Emotional intelligence and conflict resolution

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to relate with others by taking into consideration their emotional dispositions while handling yours as well.

Simply put, emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to consciously discern and accept a third party’s feelings and emotions as we relate with them in a way that dissipates tensions and conflicts ultimately. To this effect, it is the capacity of an individual while dealing with others to discern different feelings that follow and use them to guide his own behavior and manage the surrounding circumstances.

There are four fundamental aspects of emotional intelligence as measured by the emotional component: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and Relationship Management[1].

The term emotional intelligence seems to have first appeared in the 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch[2]. Two years later, another article by B. Leuner[3] entitled Emotional Intelligence and Emancipation advocated the need to take emotional intelligence in consideration in psychological development. The term however, gained popularity as time went by in the 1995 thanks to author and science journalist Daniel Goleman’s book: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ [4]. However, despite the many reports on the usefulness of this concept, it should be mentioned that the scientific community has been very critical of Goleman’s work, which has been considered absurd by classifying almost any type of behavior as an intelligence[5]. Other critical approaches to Emotional Intelligence have been mostly centered on whether emotional intelligence can be considered as real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over the IQ because it “fails” to provide the necessary valid and consistent construct  which every scientific inquiry requires before a notion can be considered worthy of research and of academic dispensation[6].

Despite these criticisms, it is worth mentioning that emotional intelligence can be considered or has been increasingly considered as a form of intelligence by itself. To this effect, there are those who have it or are making use of it. These people are conscious of their own emotions and those of others and can therefore deal with them in a way that enhances their relationship. In other words, it allows, in each situation, to see the diversity or the multiplicity of perspectives and take all those feelings into consideration in the management of that situation. Emotional intelligence has an emotional quotient which is fundamentally different from the IQ in the sense that the former is behavioral whereas the latter deals essentially with someone’s ability to critically think, analyze, and propose solutions for problems.

 Are there any correlation between emotional quotient and intellectual quotient?

 Although this question seems obvious the answer to it is not. It is not easy to measure emotional quotient because many factors should be taken in consideration and some of them are not scientifically accepted.  It is possible for someone to combine a high IQ and a high EQ. On the other hand, it is also possible for someone to have a very high IQ and a low EQ. This can be the results of many factors such as an upbringing in an unloving environment. A child who grows up in an environment filled with strife and neglect may tend to develop feelings of insecurity and mistrust towards others. Such emotional predispositions can foster a sense of unworthiness and self-pity or even self- hatred which will ultimately transpire in their dealings with others. Anger and bitterness are usually a manifestation of deep hurts. As the saying goes, hurting people hurt others.

On the other hand, when someone has been surrounded by love and self-confidence in a stable family with loving parents and siblings, it is usually the case for such people to “naturally” respect others and relate with them in a way that radiates positivity and approval.

Can we say, without being dogmatic, that one should be endowed both an IQ and an EQ in order to properly “function” in this world?

Are the EQ and IQ complementary or conflictual? How do we make profit of both?

The world, as we know it today, has experienced the greatest strides in knowledge increase ranging from technology, medicine, cinematography, spatial conquest and agriculture, just to name a few. On the other hand, the escalation in violence, wars, tensions between nations and the aggressive pursuit of military powers with the latest and most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction has also characterized this age. It almost seems as if our technological advancement has been combined with the engineering of evil mindedness characterized mostly by a propensity towards the destruction of the environment and of human life.

There is a general impression that, as human beings become more cognizant of techniques to manipulate our surrounding circumstances, the more we lost the proper appreciation of human life. As technology occupies more of our daily routines, we fail to develop our emotions, the most valuable cornerstone of our personality. Our will and intelligence are useless in connecting with others without the touch of our emotions which properly channel what we think or are willing to communicate. Failing to develop this fundamental aspect of who we are is detrimental to any attempt to establish a peaceful environment in which tension and strife do not dictate the outcome of our engagement in society. It is imperative to reconsider the core values of respect, appreciation and approval of others, and give preeminence to them if we are to build a peaceful world.These attributes are the fundamental tenets of a cordial and peaceful relationship with others, and the mark of a highly developed emotional quotient. There are cases, and these should be the norm, where people display a balanced IQ and EQ. The ideal individual is one that combines a critical mind that solves problems without resorting to strife to have his or her way. In a world dominated by selfish tendencies manifested by the constant quest for self-promotion to the detriment of others, it will be an understatement to say that narcissistic behavioral patterns have become the norm. It is imperative, if we are to keep surviving as human species in this beautiful world that we live in to integrate these truths in our daily encounters before we destroy ourselves and the planet altogether.

Emotional intelligence, as we have seen, is increasingly becoming a subject of great interest both in the scientific milieu and in the corporate world. Its contribution to conflict resolution has led those involved in any form of leadership to integrate it as a fundamental criterion in management in general, and in crisis management in particular. Despite the reluctance of some scholars to recognize it as a topic worthy of scientific research, emotional intelligence studies have proven enough resilience by paving their way in the world of academics and business. These advances, though slow, provide a source of hope in our technologically advancing world which is mostly characterized by superficiality and individualism. The availability of social networks has surely connected people together at a faster and greater pace as never seen before. But this has not necessarily been followed by a reduction of tensions and wars. These platforms have even sometimes been used to promote violence. Despite these challenges, humanity, throughout history, has demonstrated a resilient survival instinct which will ultimately contribute to a reconsideration of societal values for a better world. Human life as we know it today will disappear if we do not integrate moral values in our pursuit of knowledge.

[1] There are four fundamental aspects of EI (as measured by the Emotional Competence Inventory, published by The Hay Group, a Management Consulting Services Company).

[2] Beldoch, M. (1964), Sensitivity to expression of emotional meaning in three modes of communication, in J. R. Davitz et al., The Communication of Emotional Meaning, McGraw-Hill, pp. 31–42

[3]  Leuner, B (1966). “Emotional intelligence and emancipation”. Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie15: 193–203.

[4] Goleman, D., (1995) Emotional Intelligence, New York, NY, England: Bantam Books, Inc

[5]Eysenck, H.J. (2000). Intelligence: A New LookISBN 978-0-7658-0707-6.

[6] Mattiuzzi, P.G. (2008) Emotional Intelligence? I’m not feeling it. Archived 2009-07-20 at the Wayback Machine everydaypsychology.com


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