Our ability to monitor our own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide our thinking and actions, is called emotional intelligence (Salovey and Mayer, 1990). Reading the article “What Makes a Leader?” by Daniel Goleman, I had the idea to capture the five basic emotional intelligence skills in the form of iconic images. This sketch represents the first dimension of emotional intelligence, self-awareness. I hope these images will remind you to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, helping you to become a better leader and problem solver.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others. This is how I understand it.
The crown represents the six basic emotions: Happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger and sadness. It stands for the most important aspect of self-awareness: Our ability to turn our attention inwards to become aware of what we’re feeling.
The mirror stands for the ability to take a mental step back and look at our behaviour from a healthy distance. It’s the ability to go from “I am afraid!”, to “I am experiencing fear.”
The unbalanced scale bound by a circle stands for candor, the quality of being open and honest. Honest towards ourselves and others. The flames around the circle indicate that being frank, open and direct might get you into trouble in many work environments. But it’s the only way to make work a better place.
The water bottle stands for a thirst for constructive criticism. Only by listening to others, can we understand ourselves.
Self-awareness is sitting on a red blanket, representing our needs and drives. It often takes a lifetime to understand what we need to be happy. Incorporating our emotions into our decision process helps us to get there faster.
The tiger stands for self-confidence. Being aware of our weaknesses and strengths, we can focus our energy on things we’re good at or choose a project because we want to learn something new.
The crazy tie stands for one of the hallmarks of self-awareness. A self-depracating sense of humour. This is our ability to take our successes and defeats at work not too seriously.
I wish you a self-aware week at work. The next sketch will be about self-regulation. Stay tuned.