What Is Emotional Intelligence?
The dictionary defines Emotional Intelligence, or EI is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people (2020).
According to Daniel Goleman (1995), an American psychologist who helped popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements from his book: Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social skills.
Emotional intelligence was something I heard after taking a workshop with a past employer. I have taken the assessment at least once a year. I have seen that my levels have changed over the years after I have changed jobs. When dealing with clients in human service often, many social service workers suffer from empathy burnout. When taking the emotional intelligence test, the test was accurate by having low empathy scores and a positive outlook.
I feel my past years in the field have caused me to lack empathy and a positive outlook in the human service field. Doing a self-assessment, I realized that I do lack empathy. I was able to reach an old supervisor to get another point of view on my emotional intelligence. The feedback from the past supervisor was constructive and differed in the category of empathy. The way someone else saw me differed in what I thought about myself in that particular area. My areas of improvement are in empathy and positive outlook.
What did I do to change!! It’s straightforward, change one thing at a time. As I have heard over the years, it takes approximately two months before a new behavior becomes automatic. The first thing I changed was my surroundings. To see things differently, you must change the things that you see with your eyes. We often become desensitized as we see images all over the news media, social media, and even those close to us. My empathy changed when I started volunteering and getting to know the people I volunteered with, and those in need. It was very uncomfortable to be in a new environment, but the mind can adapt to its surroundings like anything. I hope to take another assessment within the next few months to see if my improvement areas have changed.