Emotional Health · Health

The 4 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence and Why They Matter

Artists are also at a disadvantage if they lack skills in this area. It is not enough to be talented alone: you need to understand how to get people to pay attention to your work if you are going to make it. To maintain success, you need to nurture and develop relationships with those who can help you along the way. And you need to understand how not to make enemies, too. Unfortunately, emotional intelligence does not necessarily correlate highly with cognitive intelligence or even artistic talent. As we understand more about this, psychologists and teachers are discovering that they may be quite separate abilities.

What exactly is emotional intelligence? Can it be learned or developed, or is it innate? Cognitive intelligence has been found in twin studies to be among our most inheritable traits, highly influenced by genes. Nevertheless, the “nurture” side of the picture can make all the difference when it comes to developing and shaping your skills. Is the same true for other kinds of abilities?

We all know, for example, that artistic skill seems to be something that you are “born with, yet without learning and practice it can languish. While Malcolm Gladwell’s maxim, put forth in his book Outliers, that “10,000 hours” of deliberate practice is required to become a grand master in sports, games, or the arts has been widely disputed, it is obvious that a certain amount of learning and practice are always required. For every Grandma Moses, who took up painting and achieved overnight fame at the age of 78 after her arthritis made needlepoint too difficult, there are millions of “starving artists” struggling to gain recognition, plugging away at their craft.

But emotional intelligence is a new and somewhat slippery concept. It helps to break it down into four main categories when trying to understand it. The four main sets of skills are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

1. Self Awareness

  • Emotional Self-Awareness, the ability to know yourself and understand your feelings.
  • Accurate Self-Assessment, understanding your strengths and weaknesses and their effects.
  • Self-Confidence, having faith in yourself and being willing to put yourself forward.

2. Self-Management

  • Emotional Self-Control, an important part of emotional maturity, controlling your feelings and/or expressing them in the appropriate settings is a key skill.
  • Achievement, i.e. being goal-oriented and being able to work toward your goals.
  • Initiative, being self-motivated, and having the ability to keep working despite setbacks.
  • Transparency, being honest and open, interacting with integrity and being trustworthy.
  • Adaptability, showing resilience and the ability to change course when necessary.
  • Optimism, having a positive outlook, hoping for the best and preparing for success.

3. Social Awareness

  • Empathy, one of the pillars of the ability to form connections with others, understanding and acknowledging others’ emotions.
  • Service Orientation, being helpful, contributing to the group effort, and displaying good listening skills. 
  • Organizational Awareness, the ability to explain yourself well and be aware of how you are being understood, as well as sensing the level of comprehension of your audience.

4. Relationship Management

  • Inspirational Leadership, like being a good mentor, role model, and authority figure.
  • Influence, articulating points in persuasive, clear ways that effectively motivate others.
  • Conflict Management, having the skills to improve relationships, negotiate, and lead. The ability to settle disputes, differences of opinion, and misunderstandings.
  • Change Catalyst, recognizing and supporting the need for change, and making it happen.
  • Developing others, helping others build their skills and knowledge.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration, working with others in an effective manner.
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