Monday, April 1, 2013

Understanding The Connection Between Emotional Intelligence & Anger

Emotional intelligence is a relatively new concept which holds considerable promise in teaching us the skills to relate to each other which leads to positive outcomes in many areas of human interaction. Currently it is the newest rage in Human Resource and Organizational Development consultation and training. 

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the capacity to create positive outcomes in relationship to others and ourselves. It is the practice of being aware, understanding, appropriately expressing and handling emotional states in ourselves and others. Emotional intelligence is an important skill to acquire because of its usefulness in leadership, sales, marriage and interpersonal relationships at work, school and families. It is a skill which can be developed and/or enhanced at any point in our lives.  

Because EQ is essential in developing relational skills it is one of the first concepts to be taught in mainstream anger intervention programs, and is a core concept of which anger management tools are built upon. Additional components in anger education include stress management, communication and anger management. All of these four key concepts are woven throughout the intervention process, and are introduced via direct instruction, group exercises, videos and CDs. Consequently, this helps to teach participants not only how to regulate their anger, but also how to manage stress and improve communication while simultaneously enhancing their emotional intelligence.

Often times individuals initially enroll in anger management class as a result of a referral from court, Human Resources, Employee Assistance Programs, or spouse. However, once in the class, he or she will quickly recognizes the value of using these skills in all other aspects of his or her daily functioning. EQ is by far the most popular of the four modules mentioned above. EQ is closely related to empathy, sensitivity to others, compassion and self awareness. It is what distinguishes persons who make you feel comfortable, optimistic, laugh and feel good about yourself from those who you avoid because their negativism is contagious and tends to cause you to feel gloom and discomfort.

Currently, in the United States, Canada , England and Bermuda, the largest number of non court related referrals to anger management programs are from businesses, and governmental agencies, including Hospitals. These organizations recognize the effect of relational challenges on the bottom line i.e., productivity, profit, and good morale. Understanding the powerful role of emotions in the workplace sets the best leaders apart from the rest not just in tangibles, such as better results and the retention of talent, but also in the all-important intangibles, such as higher morale, motivation, and commitment.

In fact, just as laughter offers a ready barometer of EQ at work so to does rampant anger, fear, apathy, or even sullen silence signals the opposite.  In a recent informal survey of more that a thousand U.S. workers, over 40 percent reported incidences of yelling and other kinds of verbal abuse in their workplaces, and approximately 32 percent admitted to having yelled at a co-worker themselves. Such disturbing encounters wreak havoc emotionally, as demonstrated via negative physiological responses such as increased stress levels, more frequent accidents, etc. Verbal attacks send the painful emotional messages of disgust, or contempt, thus emotionally hijacking the person targeted, particularly when the attack is a spouse or boss, whose opinions carry much weight.