With the publication of Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence in 1995, the business world got an answer to a question that had been plaguing it for decades: “Why did some people of a high IQ struggle at managing teams while other leaders of lower IQ excel at it”? Goleman asserted that the traditional measurement of IQ (intelligence quotient) was not enough to determine a good leader. Schools and universities concentrated on developing the cognitive and analytical part of the brain, while the teaching of how the emotional side of the brain worked was ignored. Goleman defined this “emotional intelligence” of a human being as a set of competencies that distinguish how one manages feelings and interacts with others. These emotional intelligence competencies are divided into two categories: personal and social. Personal competencies are how we manage our self and our own feelings, and social competencies are how we manage our inter-personal relationships. There are three basic personal competencies: knowing one’s emotions, managing emotions, and motivating one’s self. The two basic social competencies are recognizing emotions in others and handling relationships. Mastering these competencies, in addition to having sufficient IQ intelligence, makes for a truly effective leader. Thankfully for all of us, Goleman asserts that emotional intelligence can be obtained by understanding what the five competencies are and then developing one’s skills in using them.
Knowing one’s self, or self-awareness, is the foundation of emotional intelligence and the first competency. How can we fully understand how someone else feels if we do not understand how we feel? Self-aware people know what makes them happy, sad, satisfied, or dissatisfied. Goleman defines self-awareness as “being aware of both our mood and our thoughts about that mood”. The key to self-awareness is the ability to be in touch with one’s emotions