“Emotions are flowing throughout your organisation and impacting every thought, behaviour and decision. Your choice is not whether they exist or not; your choice is whether you will be smart about them.” – David Caruso

What is the role of emotion?

Every individual experiences emotions – flowing over into and influencing team and organisation.

The causes or triggers of these emotions provide essential data that helps individuals and leaders learn to work well with others, increase engagement with their work, manage stress, handle conflict and make fast and effective decisions.

Yet productively harnessing emotions takes a high level of skill that many leaders do not have and are not taught. This skill is emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence (EI)?

While there are several different definitions of EI, John Mayer and Peter Salovey defined it in 1990 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.”

Over three decades of scientific and business research shows that overwhelmingly, the value of EI is about developing and experiencing quality interpersonal relationships. EI also predicts high performance and is a critical skill set in business; a skillset that is essential in today’s fast-paced and increasingly disconnected world.

Interestingly, many people overestimate their EI, which has several implications. For example, you may believe you are connecting with others and helping people manage stressful situations. Yet, your team may see you as lacking empathy, or ineffective in dealing with interpersonal conflict.

Rather than being a ‘soft skill’, EI is a set of essential skills, or abilities, that are teachable and measurable: reading emotions, leveraging emotions, predicting emotions and effectively managing emotions.

Most importantly, learning and practising these abilities is possible, so while you can hire individuals who are high in EI, you can also build the EI abilities of those already within your organisation. What if we can sharpen these skills to improve individual performance and collaboration, resulting in better business outcomes?

Measuring emotional intelligence abilities

Developed by John Mayer, Peter Salovey, and David Caruso, pioneers in the field of EI, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is the original and only EI ability-based measure. An abilities-based EI test assesses actual emotional ability in the same way an IQ test measures cognitive ability. Where an IQ test asks you to wrangle with cognitive problems, this test asks you to perform tasks and solve emotional problems based on scenarios typical of everyday life. It doesn’t at any point ask your opinion or perception of your emotional skills or the skills of others.

The MSCEIT is recommended for any situation where you want an accurate and objective assessment of emotional intelligence, as it tests an individual’s genuine abilities rather than the view they have of their own EI skill. This makes the MSCEIT ideal for situations where respondents may want to create a positive impression or ‘false positive’ and challenge them with information about themselves they rarely get from other sources.

Skills tested include the ability to:

  • identify emotions expressed in a face
  • create feelings that can help solve problems
  • communicate a vision or lead people
  • predict how someone will react emotionally
  • enhance decision making by integrating thought and emotion

Such skills play a vital role in just about every organisational function, from leadership and team-building to negotiation and planning.

The Langley Group MSCEIT report paints a complete picture of a person’s real emotional intelligence abilities and includes reflective activities and tangible personal development strategies.

Want to learn more?

To learn more join Learn with Sue for eBooks on topics such as 7 Ways to Apply Positive Psychology, 10 Brain Friendly Habits and How to Lead with the Brain at Work. Plus a range of tools to help yourself and others including questionnaires, values cards, posters and more.