Saturday, January 31, 2015

Secrets of strategic thinking

A strategy is an individual’s comprehensive approach to a task.In other words strategy is a course of action for achieving an organization’s purpose.To think strategically means to take the long-term view and see the big picture of desired end states and set goals. It is like ‘seeing the forest, not just the trees’ or taking a helicopter ride to a sufficient height to see a big picture (‘helicopter view’ of the firm). Strategic thinking requires the consideration of the past, the present and the future of the firm. Strategic thinking plays a meaningful role in ‘thinking in time.’ Strategic thinking is an ability constantly to view an organization’s operations, issues, and problems in a broad situational and environmental context and with a long time perspective. Thinking strategically requires research, analysis and forethought in order to create a plan for how you will proceed as an organization in the future.  Strategic thinking is a very creative, dynamic and powerful skill that will energize you and your interactions with others. Strategic thinking is a key competency that leaders, managers, supervisors and front-line employees need to develop to enable the organization to identify and take advantage of emerging issues.

Concept of strategy

Strategy is a concept with military roots. Strategy is a term comes from the Greek strategia meaning ‘generalship.’ Strategy is the art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle. Henry Mintzberg in his book, ‘The rise and fall of strategic planning’ points out that people use ‘strategy’ in four different ways:
1. Strategy as plan – strategy is a plan. Strategy is some sort of consciously intended course of action into the future (‘purposeful action’) or a guideline to deal with a situation. It can be general or specific.
2. Strategy as pattern –strategy is a pattern. Strategy is consistency in behaviour over time.
3. Strategy as position – strategy is a position. Strategy becomes a ‘niche’ in economic terms or product-market domain.
4. Strategy as perspective – strategy is a perspective- character of an organization.
Strategy is all of these- it is a plan, position, perspective and pattern (four Ps for strategy). Strategy is a means of establishing the organizational purpose, in terms of its long-term objectives, action programs and resource allocation priorities. A strategy aims to steer the direction of the overall organization. It affects the long-term well-being of the organization. A strategy is future –oriented and marked by uncertainty and risk.

Strategy versus tactics

A strategy is the approach you take to achieve a goal. Strategy is being clear about where you want to go. Strategy has been characterized as “...the pattern of decisions in a company that determines and reveals it objectives, purposes or goals...” Strategy is undertaken before the battle. Tactics are implemented during the battle. A strategy is a larger plan that can comprise several tactics, which are smaller, focused, less impactful plans that are part of the overall plan. Strategy is a thinking process required to plan a change, course of action or organization. A tactic is a tool used in pursuing an objective associated with a strategy. Tactics are the specific actions that are undertaken in implementing the strategy. These actions comprise what is to be done, in what order, using which tools and personnel. Every tactic must suit the strategy. Tactics are the actions that lead to execution of the strategy. Tactics are made up of a few elements: an action, a purpose, a schedule and a measurable result.

Definition and explanation

Strategic thinking is defined as the individual’s capacity for thinking conceptually, imaginatively, systematically and opportunistically with regard to the attainment of success in the future.
Strategic thinking is not similar to critical thinking. Critical thinking can be useful part of strategic thinking but critical thinkers are less likely to be imaginative and opportunistic. Strategic thinking is also not similar to creative thinking. Creative thinking is imaginative and playful. Moreover creative thinking attends to a lesser degree to concepts, systems and opportunities.  Strategic thinking is identifying, imagining and understanding possible and plausible future operating environments for your organization.  Strategic thinking is goal – directed, structured and focused on the future in a precise way. It is analytical and ambitious. It concerns power and trends as well as uncertainty.

Strategic planning

Strategic planning is the channelling of business insights into an action plan to achieve goals and objectives.  A strategic plan is a top-level overview of an organization, its performance, its mission and its goals. A strategic plan is like a game plan for the team to follow. It is a step-by-step operating instruction of an organization.
Create vision àdefine objectivesàdefine strategiesà implementàcontrol.

Strategic management

Strategic management is the continuous process of creating, implementing and evaluating decisions that enable an organization to achieve its objectives.
Strategic management à strategic planning +implementation+control.

Elements of strategic thinking

Conceive an ideal future –strategic thinking begins with a clear image of the desired long-range future for the organization. Based on the vision, decisions and actions are formulated.
Focus on core values –based on the core values of the organization – strategic decisions and actions are clearly defined and accepted by the people at all levels of the organization.
Always look for opportunities and threats – strategic thinking mind set depends on a keen awareness of the environment. Strategic thinkers always discover opportunities and detect potential threats in advance.
Search for patterns and relationships –strategic thinkers recognize the patterns between events and circumstances.
Recognize connections - strategic thinkers are deeply aware of interrelationships between actions and events within a system.

Value of strategic thinking

1. Strategic thinking keeps the organization at the leading edge of change.
2. Strategic thinking optimizes the ability to shape and leverage change to organization’s advantage.
3. Strategic thinking eliminates complacency.
4. Strategic thinking creates a sense of unity.
5. Strategic thinking provides proactive leadership and the leaders think systematically with a system’s approach.
6. Strategic thinking creates a life-long learning atmosphere.
7. Strategic thinking provides an effective system to solve major problems.
8. Strategic thinking improves the understanding of the business environment.

Strategic thinking framework (ref: net source)

Strategic thinking can occur in two phases each of which consists of specific steps.
Phase I –setting the stage –consists of two stages
1.  Seeing the big picture – understanding the broader business environment in which you operate.
2. Articulating strategic objectives –determining what you hope to achieve by thinking strategically.
Phase II –applying your skills – consists of 5 additional steps.
1.  Identifying relationships, patterns and trends- detecting patterns across seemingly unrelated events and categorizing related information.
2. Getting creative – generating alternatives, visualizing new possibilities, challenging your assumptions and opening yourself to new information.
3. Analysing information – sorting out and prioritizing the most important information, while making a decision, implementing a project, handling a conflict etc.
4. Prioritizing your actions – staying focused on your objectives while handling multiple demands and competing priorities.
5. Making trade –offs –recognizing the potential advantages and disadvantages of an idea or course of action.

Characteristics of strategic thinker

1. Curiosity – being genuinely interested in what is going on in your unit, company and industry.
2. Flexibility –trying new approaches and ideas.
3. Focus on the future – remaining alert for opportunities that may prove valuable in the future.
4. Openness – welcoming new ideas from peers, customers, suppliers and business partners.
5. Positive outlook – viewing challenges as opportunities and believing that success is possible.
6. Self-awareness – continually working to broaden your knowledge and experience.

Strategic analysis tools

Strategic analysis is the process of conducting research on the business environment within which an organization operates and on the organization itself, in order to formulate strategy.  The strategic analysis tools include PEST, five forces, value chain and SWOT.
PEST analysis – It is a useful tool for understanding the political, economic, socio-cultural and technological environment that an organization operates in it. It can be used for evaluating market growth or decline and as such the position, potential and direction for a business.
Porter’s five forces model – A tool that can be used to evaluate the five forces of competition position analysis: buyer power, supplier power, intensity of rivalry, threat of substitutes and threat of new entrants. This simple framework assesses and evaluates the competitive strength and position of a business organization.
Value chain analysis – A tool based on the principle that organizations exist to create value for their customers. The value chain analysis reveals about your internal strengths and weaknesses. This method divides your firm into its value –producing activities, with aim of evaluating what makes the firm strong and what makes it weak.
SWOT analysis – A SWOT analysis is a simple tool that helps in understanding strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a project or business activity. It starts by defining the objective of the project or business activity and identifies the internal and external factors that important to achieving that objective. Strengths and weaknesses are usually internal to the organization, while opportunities and threats are usually external.

Benefits of strategic thinking

Strategic thinking offers guidance on the actions to achieve the vision and mission of the organization. Strategic thinking raises awareness about the threats and opportunities involved in a business activity. Strategic thinking aligns the organization around a common direction and set of priorities; improves teamwork and employee’s commitment. Strategic thinking improves the quality of decision making and speed of implementation. Strategic thinking improves organizational efficiency and effectiveness.  Strategic thinking fosters a culture that supports new ideas and creativity for the benefit of the organization.
                         Strategy is undertaken before the battle
                         Tactics are implemented during battle.
                              Strategy + Execution= Success.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The qualities of successful teams

A team is a group of individuals committed to a common goal.Teamwork is a complex process: a group of people pooling their skills, talents and knowledge. In good teams, people with complementary skills work together, each playing to their strengths and each recognizing the strengths of the other team members.The criteria for effective team performance are a deep commitment to a common purpose and the sharing of common goals.One of the key elements of a winning team is a feeling of inter-dependency-one for all and all for one (Stuart –Kotze 2008). Teamwork is the glue which promotes collaboration, commitment, motivation, dependability and accountability among team members. The purpose of a team is to help the organization as a whole to achieve its objectives. Effective teamwork increases problem-solving, decision quality, creativity and innovation. . Vince Lombardi said, “Build for your team, a feeling of oneness, of dependence upon one another, and of strength to be derived from unity”.

Defining teamwork

A team is a group of individuals working together to achieve a common goal or purpose.
Teamwork is the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.
A team is small group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

7 - essential skills for teamwork

Listening –team members listen to each other’s ideas.
Questioning –team members question each other.
Persuading – team members use persuasion.
Respecting – team members respect the opinion of others.
Helping – team members help each other.
Sharing – team members share ideas and report their findings to each other.
Participating – team members contribute to the project.

Team building stages (Bruce Tuckman model, 1965)

Team building is a process that takes place over time. The start of the process is where there is a group of people, two or more and a leader. The end of the process is where there is a high performing team. The development of a group of people into a team takes time, commitment and energy. A successful team exhibits synergy (the sum is greater than the parts) between the individual members of the team. Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Forming – stage where the team is first formed. Team members start to work together.
Storming – stage where impatience with progress occurs. Team members challenge their shared purpose.
Norming – team members star to resolve their differences, appreciate colleague’s strength and respect the leader.
Performing – stage where the mature team understands its strengths and weaknesses. Members are satisfied with progress.

Teamwork principles

Strength in numbers – teams function best when the strengths of individuals are combined together.
Integrity – team members exhibit shared perception so that their strengths combine to enhance what they do.
Alignment – the strengths of individuals and the support of colleagues are directed towards meaningful goals in the organization.
Results – the team focuses on delivering results it has a clear performance focus.

Qualities of effective team player

Genuine commitment –An outstanding team player cares about his/her work, the team and the team’s work. The team player exhibits care and commitment to the team’s work.
Open communication – Great team player communicates his/her ideas honestly and clearly and respects the views and opinions of others in the team.
Always reliable – every team needs reliable team members. Reliable team member gets his work done and does his fair share to work hard and meets commitments.
Active listening – good listeners are essential for teams to function effectively. Effective communicators also listen carefully.
Active participation – good team players are active participants. They come prepared for team meetings and listen and speak up in discussions.
Information sharing – Outstanding team player willingly shares information, knowledge and experience.
Cooperation – cooperation is the act of working with others and acting together to accomplish a job. They respond to requests for assistance and take the initiative to offer help.
Exhibits flexibility – Inflexibility is one of the worst human failings. A flexible team member can consider different points of views and compromise when needed.
Problem solver – an exemplary team player is willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solution – oriented manner.
Support and respect – an outstanding team member treats fellow team members with courtesy and consideration. They show understanding and the appropriate support to other team members.

The qualities of an effective team leader

The team leader is typically a member of the team who provides guidance and support and has ultimate responsibility for the outcomes of the team (Bachiochi et al 2000). According to Zengu et al (1994), team leaders must (1) build trust and inspire teamwork (2) facilitate and support team decisions and (3) expand team capabilities. Team leaders should have significant responsibility, trust, emotional stability and flexibility.

Kinds of teams

Global teams – cross-border teams made up of members from different nationalities.
Virtual teams – consist of geographically dispersed members linked via technology.
Cross functional teams – team members from the same hierarchical level but from different work areas, come together to accomplish a task.
Creative team – a type of team created for the purpose of developing innovative solutions.
Tactical team – a team created for the purpose of executing a well defined plan.
Hierarchical teams – are the traditional type of teams and are most common.
Multidisciplinary teams –are groups drawn from different parts of the organization.

Characteristics of team processes

Team coordination – coordination refers to orderly interpersonal actions required to perform complex tasks. Effective teams harness the variety and minimize the differences of members to ensure that expert skills and knowledge are well utilized.
Team communication – Communication refers to an observable interchange of information and subtle interactions of power, attitudes and values. Effective teams show two-way communication processes with clearly defined responsibilities and appropriate delegation.
Team cohesion – Team cohesion acknowledges member’s personal attraction to the team and the task. Members cooperate interdependently around the team’s task in order to meet team goal.
Team decision making – team decision making is the process through which a team chooses an alternative. Team performance depends largely on the choices made by the team. These choices, in turn, depend on the processes through which teams decide. Therefore high’ performance teams require processes through which teams make high quality decisions.
Team conflict management – team conflict can source both creativity and destruction. For teams to value creative contributions and promote effective problem – solving, diversity needs careful management. Destructive team conflict often has an interpersonal basis in work role or organizational factors.
Social relationships – good social relationships maintain effective teams. Personally team members who are empathetic and supportive offer practical assistance, share information and collaboratively solve problems.
Performance feedback – Individuals, teams and the organization all require accurate and timely feedback about the team’s performance in order to maintain effectiveness.

Characteristics of  successful teams

1. Effective teams are committed to a common purpose and goal. Team members must collectively understand and commit to their team’s purpose.
2. The atmosphere in an effective team tends to be informal, comfortable and relaxed. They are provided with clear expectations and adequate resources to accomplish its goals.
3. The team members must be able to communicate effectively with each other.
4. The team members are free in expressing their feelings as well as their ideas.
5. The members of the team are trustworthy and they rely on each other understanding their own strengths and weaknesses.
6. Effective teams set clear and demanding performance goals. The team defines and achieves a continuous series of small wins along the way to longer goals.
7. The team members appreciate the diversity of knowledge that the other team members offer.
8. The members of the team are creative and unafraid to share opinions, ideas and suggestions.
9. Effective team members avoid conflicts when challenges occur and instead focus on overcoming those challenges.

Enemies of teamwork

Effective teamwork may be undermined by a variety of problems, for example disorganization, poor communication, gossip, misunderstandings, lack of shared purpose or inadequate procedures for problem-solving.

Benefits of teamwork

Teamwork can lead to better decisions, products and services. Teamwork accelerates growth and heightens productivity and profit margins.  Teamwork can allow healthy competition among team members to outperform each other. Teamwork can be a source of education and inspiration. Teamwork allows an easier flow of information and solves problems easily.  Teamwork develops trust and reduces stress. Teamwork helps development, fine tune and executes a project in the most innovative way possible. Teamwork plays a very important role in organization as well as our personal lives.

 Family as a successful team

A family is like a team –Make your family a ‘team’ which will bring wonderful benefits to your young children. It can teach them selflessness, cooperation and develop a strong family bond.
                                        Teamwork is a goal-driven process.
                                                    Unity is strength.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences

The theory of multiple intelligences (MI) was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. In his book, Frames of Mind, Gardner described seven distinct types of intelligences-logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic, visual-spatial, musical, bodily-kinaesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. In the next edition of this book he added two more types of intelligences – naturalistic and existential intelligence.
According to MI theory everyone possesses all of the eight intelligences. However the extent to which each is developed in an individual varies from person to person. Each person has a unique intelligence profile. Gardner claims that intelligence is not fixed, but continually expands and changes throughout one’s life. Gardner regards these intelligences not as skills but as “biological potentials” which are realized to a greater or lesser extent depending upon opportunities and motivation (Gardner 2004). According to Gardner’s theory, one form of intelligence is not better than another; they are equally valuable and viable (Gardner 1983). Multiple intelligence theory challenged the dominant definition of intelligence as limited to linguistic and mathematical abilities (verbal and computational intelligences). G-theory defines intelligence as an innate general capacity to learn that varies in amount from person to person, but which is relatively stable over the life span.

Gardner’s definition of intelligence

According to Gardner, intelligence is, “the talent to solve problems or produce products that are considered valuable in one or several cultures.” He stated that intelligence can be described as the combination of psychological and biological characteristics that enable individuals to solve problems or create products that are valued in one or more cultures (Gardner 1999). Gardner further suggests that thinking, problem solving and creating are valued differently depending on the family and community in which individuals live, learn and work.

Domains of multiple intelligence

Gardner proposed that there were eight relatively autonomous but interconnected intelligences:
Verbal/linguistic intelligence (word smart / book smart) - refers to the ability to use language masterfully to express oneself rhetorically or poetically e.g. the writer, orator.
Logical/ mathematical intelligence (number smart/logic smart) - refers to the ability to concentrate on mathematical problems, hypotheses and think logically e.g. the scientist, philosopher.
Visual/spatial intelligence (picture smart/art smart) – refers to the ability to manipulate and create mental images in order to solve problems e.g. the architect, engineer, sculptor.
Bodily/kinaesthetic intelligence (body smart/ movement smart) – refers to the ability to use one’s mind to control one’s bodily movement e.g. the athlete, dancer, actor, surgeon.
Musical/ rhythmic intelligence (music smart/ sound smart) – refers to the ability to read, understand, and compose musical pitches, tones and rhythms e.g. the entertainer, musician.
Interpersonal intelligence (people smart/ group smart) – refers to the ability to apprehend the feelings and intention of others e.g. the counsellor, minister, teacher.
Intrapersonal intelligence (self smart/ introspection smart) – refers to the ability to understand one’s own feelings and motivations e.g. the poet, efficiency expert.
Naturalist intelligence (nature smart) – refers to the ability to relate to the natural world with clarity and sensitivity e.g. biologist, environmentalist.
Existential intelligence – refers to the ability to explore complex philosophical questions.

Bases of multiple intelligence theory

According to Gardner, there are biological and cultural bases for multiple intelligences. The neurobiological research indicates that learning is an outcome of the modifications in the synaptic connections between brain cells. The various types of learning result in synaptic connections in different areas of brain. Since different cultures value different types of intelligences, one’s cultural context plays large roles in the formation of intelligence. There is extensive anthropological evidence indicates that certain intelligences (or abilities) exist in highly evolved levels in certain cultures.

Claims of multiple intelligence theory

The first claim is that all human beings possess all of the eight intelligences. Of course the eight intelligences function together in ways unique to each person. The second claim is that just as we all look different and have different personalities and temperaments, we also exhibit different profiles of intelligences. Gardner suggests that virtually everyone has the capacity to develop all eight intelligences to a reasonably high level of performance, if given the appropriate encouragement, enrichment and instruction. Gardner suggests that intelligence usually work together in complex ways. Gardner argues that most tasks require more than one intelligences working together. Gardner further suggests that there are many ways to be intelligent within each category. There is no set of attributes that one must have to be considered intelligent in a specific area. Multiple intelligence theory emphasizes the rich diversity of ways in which people show their gifts within intelligences as well as between intelligences. Gardner has based his claims for the existence of at least eight intelligences on psychological, neuropsychological, neurobiological, historical and evolutionary evidences as well as on findings from psychological experimental tasks.

Messages of multiple intelligence model

1.       We are born with a unique mix of all eight intelligences.
2.       Intelligences combine in complex ways.
3.       There are many ways to be intelligent within each category.
4.       Most people can develop each intelligence to an adequate level of competency.
5.       Each multiple intelligence begins as a biological potential that is shaped exponentially as the individual develops.

Applications of multiple intelligence theory

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences provides a theoretical foundation for recognizing the different abilities and talents of students. Gardner states that students learn in different ways and need a variety of experiences to develop all their ways of learning. Multiple intelligence theory can be used for curriculum development, planning instruction, selection of course activities and related assessment strategies. Using multiple intelligences in classrooms engages different styles of learning in order to maximize educational success, intellectual growth and enthusiasm among diverse learners.
Application of multiple intelligences enhances one’s self-awareness and increase self-esteem.
Managers who have multiple intelligences can understand the challenges face with employees. The highest performing managers and leaders have significantly more ‘multiple intelligence competencies’ than other managers.
Businesses can use multiple intelligence theory to structure workshops and training sessions for employees which will enhance teamwork, develop human potential and foster creativity.
     Multiple intelligence theory has applications to education

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Daniel Goleman's theory of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional competencies are more important in contributing to work excellence than pure intellect and expertise (EQ beats IQ). Emotional intelligence describes the ability, capacity, skill, to identify, assess and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others and of groups. Emotional intelligence is  a critical part of social intelligence.  Emotional intelligence can be abbreviated to EI and can also be referred to as emotional quotient (EQ). Some research shows that intelligence quotient, IQ contributes only about 20% to success in life. The rest of 80% success depends on one’s EQ. The concept of Emotional intelligence was formally introduced by Professors Peter Salovey of Yale University and John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire in 1990.  Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and science journalist popularized the term emotional intelligence in 1995 in the title of his bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. Emotional intelligence is more important for a happy and productive life. People who are positive have been shown to live longer. Leaders high in emotional intelligence are more productive. Emotional intelligence determines ‘one’s ultimate niche in a society.’ Research shows that “emotion makes thinking more intelligent.”

Concept of emotional intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence includes two component terms, intelligence and emotion. Intelligence belongs to cognitive sphere of mental functioning whereas emotions belong to affective sphere of mental functioning. Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. The word emotion comes from the Latin word ‘emoveo’ which means ‘to move from.’ According to Webster’s 1928 Dictionary emotion is ‘a moving of the mind or soul.’ There are six essentially universal emotions- anger, fear, sadness, happiness, disgust and surprise – with most other emotions included within these six categories (Robbins and Judge 2009).  Every one experiences and relates to feelings and emotions. Emotions contain valuable information on relationships, behaviour and practically every aspect of the human world around us.


Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, express, understand and regulate emotions.
Salovey and Mayer (1997) defined emotional intelligence as “the ability to perceive emotions, integrate emotions to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.”
Goleman (1998) defined Emotional intelligence as ‘the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”  
Reuven Bar-on (1997) described EQ as “an array of personal, emotional and social abilities and skills that influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures”.

Principles of emotional intelligence

There are two basic principles associated with emotional intelligence. First emotional intelligence is about  being aware of emotions –identifying and understanding emotions-both of your own and other people’s emotions. Second emotional intelligence is about using and managing emotions of our own and other people’s.

Emotional quotient, EQ

EQ is an inventory designed to measure the capacity of effectively recognizing and managing our own emotions and those of others. EQ is the ability to make deeper connections at 3 levels: with ourselves (personal mastery), with another person (one-to-one) and within groups/ teams.

Models of emotional intelligence

1. Ability EI model – the mental ability model focuses on emotions themselves and their interactions with thought (Mayer and Salovey 1997). This model proposes four main types of emotional abilities:
Emotional perception refers to the ability to recognize and decipher emotions in oneself and others as well as other stimuli including faces, pictures, stories and music.
Emotional use refers to the ability to apply emotions to cognitive activities such as thinking, reasoning, problem solving and decision making.
Emotional understanding refers to the ability to understand emotional information and the causes of emotions and how emotions combine, progress and change from one to another.
Emotional management refers to the ability to be open to feelings and employ effective strategies to promote personal understanding and growth.
2. Trait EI model – this model was published in 2009 by Petrides and colleagues. Trait EI model is a constellation of emotion – related self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality.  Trait EI model refers to an individual’s own perceptions of their emotional abilities, as opposed to the ability –based model which refers to actual abilities.
3. Mixed models of EI- this model is introduced by Daniel Goleman that defines EI as a wide range of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. There are four tenets to this model:
Self awareness is the ability to understand your emotions, recognize their impact and use them to inform decisions.
Self-management involves controlling your emotions and impulses and adapting to circumstances.
Social awareness is the ability to sense, understand and react to the emotions of others within social situations.
Relationship management is the ability to inspire, influence and connect with others and to manage conflict.

Origin of emotional intelligence

The emotional brain (EB) is that part of the human brain that generates emotions. The amygdala –the part of the limbic brain –is considered to be the emotional centre of our brain and performs a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions. Amygdala is an almond shaped brain structure in the limbic system. The emotional response is relatively less influenced by genetic factors and more by the limbic system of the brain. People seem to develop greater emotional intelligence not in the early childhood but in the adult years. Emotional intelligence seems to be largely a learned response. We continue to develop EI as we go through life and learn from our experiences.

Characteristics of emotional skills

There are five key characteristics that distinguish an emotionally intelligent person.
Self-awareness- having a realistic assessment of his abilities.
Self-regulation – ability to control emotions and impulses.
Motivation – deepest preference to achieve our goals.
Empathy –is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs and viewpoints of other people.
Social skills – People with good social skills can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships. People with good social skills can persuade and lead, negotiate and settle disputes for cooperation and team work.

Components of emotional intelligence

Daniel Goleman (1995) suggests that emotional intelligence consists of five major components:
1.       Knowing our own emotions.
2.       Managing one’s emotions.
3.       Motivating our emotions.
4.       Recognizing the emotions of others and
5.       Handling relationships.

 Benefits of emotional intelligence at work

·         Emotionally intelligent people manage stress better at work.
·         They improve their relationships with co-workers.
·         They deal more effectively with their supervisors.
·         They are more productive and effectively manage their work priorities.
·         They become better team player, managers or leaders.
In general emotional intelligence has been proven to:
¨       Increase workplace productivity.
¨       Reduce stress.
¨       Moderate conflict.
¨       Promote understanding and relationships.
¨       Foster stability and continuity.
¨       Heighten self awareness.

Advantages of emotional intelligence

1.       Emotional intelligence is primarily about managing oneself well and enhancing one’s relationship with others in order to be happier, healthier and more successful.
2.       According to research at the University of Toronto, positive, happy emotions and moods may open one’s mind and increase creative thinking.
3.       Positive emotions enhance problem-solving skills so that positive people find better solutions to problems (Isen 2001).
4.       Emotionally intelligent people can help manage stressful situations and improve negotiation and conflict resolution.
5.       Multiple studies have shown that the most successful leaders in organizations have higher levels of emotional intelligence than others. Emotional intelligence has been shown to be more important in rising to the top of an organization than cognitive competencies. Companies have realized that IQ alone cannot predict an individual’s performance or success.
6.       Emotional intelligence is the most significant for successful project outcomes. Project managers must be emotionally intelligent.
7.       Research indicates that social and emotional skills are associated with successes in effective teaching, student learning, quality student-teacher relationships and academic performance.
8.       Physicians who are better at recognizing emotions of patients are more successful at treating them than their less sensitive counterparts.
9.       Executives who ‘derail’ are often seen as lacking emotional strength.
          Emotional intelligence influences job performance