Emotional intelligence is a description of how well an individual is able to be in touch with their own feelings. People who are skilled in this trait are also very good at sensing how those around them are feeling as well. This information is then used to determine what the best course of action should be when a choice must be made. Up to 80% of the difference between an average performer and a top performer is the ability to use this skill.
Should you be developing your own skills in this area to improve your decision-making? Here are the pros and cons of emotional intelligence to consider before getting started.
What Are the Pros of Emotional Intelligence?
1. It is something that anyone can learn.
Emotional intelligence isn’t a genetic trait or a natural talent. It is a skill that anyone can learn. Of course there will be some folks who are naturally better at learning this skill than others, but anyone has the potential to develop well-defined skills in this area. As long as you’re willing to put in the practice, you’ll be able to find some success.
2. It can help to reduce bullying.
When we understand our emotions and can tap into the emotions of others, then we get to feel a little bit of what others are feeling around us. This allows us to stay in better control of our own emotions, while at the same time it prevents us from causing harm to others because we’ll be feeling that harm internally. The end result is typically a kinder, more caring environment because compassion becomes a top priority.
3. It improves a person’s social effectiveness.
By understanding the emotions of everyone else around them, a person exercising their skills of emotional intelligence can find ways to relate to others at a core level. This helps to improve their interpersonal relationships and draw people closer to them in social situations because the emotional intelligence also increases the perception levels of those around the individual.
4. It reduces the likelihood of engaging in personally destructive behaviors.
People who have enhanced their emotional intelligence skills over time are less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors. There are lower levels of smoking, binge drinking, violence against others, and illicit drug use in those with an above average emotional intelligence when compared to the general population. This is because the negative emotional impacts of these decisions have a greater emphasis.
5. Making decisions becomes a lot faster.
Emotional decisions are a lot easier to make than logical decisions. Logic dictates that every scenario be evaluated, estimated, and anticipated. Emotional decisions happen faster because only the emotions of the situation are being examined. Emotion is one of the most crucial pieces of information that we have access to every day, so more data can actually be examined in an emotion than through logic and that’s why decisions are faster.
6. It can be used in any environment, situation, and circumstance.
If you have a skill in typing 140 words per minute, are you going to be able to translate that skill into carpentry? Long haul driving? Emotional intelligence is a skill that transcends industries, hobbies, and situations because it is always applicable. A person exercising their skills in this area can find a way to relate to anyone in any circumstance or situation.
What Are the Cons of Emotional Intelligence?
1. It can be used to manipulate people.
Emotions are one of the core components of our being. We experience emotions in virtually every moment of every day. When those emotions are understood as a skill, then it becomes another way to manipulate someone to do what you want them to do. A high emotional intelligence might eliminate physical bullying, but if the intentions are not good, then a different type of bullying can come about: emotional bullying. What’s worse is that the person being bullied will want to have it happen because it is emotionally fulfilling for them.
2. It prevents others from using their critical thinking skills.
When someone knows how to “put their emotion on a plate,” then that emotional exposure can help others relate through that contact. As those emotions are placed strategically into a presentation, speech, or other public arena, those who are hearing and feeling those expressed emotions begin to get emotional themselves. As those uncontrolled emotions increase, the amount of logical thinking decreases and this prevent critical thinking from occurring.
3. It can be used for personal gain.
Emotional intelligence can also be used to manipulate others for personal gain. This can be done through the creation of embarrassing situations or outright emotional lies, showing a person positive emotions while showing everyone else negative emotions. High emotional intelligence skills can definitely create a lot of good, but if the desires are self-serving, it can also create a lot of darkness.
4. It can make a person more open and agreeable.
Social factors are very important within the scope of human existence. Rare is the individual who can live on their own without any personal contact of any kind for an extended period of time. For those who have a high emotional intelligence, they tend to be more open and agreeable to situations that are morally questionable if it means there is the chance for social contact. This effect is even more pronounced when someone with a higher emotional intelligence is controlling the situation.
5. It takes time to develop this skill.
Although everyone can develop emotional intelligence skills, this is a time investment that can be quite extensive and personal. People may not wish to look at their fears and habits or other personalized negative emotions. If one isn’t willing to look inward, then there isn’t a chance to adapt to emotions that are outward.
6. Emotional intelligence is a skill that not everyone takes seriously.
Information is the primary currency today and society often separates emotions from words. After all, how many times can a Facebook post or a tweet on Twitter be taken out of context because it is taken the wrong way? This skill isn’t taken seriously because many people have poor skills in this area in the first place. Misinterpreting someone’s status updates is clear evidence of this fact.
The pros and cons of emotional intelligence show it can be hugely beneficial to develop. It also shows that there can be some potentially dangerous situations that develop if people use their emotional intelligence in a way that only benefits themselves. By understanding the core emotions of those around us, better decisions can be made, so as long as the negatives can be balanced properly, emotional intelligence will always be important.
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