.   Self-Awareness - the ability to recognize your own feelings as they are occurring (not just the surface ones, but the deeper feelings as well). 

2.   Mood Management - You may not be able to control what emotions hit, but you should have a lot of control over how long those moods last.  (Rage is generally the toughest to manage)

3.   Self Motivation - the ability to muster up feelings of enthusiasm, zeal and confidence.  An optimistic outlook helps immensely (and this type of optimism can be learned).

4.   Impulse Control - the ability to sacrifice short term interests to achieve long term goal (ability to delay gratification).

5.   People Skills - The ability to understand how another person feels (empathy).


University of Washington psychologist John Gottman Ph.D. wrote a book called “Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child”  (ISBN 978-0-684-83865-6).  In the book Gottman talks of helping children become emotionally intelligent by parents being emotional coaches to their children.  He says the process typically happens in five steps (p. 24):

1.   The parents become aware of the children’s emotion (i.e. what the child is feeling);

2.   Recognize the emotion as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching;

3.   Listen empathically, validating the child’s feelings (i.e. support the child feeling as they do without condoning any negative behavior);

4.   Help the child find words to label the emotion he/she is having; and

5.   Set limits while exploring strategies to solve the problem at hand.  (i.e. Help the child find appropriate ways to deal with the emotion.  Do not allow negative behavior in doing so.  Children still need to respect other’s rights.)

(For more details, please see the book.  It is safe to assume that Daniel Goleman liked the book as he wrote the introduction.) 

As so much of our own behavior is copied by our children, it stands to reason that parents would do well to become as emotionally intelligent as possible.  The site http://core.eqi.org/summary.htm offers these ten tips on developing your emotional intelligence: 

1. Become emotionally literate. Label your feelings, rather than labeling people or situations.

Use three word sentences beginning with "I feel".

Start labeling feelings; stop labeling people & situations

"I feel impatient." vs "This is ridiculous." I feel hurt and bitter". vs. "You are an insensitive jerk."

"I feel afraid." vs. "You are driving like an idiot."

2. Distinguish between thoughts and feelings.

Thoughts: I feel like...& I feel as if.... & I feel that

Feelings: I feel: (feeling word)

3. Take more responsibility for your feelings.

"I feel jealous." vs. "You are making me jealous."

Analyze your own feelings rather than the action or motives of other people. Let your feelings help you identify your unmet emotional needs.

4. Use your feelings to help make decisions

"How will I feel if I do this?" "How will I feel if I don't?"

"How do I feel?" "What would help me feel better?"

Ask others "How do you feel?" and "What would help you feel better?"

5. Use feelings to set and achieve goals

- Set feeling goals. Think about how you want to feel or how you want others to feel. (your employees, your clients, your students, your children, your partner)

- Get feedback and track progress towards the feeling goals by periodically measuring feelings from 0-10. For example, ask clients, students, teenagers how much they feel respected from 0 to 10.

6. Feel energized, not angry.

Use what others call "anger" to help feel energized to take productive action.

7. Validate other people's feelings.

Show empathy, understanding, and acceptance of other people's feelings.

8. Use feelings to help show respect for others.

How will you feel if I do this? How will you feel if I don't? Then listen and take their feelings into consideration.

9. Don't advise, command, control, criticize, judge or lecture to others.

Instead, try to just listen with empathy and non-judgment.

10. Avoid people who invalidate you.

While this is not always possible, at least try to spend less time with them, or try not to let them have psychological power over you.

(Please visit the site for a few other quick tips and/or to take advantage of the links offered there.)

For those that want to try a quick test of their own emotional intelligence, there is one at Discovery Health  http://cl1.psychtests.com/bin/transfer?req=NDF8Mjk5OHwxMTQzMDM1fDB8MQ==&refempt .  It is free and relatively quick (10 question) E.I. test, but do know that it has not been checked for accuracy.  (i.e. don’t put too much stock in the results.) 

Those with questions can email me. I will also be available during parent teacher conferences next Monday night (3/30/15) from 3:15 to 7:15 p.m.

Doug Muha Ed.S.
School Counselor
Waverly Elementary School

P.S.  Last week another study was published showing omega 3 fatty acids helpful for attention problems.   http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/03/20/omega-3-supplements-may-help-boys-with-adhd/    (Counselor Notes #16 dealt with omega 3 fatty acids and attention in more depth.)  The effectiveness of omega 3 fatty acids MAY be in part due to their ability to reduce inflammation.  (Counselor Notes #18 explored inflammation and attention.)