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Emotional Intelligence Makes a Difference

Every day, essentially every minute of the workday, wellness professionals strive to inspire others, either one-on-one or in a group setting. A yoga or Pilates class attracts people of all fitness levels, goals, needs, interests, abilities and personalities. Your ability to give participants an effective workout is based on your knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics and physiology. Your ability to inspire people to feel successful, to experience a sense of belonging and to feel connected depends a great deal on your emotional intelligence (EI).

EI is a different way of being smart. It is how we handle ourselves and others. According to Mayer, Salovey & Caruso (2000), “It is the ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotion and regulate emotion in self and others.” Salovey & Mayer (1990) defined EI as the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.

Daniel Goleman, PhD, popularized the concept with his book Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books 1995). Over the past decade Goleman–with Hay/McBer Emotional Intelligence Services (www.eisglobal.com)–has developed the Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI), a tool that measures emotional competencies in the workplace. Emotional competencies–personal and social skills that demonstrate EI–are learned capabilities that result in outstanding performance at work (Goleman 1998). The ECI organizes these competencies into four clusters: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management (Sala 2003).

Self-awareness includes the competencies of self-assessment, emotional self-awareness and self-confidence. Accurate self-assessment is knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses; emotional self-awareness is recognizing your emotions and their effects; and self-confidence is your sense of self-worth and capabilities.

Self-management includes achievement drive, initiative, optimism, adaptability and emotional self-control. The capacity to strive to constantly improve and meet a standard of excellence is achievement drive. Initiative is the readiness to act on opportunities, while optimism is persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks. Adaptability is the flexibility to handle change, and emotional self-control is keeping emotions and impulses in check.

Social awareness
includes empathy, organizational awareness and service orientation. Awareness of the feelings, needs and concerns of others is empathy, while organizational awareness considers the needs of the organization. Service orientation funnels this understanding to meet customer needs.

Relationship management
includes conflict management, development and influence of others through inspirational leadership, and the ability to act as a change catalyst to foster teamwork and collaboration. Strong relationship management skills demonstrate the ability to induce desirable responses in others.

Each of these competencies is independent of the others, making a unique contribution to performance on the job. Yet, all competencies are interdependent, drawing to some extent on others. The emotional competencies are hierarchical, building on one another. For example, self-awareness is an essential foundation for managing the goals of initiating or adapting to change (Goleman 1998).

When you’ve taken care of yourself, you have more of what it takes to inspire others to believe in themselves and reach their goals. Practicing the emotional competencies of self-awareness and self-management can help you listen to, understand and resolve conflict effectively and efficiently. To successfully manage relationships, it is essential to understand yourself and others. It is with such understanding that you can truly inspire yourself and others to wellness.

Goleman, D. 1998. Working With Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.
Mayer, J., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. 2000. Models of emotional intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of Human Intelligence (pp. 396-420). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Sala, F. 2003. Emotional competence inventory (ECI) technical manual. Boston: Hay/McBer.
Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. 1990. Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition and
, 9 (3), 185-211.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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