Positive Psychology

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Emotional Q


Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a hugely controversial field since the concept was popularised by Daniel Goleman's best-seller 'Emotional Intelligence: Why It can Matter more than IQ' in 1995.

Emotional intelligence may not solve all life's problems but increasing research suggests that emotions are an invaluable source of information that need to be interpreted and handled effectively in order to contribute to having a good life
(Grewal & Salovey, 2006). There is a lot of evidence that higher scores of Emotional Intelligence (EI) are associated with less alcohol intake, less bullying, smoking and violence and positively associated with good social interactions.

Highly creative people however may not necessarily benefit from emotional intelligence as being attuned to social norms could hinder the experience of novel or unusual thoughts which would help create a unique piece of art
(Grewal and Salovey, 2006).

Over 30 years of research by the SixSecond Consulting Group shows that employees experience of the work-place is influenced by how managers behave. Feelings about management determined the level of well-being and morale in the employees. Thirty managers in Iran took the EI Inventory which showed that the higher the manager's EI the better the Organisational Climate in the individual's workplace.

There are a number of programmes which aim to enhance EI in schools and in workplaces. Empirical research of cognitive-behaviour therapy shows that training in communication, self-awareness, self-regulation and problem solving could help increase emotional intelligence. Carr (2005) puts forward depression coping mechanisms, anxiety coping skills, anger management and problem-solving techniques in order to help a person who might not have developed these qualities naturally during childhood and adolescence. He connects insecure attachment styles with poorer emotional coping skills.

While I appreciate the work that has gone into finding ways of measuring how well a person copes with their emotions it is important that EI measuring does not become a way of labelling children in the schools or adults in the workplace. Taking into account that EI can change and that a person could be undergoing particular stresses that would interfere with their ability to focus on elaborate tests I believe programmes which help us increase our Emotional Intelligence ought to be encouraged.

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