“There’s no crying in baseball!” – Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) in “A League of Their Own”
Tom Hanks’ character famously exclaimed this statement when one of the players on his female professional baseball team started crying during a game. While working for the military may not be the same as playing in a baseball league, the sentiment is very much the same: “There’s no crying in the military!”
Typically, emotions don’t play a major role in your active duty universe, and one marked difference you may notice in the civilian workplace is a more expressive working climate than you may be used to.
Whether you’re an employee or budding entrepreneur in the civilian world, you’ll be tasked with working through some of the challenges that may arise with the unfamiliarity of an emotionally charged workplace. Just know, however, that you do have a powerful tool at your disposal to help you get through the sometimes uncomfortable muck and mire of emotions, and that tool is called emotional intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Coined in 1990 by two Yale psychologists, Drs. John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, emotional intelligence (EI) is “… a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.”
Simply put, EI is a consciousness of emotions and feelings, and it calls for you to make sense of them within yourself and in others to facilitate a more positive decision-making experience.
In their book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry and Greaves (2009) discuss the four main components of EI:
- Self-Awareness → An awareness of your own emotions and your ability to understand how those emotions positively and negatively affect you and your behaviors, thoughts and decision-making ability. Simply put, self-awareness helps you answer: what am I feeling, why am I feeling this way and how do I best react?
- Self-Management → Depends on your self-awareness and constitutes your ability to positively manage your emotions and behavior.
- Social Awareness → Recognition of emotions in others and your unbiased ability to understand and perceive what’s driving their behaviors, decisions and thoughts (even if you don’t feel the same way). Just as with self-awareness, social awareness asks: what is this person feeling and why, and how do I best respond?
- Relationship Management → Contingent upon both self- and social awareness and how you use this information to successfully navigate your interactions with others.
Why Does EI Matter?
Emotional intelligence has been identified as a vital indicator of success in business and in the workplace, and business owners and hiring officials look to capitalize on the power of EI in their organizations.
Increased EI can lead to improvements in your:
- Thought process and self-regulation capacity
- Personal, professional and leadership effectiveness
- Job satisfaction
- Empathy skills
- Communication skills
- Conflict resolution capabilities
- Professional relationships
In dealing with people, you’ll inevitably deal with emotions, and your awareness and management abilities when it comes to self and others will ultimately dictate your capacity to thrive. As you segue into the civilian workforce, remember this pertinent tool (EI) in your arsenal and make this knowledge work for you.
Your Challenge: In the next week, tap into your own emotional intelligence. Take time to gauge your own thoughts, feelings and emotions and those of the people around you and determine how you can make your EI work better for you.