Why the hype about Emotional Intelligence?
EQ is your ability to identify your own emotions, as well as the emotions of other people. This skill helps you to label your feelings correctly and to use your EQ to interpret the emotional info you collect and to then act in an emotionally appropriate way.
There are four key elements that make up emotional intelligence:
- Social awareness (empathy)
- Relationship management
The term dates back to 1964, it was first used in a research paper by Michael Beldoch. Daniel Goleman introduced it into mainstream society in 1996 after writing a book on the topic.
It is speculated that your EQ is not set in stone, unlike the notion that you are born with a certain IQ and you’re stuck with it your whole life. Through the right training and enhancing your self-awareness, you can build up your EQ and become more socially aware.
Can emotional cues be transferred into the Digital World?
One of the main focus points of your emotional intelligence, is to gather information from your surroundings – the context of a conversation, your own emotional reaction as well as the reaction of other people you are dealing with.
While typing an email, how do you convey that you are smiling or frowning so that the other person knows your reaction to their words? Daniel Goleman makes the statement “there is no channel for emotions with email.”
The famous positive and negative smiley faces, 🙂 and 🙁 were created in 1982 by Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist. In 1999 the first emoji was created in Japan by Shigetaka Kurita. Emoticons are very handy while typing a WhatsApp to a friend, but it is not a very professional form of communication. Even inserting a smiley face into your business correspondence, can be seen as unprofessional and offensive to some people.
While typing a business email you are stuck with the possibility of the other person misinterpreting your tone of voice. Needless to say, trying to be sarcastic while typing an email, is not advisable. A neutral statement sent via email, could be interpreted as cold or even as cruel. The negativity bias comes into play, which means that basically someone will first assume the worst before they give you the benefit of the doubt that your words weren’t meant to be hurtful.
Goleman has noted an interesting thing that occurs with digital communication, he calls it “flaming” …
… that moment when someone immediately lashes out at the other person who sent the email or text message, without first taking a moment to cool down and think things through.
Technology offers you the ability to instantly interact with someone, even if they are sitting on the other side of the world. Goleman sees flaming as a form of “emotional hijack”, the moment when your reasoning flies out the window and you react impulsively, out of anger, which you will most likely regret later.
Flaming or cyber-disinhibition
When flaming occurs your brain circuits that should block the impulse to instantly respond, fails to stop you. The reason why this is so much more prevalent with digital communication, is that in a face-to-face interaction you are more likely to not respond so harshly because of the direct feedback from the other person in front of you. The lack of direct feedback creates a lack of inhibition.
Goleman calls it “cyber-disinhibition”, you can’t channel your emotions online, you’re just staring at flat words on a screen and you are only hearing them in your own head, meaning that you choose to interpret the tone in a subjective manner.
SEL or Social and Emotional Learning becomes much more important in the online world. You need to be in touch with your self-awareness to notice when you are becoming angry or defensive. If you continue to indulge in over-reacting to emails before thinking things through, you will be strengthening your negative neural circuitry. You need to remember that you can resist the impulses, even while you’re staring at your computer screen and not a human face.
At Metatrans, we are passionate about helping businesses and people thrive through digital disruption, transformation and innovation.
We help businesses assess, plan and implement digital strategies, that enable companies to be lean, agile and focus on excellent customer service.
We also work with the people across all levels of the organisation and provide the necessary interventions and training to have the right culture, customer oriented and digital savvy staff.