I think that emotional awareness is the hardest element of being emotionally intelligent, as they are defined by Hughes and Terrell (p. 69-87). Without this awareness of what others and ourselves are feeling it is hard to be truly emotionally intelligent and work together as a team. Awareness allows the team to work together, especially in times of crisis and conflict, efficiently and productively. When a problem arises they know what they are feeling and what others are feeling allowing them to diffuse the situation or work out a solution to the problem that is satisfactory for everybody.
Last semester I was part of a team that was tasked with planning a hypothetical program for extension services. This team was together for a short duration with one specific purpose, designing the hypothetical program. Due to the fact that the team did not have a lot of time to spend of getting to know the other team members emotional awareness was necessary to be able to work together.
By being emotionally aware the team could work together efficiently and to put for the best possible product in the time allotted. There were times when each team member wanted the program to look differently and by being able to understand each other’s emotions the team was able to get to the heart of the problem and work out a compromise that worked for everyone. When team members wanted the program to look a certain way they had to be able to articulate what and why they were feeling that way. If they did not know how they felt about it they would not have been able to articulate their feelings about the issue and the team would have bogged down.
Being aware of yours and others emotions enables you to be more stress tolerant and to resolve conflicts much easier. It enables you to get to the bottom of the issue and work out a compromise. By being able to stop and consider the emotions behind the individuals responses the team can save a lot of time.
Emotional awareness is something that must be cultivated by each person. Each person must practice emotional awareness on themselves to understand what they are feeling in each situation. This often means that they have to stop and take a moment to reflect on what they are feeling. They must also figure out why they are feeling that way. Being aware of others emotions is usually harder but is accomplished in the same way. You must practice to get better. Through this practice you can begin to understand what motives and angers those around you enabling you to work with them in a more efficient and productive way.
Photo 1 Credit: http://the-gist.org/2014/01/emotional-vs-academic-intelligence-a-timetable-clash/
Photo 2 Credit: http://wallpaperjpeg.com/orange-emotions-face.html
Hughes M., Terrell, J., The emotionally Intelligent Team: Understanding and developing the behaviors of Success, Joseybass, 2007, print