Awaken Your Potential

Words: Nelressa STALLINGS-FAYE

Emotional intelligence [EI], in real life, determines our potential to learning practical skills. Emotional competence shows how much of that, or what, potential we have realised by learning and mastering skills and/or translating intelligence. They hold the key to success and fulfilment.

In his landmark book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, noted psychologist and bestselling author Dr Daniel Goleman, PhD, set out a framework of emotional intelligence [EI]. It reflects how an individual’s potential for mastering the skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management translates into life and ‘on-the-job’ success.

Dr Goleman defines emotional competence as “a learned capability, based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work.” To be skilled at an emotional competence like conflict management, or customer service, as Dr Goleman emphasises, requires an underlying ability in EI fundamentals. It is needless to say that emotional competencies are learned abilities, even though having social awareness or skills alone at managing relationships do not guarantee that one has mastered the additional learning required to handle a person or customer expertly and/or to resolving conflicts, even when we have the potential to become skilled with such competencies.

Emotional competencies are job skills that can, and must, be learned to do well and excel at work — in addition, an underlying EI ability is necessary to manifest competence in any one of the four EI domains, or clusters, that Dr Goleman introduced.

  1. The ability to identify and name one’s emotional states and to understand the link between emotions, thought and action
  1. The capacity to manage one’s emotional states — to control emotions, or shift undesirable emotional states to more adequate elements
  1. The ability to enter into emotional states — at will — associated with the drive to achieve and be successful
  1. The capacity to read, be sensitive to, and influence other people’s emotions, along with the ability to enter and sustain satisfactory interpersonal relationships. Consider, for instance, the IQ corollary that a person can have excellent spatial abilities, yet never learn maths. So too can a person be highly empathic, yet poor at handling people or customers if s/he has not learned the required competence in customer service. There we are — our emotional intelligence determines our potential for learning practical skills that highlight Dr Goleman’s EI clusters. In like manner, our emotional competence shows how much of that potential we have realised by learning and mastering skills and/or translating intelligence into ‘on-the-job’ capabilities, or managing things at home.

Dr Goleman identifies a host of competencies that nestle in the four EI clusters of EI abilities cited earlier. His model also suggests that we cannot demonstrate the competencies of trustworthiness and conscientiousness without the mastery of the fundamental ability of self-management — or, competencies of influence, communication, conflict management etc., — without having a grip on managing relationships. 

The following framework presents the essential of the essentials of emotional competencies — 

Self 

  • Personal competence
  • Social competence
  • Recognition
  • Self-awareness
  • Emotional self-awareness
  • Accurate self-assessment
  • Self-confidence
  • Other.

Social Awareness 

  • Empathy
  • Service orientation
  • Organisational awareness.

Regulation/Self-Management 

  • Self-control
  • Trustworthiness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Adaptability
  • Achievement drive
  • Initiative.

Relationship Management

  • Developing others
  • Influence
  • Communication
  • Conflict management
  • Leadership
  • Change catalyst
  • Building bonds
  • Teamwork and collaboration.

The bottom line: keep working on your EI and emotional competencies on a daily basis — because practice makes things better, if not perfect.

NELRESSA STALLINGS-FAYE, BA, MA, TESOL/TEFL/TOEFL, a former writer-copywriter-PR consultant, is US-certified and licensed K-12 educator, Cambridge certified lecturer, international administrative co-ordinator and research student from the University of Exeter. She currently works with the indigenous Yu’pik tribes in northern Alaska as a licensed educator and ESOL specialist.

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