We at Stanfield believe that while knowledge and a good education are vital for success, it is emotional intelligence that can help determine positive life and career outcomes. Emotional intelligence, or a combination of maturity, common sense and social awareness, enables one to bring out the best in everyone around him or her. Therefore, it is not only your abilities that you are able to harness but also the abilities of those around you. A high degree of emotional intelligence provides the ability to navigate successfully the emotional landmines that are part of everyday life.
Emotional Intelligence is not necessarily an innate quality but rather is a skill that can take time and practice to fully develop. Therefore, it is ok to “take things slow” in the beginning. At the onset of emotional intelligence development, even the small gains are important. The following skills derived from a recent study of emotional intelligence focus on creating a personal awareness and using that to then focus on succeeding within a group. These skills could prove especially useful for children and adults who have difficulty managing emotions. In order to fully succeed at the skills below, related skill building such as assertiveness training, relaxation techniques, and communication skills may be needed as well.
1. Self-awareness -First, recognize and understand your own emotions and take responsibility for them.
Questions to ask: What am I feeling? Why do I feel this way? Is this the way I want to feel?
2. Social awareness – Recognize how you affect others and how people in general affect each other.
Questions to ask: How are people reacting to me? Is their reaction positive? What can I do differently to elicit a more positive response?
3. Self-management – Learn how to handle stress and recognize what prompts both your positive and negative responses in certain situations.
Questions to ask: What can I do to feel more positive? Where are negative feelings coming from and how can I stop them?
4. Relationship management – Learn how to bring out the best in everyone and avoid negativity.
Questions to ask: Am I really listening to what others are trying to tell me? When I talk to others, are my words and my body language contradicting each other?
One of the most important exercises in developing strong emotional intelligence muscles is to put yourself in another person’s shoes. (Note: This can take practice when it does not come naturally or when one is emotionally upset.) It is also wise to remember that in life you should not strive to win for yourself but to look for solutions where as many people as possible win. Going through life dealing with adversaries is exhausting and inefficient; instead look upon life as a team sport where everyone you know is on the same side. If you can get the whole team to pull together, everyone wins.
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The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.