On my way to New Orleans last December, I sat next to a man who was a project manager in northern California. Since I was about to embark on writing a speech about business leadership, I asked him what he thought were the best practices for managing a business. He advised me to read a book called, It's Your Ship, by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff. The subtitle was even more intriguing: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy.
It's Your Ship
Captain Abrashoff assumed command of a ship that was rated the worst in the navy. He believed that human beings are the capital of a ship, just as individuals are the capital of a corporation. In two years, Captain Abrashoff's ship was on the cutting-edge of ship performance and productivity. It was rated no. 1 in the Navy.
Within months, Captain Abrashoff got to know each and every sailor aboard ship, knew what they were good at, found sailors who wanted to lead by example and challenged each crew member to be the best they could be at their job. Because the Captain knew everything about his crew, including birthdays and babies, he inspired loyalty, trust and happiness on board. The Captain's slogan was: It's your ship.
It's Your Life
According to Daniel Goldman, author of Emotional Intelligence Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, this empathic response, modeled in the case of Captain Abrashoff, as a form of emotional intelligence - is the ability to manage and reflect the emotions of others and of self. Emotional intelligence is not just a management skill, but it is a necessary life skill for creating strong and committed interpersonal relationships, which leads to greater happiness.
Dr. Goldman suggests that emotional intelligence is linked to everything from decision-making to academic achievement to having an impact to children's developmental learning. The study of emotional intelligence has also paved the way for a slew of follow up business tools, indicating a paradigm shift from the importance of hard tools to the necessity of soft tools worldwide.
It's annoying and frustrating when feelings, disappointments, frustrations and sadness are not acknowledged to those who are hurting by the challenges of life. Telling your "best friend," your lover, your mother about how you are feeling and finding that an empathic response is not forthcoming makes you feel worse or even angry. Why aren't your feelings being reflected back to you in your husband's supportive words or hugs? Where is your father's warm and loving reply to your sadness? Where is that supportive embrace and concern for real communication from your lover? You want someone to listen, someone to feel what you feel with mindfulness and connection.
The following are five reasons why emotionally intelligent people live a happier and more fulfilling life:
1. They are more self-aware
Emotionally intelligent people power up their emotional antenna and pay closer attention to their surroundings and how they fit into a social circle. Conversation, the give-and-take of energy, fires up the neurotransmitters and keeps people mindful of the contextual involvement. That conscious awareness leads to a greater collective feeling of happiness.
2. They manage their emotions
In order to manage emotions, it is necessary to understand what emotions are being expressed and what emotions are being felt. That means being fully conscious and aware of what's going on inside of you so the outside actions can match the inside emotions. Stay present and happiness results.
3. They are more socially aware
Emotionally intelligent people can manage their emotions in social situations and, at the same time, react in a positive manner to the emotional needs of others who want attention and connection. They have the ability to cheer up or calm down others whatever the context. It's an easy transition to a happy mindset.
4. They have more empathy
For some, it's difficult to stay emotionally connected to others and imagine themselves feeling as others feel. However, for those who have emotional intelligence, it's possible to connect their emotions through their senses and intuition, and, as a result, they usually develop deep responses to those who are in need of consolation or reinforcement.
5. They are more engaged
Emotionally intelligent people have the ability to connect with others by using their emotional awareness to promote cognitive activity that result in understanding the dynamics of others. They have an ability to prioritize what they pay attention and react to, thereby, responding with appropriate feedback to the needs of others.
Emotionally intelligent people improve the quality of their relationships, cultivate leadership skills and garner the respect and love of others, all leading to greater personal happiness. And what's even more amazing is that it's possible to learn the emotional communication skills necessary for establishing, maintaining, and deepening relationships at any age.
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author is Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer.
Visit her website: www.joanfrancesmoran.com.
Follow Joan on Twitter: @joanfmoran