Stephen Covey on Developing Emotional Intelligence
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” ? Oscar Wilde
Emotional Intelligence is essentially an ability, capacity, or skill to assess, manage, and regulate the emotions of yourself and others.
Why is emotional intelligence such a big deal? …
If you can’t manage your emotions, you crumble or snap under stress. If you can’t manage your emotions, you can’t motivate or inspire yourself effectively to do the things you need to do. If you can’t manage your emotions, you can’t use your best thinking. You get stuck in your lizard brain, and cut off from your ability to respond more effectively when it counts.
If you can’t tune into others’ emotions and demonstrate empathy, you’ll have a hard time connecting with others. You’ll have a hard time creating rapport. If you can’t see and feel the emotions of others, then you’ll have a hard time influencing or leading others effectively. As a manager, you’ll be the pointy-haired boss.
Yeah, emotional intelligence is a big deal.
It’s a key for leaders and it’s a key for leadership. Whether it’s self-leadership, or leading others, emotional intelligence picks up where other intelligence leaves off. To put it another way …
“”No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them.” (See The Only Management Strategy You’ll Ever Need)
In the book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, Stephen Covey acknowledges that there’s a lack of literature on how to develop emotional intelligence, and shares an approach for how to develop emotional intelligence using the 7 Habits.
The Five Primary Components of Emotional Intelligence
Stephen Covey shares the five primary components of emotional intelligence:
- Self-Awareness — The ability to reflect on one’s own life, grow in self-knowledge, and use that knowledge to improve onseself and either consume or compentsate for weaknesses.
- Personal Motivation — What really excites people — the vision, values, goals, hopes, desires, and passion that make up their priorities.
- Self-Regulation — The ability to manage onseself twoard achieving one’s vision and values.
- Empathy — The ability to see how other people see and feel about things.
- Social Skills — How people resolve differences, solve problems, produce creative solutions, and interact optimally to further their joint purposes.
The 7 Habits and Principles
According to Stephen Covey, here is a simple look at the 7 Habits and the principles that they encapsulate:
|Habit 1 – Be Proactive||Responsibility / Initiative|
|Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind||Vision / Values|
|Habit 3 – Put First Things First||Integrity / Execution|
|Habit 4 – Think Win-Win||Mutual Respect / Benefit|
|Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood||Mutual Understanding|
|Habit 6 – Synergize||Creative Cooperation|
|Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw||Renewal|
Developing Emotional Intelligence Using the 7 Habits
Stephen Covey shares an approach to developing emotional intelligence using the 7 Habits outlines above:
|Emotional Intelligence Component||Habit|
|Self-Awareness||Habit 1 – Be Proactive|
|Personal Motivation||Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind|
|Self-Regulation||Habit 3 – Put First Things First
Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw
|Empathy||Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood|
|Social Skills||Habit 4 – Think Win-Win
Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Habit 6 – Synergize
Practicing Your Emotional Intelligence with the 7 Habits
Here is a brief summary of how Stephen Covey says you can practice the 7 Habits to develop your emotional intelligence:
- Self-Awareness – Covey says, “You are aware of the space between stimulus and response, you’re aware of your genetic, biological inheritance, your upbringing, and the environmental forces around you. … You sense you are or can become the creative force of your own life. This is your most fundamental decision.” Practice Habit 1 – Be Proactive.
- Personal Motivation – Covey says, “… decide what your highest priorities, goals, and values are. … This decision to direct your own life is your primary decision.” Practice Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind.
- Self-Regulation – Covey says, “ … once you decide what your priorities are, then you live by them; it is the habit of integrity, the habit of self-mastery, of doing what you intend to do; of living your values. Then constantly renew yourself. Execution strategies and tactical decisions are your secondary decisions.” Practice Habit 3 – Put First Things First and Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw.
- Empathy – Covey says, “It’s learning to transcend your own autobiography and get into the head and hearts of other people. It’s becoming socially sensitive and aware of the situation before attempting to be understood, influence others, or make decisions or judgments.” Practice Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.
- Social Communication Skills – Covey says, “You think in terms of mutual benefit and mutual respect, you strive for mutual understanding in order to have creative cooperation.” Practice Habit 4 – Think Win-Win, Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood, and Habit 6 – Synergize.
One simple way you can practice each day is when you are talking. See if you can echo back what you hear the other person say, in a way that they “feel” heard. This is a big deal. It’s not listening until you think you’ve heard them … it’s listening in a way where they *feel* you’ve heard them.
The difference, is all the difference. That’s what this is about.
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