Emotional Intelligence for IT Professionals

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By Emília M. Ludovino
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  1. What is Emotional Intelligence?

About this book

This book will help you discover your emotional quotient (EQ) through practices and techniques that are used by the most successful IT people in the world. It will make you familiar with the core skills of Emotional Intelligence, such as understanding the role that emotions play in life, especially in the workplace. You will learn to identify the factors that make your behavior consistent, not just to other employees, but to yourself. This includes recognizing, harnessing, predicting, fostering, valuing, soothing, increasing, decreasing, managing, shifting, influencing or turning around emotions and integrating accurate emotional information into decision-making, reasoning, problem solving, etc., because, emotions run business in a way that spreadsheets and logic cannot. When a deadline lurks, you’ll know the steps you need to take to keep calm and composed. You’ll find out how to meet the deadline, and not get bogged down by stress. We’ll explain these factors and techniques through real-life examples faced by IT employees and you’ll learn using the choices that they made. This book will give you a detailed analysis of the events and behavioral pattern of the employees during that time. This will help you improve your own EQ to the extent that you don’t just survive, but thrive in a competitive IT industry.

Publication date:
September 2017
Publisher
Packt
Pages
280
ISBN
9781787285798

 

Chapter 1. What is Emotional Intelligence?

In this chapter, we will learn what emotional intelligence is according to Salovey and Mayor's model of emotional intelligence. Why is this intelligence is so important in our personal and professional lives? Why is it important to know the difference between emotions and feelings and what are the five universal emotions? What triggers them, what actions do they enable, and how should we describe the intensity of the basic emotion? Therefore, we will cover:

  • The importance of emotional intelligence for IT professionals
  • Salovey and Mayor's emotional intelligence model
  • The difference between emotions and feelings
  • The five universal emotions
 

The importance of emotional intelligence for IT professionals


The influence of emotional intelligence on popular culture and the academic community has been rapid and widespread. While this has stimulated a great amount of research in domains such as psychology, neuroscience, biology, sociology and management, the swiftness with which the concept of emotional intelligence has caught on, inevitably created a gap between what we know and what we need to know. In March, 2015, in San Francisco, a group of emotional intelligence experts gathered during the fourth vitality emotional intelligence conference to discuss the importance of emotional intelligence in building teams and effective organizations, increasing employee loyalty and retention, and improving overall success.

The novelty of this conference was the amount of representatives from the tech area—Cisco, Google, Facebook, Zappo, Hewlett-Packard, and so on. Though tech companies still hire based on technical and intrapersonal skills in an attempt to find the most tech-savvy employee to come up with the next big thing, they have started to acknowledge that being tech savvy doesn't always mean good people skills. Evidence supports the belief that real success is achieved when people can play and work well with others on top of being smart and creative with technology. Knowing this new reality, these tech companies teamed up with emotional intelligence experts to train and coach their employees, their leaders, and adapt their corporate culture. The takeaway from the gathering of brilliant minds discussing the importance of emotional intelligence in the tech area was that tech companies are already using Emotional Intelligence skills to:

  • Build collaborative leaderships that create impact through people (Cisco)
  • Increase global sales (Hewlett-Packard)
  • Enable a manager with a skill set to help them to connect with people and lead with success (Zappo)
  • Develop tools to help social media users be more empathetic in their online communications, and combat cyber-bullying (Facebook)

Despite the good news, the majority of the tech companies around the world dismiss soft skills as a fringe benefit, preferring to hire based on technical skills. Maybe this is one of the reasons that so many tech leaders are increasingly being diagnosed as narcissists and bullies. They are highly valued, very good at what they do, and often highly paid, but the worst nightmare in a leadership position as they lack self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, social skills, and so on. A workplace is like any other social system - if you don't feel safe, secure, free to voice your view point or your ideas, cared about, or appreciated you will leave to another workplace or burn out. It is time to end the bias that emotions and technical sills cannot work in tandem. You are a human being, therefore, you have emotions and feelings, even if you are not aware of them. Your business is run by emotions—your own emotions, the emotions of your employees, co-workers, stakeholders, shareholders, and customers. The next big thing in the IT area is connected with Artificial Intelligence. And AI is the perfect symbiosis between data and emotions. Don't you think it is time to start learning and enhance the latter, before your smartphone knows more about emotional intelligence than you?

 

What is emotional intelligence?


Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions.

Salovey and Mayor, fathers of the concept of emotional intelligence, summarized in this way the ability to recognize and control our own emotions and behaviors—while remaining aware of the effect that these have on others around us. At the same time, you understand the emotional state of other people and use this emotional data to adapt your behavior to achieve the most positive response from them. You are just using emotional data to make sense and navigate the social environment you are in. By viewing emotions as useful sources of information, you are bringing together the wisdom of the limbic system and the rationality of the neocortex. Let's break Salovey and Mayor's definition into four branches: perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions.

Salovey and Mayor's Model of Emotional Intelligence

Perceiving emotions

Perceiving emotions;is the ability to identify one's own emotions and to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts.

Perceiving emotions is the base of the emotional intelligence pyramid. Without the ability to accurately perceive and identify emotions in physical states (including body expressions) and thoughts, none of the other skills can be developed. However, the ability to tell the difference between real and false emotions is considered an especially sophisticated perceiving ability when we are able to identify emotions in stimuli such as artwork and music using cues such as sound, appearance, and colors.

How can we begin to develop and improve the ability to perceive emotions? You can always begin by identifying your emotions. To identify your emotions, it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I know what am I feeling now?
  2. Can I label it, correctly?
  3. Do I know what am I feeling now?
  4. Do I feel this way often?
  5. At this time, is it appropriate to feel the way I feel?
  6. Did I properly express my feelings to others?

In identifying emotions in others, be aware of the following set of cues:

  • Look for facial expressions. Does their smile reflect what is going on with their eyes?
  • Be aware of tone, pitch, and pace in their voices. Are their voice and words consistent or inconsistent?
  • Look at the body language. Please note, that identifying only one cue can be misleading, that is why we strongly advise to always search for a set of three clues: body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice.

Using emotions

Using emotions is the ability to harness emotions to facilitate thinking such as deductive reasoning, attention to detail, problem solving, and mood adaptation.

What is the big advantage in using your emotions? Emotionally intelligent people can capitalize fully upon their changing moods in order to best fit the task they have at hand. When you understand which mood is the best for a particular type of thinking, then you can get in the right mood to enhance your thinking and influence others' emotions and the environment around you. For instance, would it be better to complete a task at hand to be in a good mood or in a sad mood? It depends on what you need to complete the task at hand. If you need to look for a solution to a problem and think out of the box, a happy positive mood is the best one. But, if you need to be focused on details to spot errors, a sad mood is your best adviser. Moods are long-lasting effects of a first emotion that trigger in us secondary related emotions, repeatedly, without any clear external trigger. A mood is influenced by your environment (weather, lighting, color, or people around you), by your physiology (what you have been eating, how you have been exercising, if you have a cold or not, how well you slept), by your thinking (where you are focusing your attention), and by your current emotions. A mood can last for minutes, hours, or even days and they are more generalized. They are tied to a collection of inputs not to a specific incident. Ready to learn how different moods affect our thinking?

  • A happy mood or a positive vibe are very helpful when you need to do the following:
    • Big picture thinking: A happy mood expands your thinking and allows you to think outside the box, because it stimulates creative and innovative thinking. This top-down method of thinking helps with your inductive reasoning.
    • Brainstorm: When brainstorming, you need to be energized so that you can be more creative in developing new ideas, generate new solutions, and make better decisions—which, in turn, motivates you and your team. The downside of thinking when in a positive or happy mood is that we tend to make more mistakes in problem-solving. Use it with care.
  • A sad mood is very helpful when you need to do the following:
    • Stay focused and do detailed thinking: When we are sad or feeling negative we pay more attention, focus on details, and search for and spot more errors. Being in a slightly sad mood helps people conduct careful, methodical work. This bottom up method of thinking helps with your deductive reasoning.
  • A fearful mood is very helpful when you need to do the following:
    • Be motivated: Fear is a survival mechanism that motivated our ancestors by signalling danger. When we are evaluating possible problems and considering worst-case scenarios, it helps to be in a bit of a fearful mood rather than in a happy mood.
  • An angry mood is very helpful when you need to do the following:
    • Right a wrong: Someone lacking any skills in emotional intelligence will be immediately emotionally hijacked when feeling angry. However, for the emotionally intelligent person, anger helps focus on fixing the wrongdoing instead of losing your head.
  • A guilty, shameful, or embarrassing mood is very helpful when you need to do the following:
    • Maintaining appropriate conduct: Shame and guilt make you apologize when you engage in bad behaviors, which helps you to keep on the right track. Shame and embarrassment help avoid fights since it is more difficult for someone to stay angry with you, if they are feeling shame or embarrassment.

Understanding emotions

Understanding emotions is the ability to comprehend emotional language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions.

Understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations in one emotion only, for instance, know the difference between feeling happy and feeling ecstatic. And to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time, for instance, how shock can turn into grief. The ability to understand emotions is the most cognitive, or thinking-related of the four branches of emotional intelligence and it is based on four underlying principles. The four principles to understand emotions are:

  • Emotions have heir own vocabulary: For example, feeling melancholy is not the same thing as feeling sad, or feeling disappointed is not the same thing as feeling angry. A basic skill in understanding emotions is our ability to accurately label how we are feeling at any given moment as the first step to understand and manage our emotional states. That is why it is so important to enhance your emotional literacy and learn an emotional vocabulary.
  • Emotions have underlying causes: Salovey and Mayor, the fathers of the concept of emotional intelligence used a mathematical formula to explain that any given emotion has an underlying cause they are not random events: Event X = Emotion Y
  • Emotions are complex: Plutchik built the wheel of emotions with the purpose of helping us understand that the six basic emotions when mixed can create a new myriad of emotions that can be similar, opposite emotions, or combined. We often use the term bittersweet to refer to a moment or an event that is simultaneously happy and sad.

  • Emotions change according to set of rules: You can predict why you or others around you are feeling in a certain way and what will happen next. For example, if a solution architect is feeling content when his development team approved the artifact that he designed to solve a specific problem, it is easy to predict he will feel happy with the results.

Managing emotions

Managing emotions is the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others, to attain specific goals.

Managing our emotions does not mean we shut down or try to suppress the way we feel. It is exactly the opposite. We stay open to our feelings, even if they are unpleasant. Since emotions contain information, managing our emotions means that we can assimilate our emotional data into our thinking process. An effective emotional management of our emotions is not a question of whether you should strive to control how you feel but rather of understanding how you can, safely, engage and disengage from your emotional states. It is not enough to be aware of what you are feeling. You also need to consider the following:

  • The clarity and strength of the feeling
  • How the feeling is affecting your thoughts
  • How often do you feel this way
  • Is this feeling typical or unusual, in you
 

The difference between emotions and feelings


Emotions and feelings are two entirely different brain processes, though they are often spoken of as being one and the same. Often, but not always, the emotional activation of the brain is over by the time the conscious recognition of the feeling begins. Why is it important that you know the difference between emotions and feelings, anyway?

You should be concerned in learning the difference between the two because the way you behave in this world is the end result of your feelings and emotions. Knowing the difference gives you a better understanding of not only yourself but of the people around you. To control an emotion we need the feeling—we need the conscious awareness of the emotion manifested through the feeling. Unfortunately, due to a lack of emotional education throughout our lives, the majority of our emotional reactions are unconscious for us. How can we control something by reason when we do not even know what is happening? Let's learn the difference between an emotion and a feeling, so that you can start to be more consciously aware of your emotional reactions.

What are emotions?

Emotions are chemicals released in our brain in response to our interpretation of a specific trigger. It takes our brain about 1/4 second to identify the trigger and about another 1/4 second to produce the chemicals. The emotional chemicals are released throughout our bodies, not just in our brain, and they form a kind of feedback loop between our brain and body. They last for about six seconds.

We can say that emotions are lower-level responses occurring in the subcortical regions of the brain—the amygdala and the prefrontal cortices—creating biochemical reactions in your body and altering your physical state. Originally, they helped our species survive by producing quick reactions to threats. Emotional reactions are coded in our genes. In the workplace, an angry tone of voice from your boss represents for you a threat—triggering the fear of being fired. Emotions precede feelings, are physical, and instinctual. Because they are physical, they can be objectively measured by blood flow, brain activity, facial microexpressions, and body language. When you encounter a stranger, you may have a range of sensations such as curiosity or fear. When you give that stranger a name, it becomes a significant symbol of meaning. It is through this process that emotions become attached to every object in the universe. When some object is given a name, it not only becomes a thing, it also becomes something of meaning. Emotions establish our attitude toward reality and provide your drive for all of the life's pleasures. Additionally, these emotions are connected to our biological systems and are designed to alert us of danger, or to draw us to something pleasurable. Intense emotions such as the ones that help us survive a threat, are intense but temporary. They are far too stressful to our body. The constant stress would eventually lead to some very serious physical and mental ailments.

What are feelings?

A feeling is a mental portrayal of what is going on in your body when you have an emotion. It is the by-product of your brain perceiving and assigning meaning to the emotion. Feelings are the next thing that happen after having an emotion. They originate in the neocortical regions of the brain, are mental associations and reactions to emotions, and are subjective, being influenced by personal experience, beliefs, and memories.

Feelings are sparked by emotions and colored by the thoughts, memories, and images that have become subconsciously linked with that particular emotion for you. However, it works the other way around too. For example, just by thinking about something that you feel is threatening to you, an emotional fear response is triggered. While individual emotions are temporary, the feelings they evoke may persist and grow over a lifetime. Because emotions cause subconscious feelings, which in turn initiate emotions and so on, your life can become a never-ending cycle of painful and confusing emotions, which produce negative feelings that cause more negative emotions without you ever really knowing why—if you don't improve your self-awareness. While basic emotions are instinctual and common to us all, the meanings they take on and the feelings they prompt are individually based on our programming, past and present. Feelings are shaped by a person's temperament and experiences and vary greatly from person to person and situation to situation.

Your emotions and feelings play a powerful role in how you experience and interact with the world because they are the driving force behind many behaviors guided by unconscious fear-based perceptions. Living unaware like this almost always leads to problems and unhappiness, in the long run. As the objects in your world induce emotions within you, they are collected in the subconscious and begin to accumulate. This is especially so when similar events are repeatedly experienced. Ultimately, they form a final emotional conclusion about life, how to live it, and more importantly, how to survive physically and mentally in a world of chaos. When this happens, a feeling is born. Once feelings are established, they are often fed back into your emotions to produce the appropriate result to ensure survivability. Feelings are products of emotions. But unlike short-term, intense emotions, feelings are low-key, stable, and sustained over time.

 

The five universal emotions plus calm


Researchers agree that all humans, no matter where or how we are raised, have in common five universal emotions - anger, disgust, enjoyment, fear, sadness. And I would like to add calm to the five universal emotions. Because, a calm, balanced frame of mind helps us understand our changing emotions. We can reach calmness by developing an awareness of our emotions: what triggers them, how we experience them, and how we can respond constructively. Let's learn the states/intensity, actions, and the most common triggers of the five universal emotions.

States of anger

Anger can be felt mildly, extremely, or somewhere in between. The least intense state of anger is annoyance and can progressively escalate to frustration, exasperation, argumentativeness, bitterness, vengefulness, and fury. The following figure shows a graph of each state of anger and its intensity:

States of Anger

The states of anger are as follows:

  • Annoyance: This is a very mild anger caused by a nuisance or inconvenience. The possible actions resulting from annoyance are suppression, passive-aggression, simmer/brood. The first action is ambiguous as it could either be a useful response to the emotion or it could cause harm. The last two are destructive as they cause harm.
  • Frustration: This is a response to repeated failures in overcoming an obstacle. The possible actions resulting from frustration are the three mentioned earlier plus insult, quarrel, scream/yell, undermine. The action of suppressing frustration is an ambiguous action. All the other actions are destructive.
  • Exasperation: This is anger caused by a repeated or strong nuisance. The possible actions resulting from exasperation are all the ones mentioned earlier plus dispute. Suppressing exasperation is an ambiguous action. All the other ones are destructive actions.
  • Argumentativeness: This is a tendency to engage in disagreements. The possible actions resulting from argumentativeness are suppress, insult, quarrel, simmer/brood, undermine. Suppressing an argument is an ambiguous action; it could be useful or cause harm. All the other actions are destructive.
  • Bitterness: This is anger after unfair treatment. The possible actions resulting from bitterness are suppress, passive-aggressive, dispute, insult, scream/yell, simmer/brood, undermine. Suppressing bitterness is an ambiguous action; it could be useful or cause harm. All the other actions are destructive.
  • Vengefulness: The desire to retaliate after one is hurt. The possible actions resulting from vengefulness are dispute, insult, quarrel, scream/yell, simmer/brood, suppress, undermine, or using physical force; all the actions are destructive.
  • Fury: This is uncontrolled and often violent anger. The possible actions resulting from fury are insult, quarrel, scream/yell, simmer/brood, suppress, undermine, or use physical force; all the actions are destructive.

Actions of anger

The possible actions resulting from any of the states/intensity of anger as mentioned previously are shown in the following figure:

Actions of Anger

We will now see what they represent:

  • Dispute: This means disagreeing in a manner that may escalate the conflict
  • Passive-aggressive: This means taking indirect actions that have an angry undercurrent
  • Insult: This involves belittling an other person in an offensive or hurtful way that is likely to escalate the conflict rather than resolve it
  • Quarrel: This involves verbally opposing in a manner intended to escalate the disagreement
  • Scream/Yell: This involves losing control of one's speech, speaking loudly, and possibly at a higher pitch
  • Simmer/Brood: This involves expressing your anger by sulking
  • Suppress: This involves trying to avoid feelings or acting upon the emotion that is being experienced
  • Use physical force: This involves harming or trapping someone
  • Undermine: This is when we take action to make someone or something weaker or less effective, usually in a secret or gradual way

Triggers of anger

The most common universal triggers of anger are as follows:

  • Interference with locomotion
  • Interference with action
  • Rejection by a loved one

Everyone has the same universal triggers as we are born with them. They affect us more intensely than learned triggers. The following figure shows the different triggers of anger:

Triggers of Anger

The most common learned triggers in anger are as follows:

  • Being wrongfully accused
  • Being put down by an authoritative figure
  • Encountering offensive beliefs
  • Inefficiency or bureaucracy

Learned triggers can be part of your culture or highly personal and created by your individual experiences.

States of enjoyment

Enjoyment can be felt mildly, extremely, or somewhere in between. The least intense state of enjoyment is sensory pleasure that can progressively, escalate to rejoicing, compassion/joy, amusement, schadenfreude, relief, peace, pride, fiero, naches, wonder, excitement, and ecstasy. The following figure shows a graph of each state of enjoyment and its intensity:

States of Enjoyment

Now we will see what each of them represent:

  • Sensory pleasure: This refers to enjoyment derived through one of the five physical senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The possible actions resulting from this state are savor and seek more—both actions are constructive actions as they are useful responses to the emotion felt.
  • Rejoicing: This refers to a warm, uplifting feeling that people experience when they see acts of human goodness, kindness, and compassion. It is also called elevation. The possible actions resulting from this state are savor, seek more, exclaim, engage/connect, and indulge. The first four actions are constructive actions as they are useful responses to the emotion felt. Indulge in rejoicing is ambiguous as it could either be a useful response to the emotion or it could cause harm.
  • Compassion/joy: This refers to the enjoyment of helping to relieve another person's suffering. The possible actions resulting from this state are engage/connect, savor, seek more, and exclaim. All four actions are constructive actions as they are useful responses to the emotion felt.
  • Amusement: This involves light, playful feelings of enjoyment and good humor. The possible actions resulting from this state are engage/connect, exclaim, maintain, seek more, and indulge. The first four actions are constructive actions as they are useful responses to the emotion felt. Indulge in amusement is ambiguous as it could either be a useful response to the emotion or it could cause harm.
  • Schadenfreude: (a German word) This involves enjoyment of the misfortunes of another person, usually a rival. The possible actions resulting from this state are engage/connect, exclaim, gloat, maintain and seek more. All the five actions are destructive actions as they could cause harm.
  • Relief: This is when something is expected to be unpleasant, especially the threat of harm, but is avoided or comes to an end. The possible action resulting from this state is exclaim, which is a constructive action.
  • Peace: This is an experience of ease and contentment. The possible actions resulting from this state are engage/connect and maintain—both constructive actions.
  • Pride: This involves deep pleasure and satisfaction derived from one's own achievements or the achievements of an associate. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek more, engage/connect, exclaim, indulge and savor—the action of seeking more pride is a constructive action, though, all the remaining actions are ambiguous.
  • Fiero: (an Italian word) This is an enjoyment of meeting a difficult challenge. The possible actions resulting from this state are maintain, seek more, engage/connect, indulge, savor, and gloat—the action of maintaining fiero is a constructive action, though gloat fiero is a destructive action as it could cause harm and the other actions are ambiguous.
  • Naches: (a Yiddish word) This involves joyful pride in the accomplishments of one's children or mentees. The possible actions resulting from this state are engage/connect, exclaim, savor and gloat; the first three actions are ambiguous and gloat is a destructive action.
  • Wonder: This is an experience of something that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, or hard to believe. The possible actions resulting from this state are engage/connect, exclaim, savor, seek more, and indulge; the first four actions are constructive actions. Indulge in wonder is an ambiguous action.
  • Excitement: This is a powerful enthusiasm. The possible actions resulting from this state are engage/connect, exclaim, maintain, seek more, and indulge; the first four actions are constructive actions. Indulge in excitement is an ambiguous action.
  • Ecstasy: This is rapturous delight. A state of very great happiness, nearly overwhelming. The possible actions resulting from this state are maintain, savor, and indulge; the first two actions are constructive actions. Indulge in ecstasy is an ambiguous action.

Actions of enjoyment

The possible actions resulting from any of the states/intensity of enjoyment are shown in the following figure:

Actions of Enjoyment

We will now see what they represent:

  • Exclaim: This is when you vocally express enjoyment to others
  • Engage/Connect: This is when you share your feelings of enjoyment with others without a desire to cause jealousy
  • Gloat: This is when you enjoy other people's envy of your state of enjoyment
  • Indulge: This is when you allow yourself to fully experience the pleasure of good feelings
  • Maintain: This is when you continue to do what is necessary in order to continue the enjoyable feelings
  • Savor: This is when you appreciate the good feelings around an experience completely, especially by dwelling on them
  • Seek more: This is when you attempt to increase the enjoyable feelings

Triggers of enjoyment

The most common universal triggers of enjoyment are as follows:

  • Spending time with family
  • The taste of chocolate cake
  • Places associated with enjoyable memories
  • Playing a sport

Everyone has the same universal triggers as we are born with them. They affect us more intensely than learned triggers. The following figure shows the different triggers of enjoyment:

Triggers of Enjoyment

The most common learned triggers in enjoyment are as follows:

  • Social interaction
  • Helping others
  • Sensory experience of nature

Learned triggers can be part of your culture or highly personal and created by your individual experiences.

States of fear

Fear can be felt mildly, extremely, or somewhere in between. The least intense state of fear is trepidation; this can progressively escalate to nervousness, anxiety, dread, desperation, panic, horror, and terror. The following figure shows a graph of each state of fear and its intensity:

States of Fear

We will now see what each of them represents:

  • Trepidation: This involves the anticipation of the possibility of danger. The possible actions resulting from this state are hesitate, ruminate, and worry; the first action is a constructive action, though the last two are destructive actions.
  • Nervousness: This involves an uncertainty as to whether there is a danger. The possible actions resulting from this state are hesitate, ruminate, and worry; the first action is a constructive action, though the last two are destructive actions.
  • Anxiety: This is a fear of an anticipated or actual threat and uncertainty about one's ability to cope with it. The possible actions resulting from this state are hesitate, freeze, withdraw, ruminate, and worry; the first action is a constructive action. Freeze and withdraw are ambiguous actions and the last two are destructive.
  • Dread: This involves an anticipation of severe danger. The possible actions resulting from this state are freeze, withdraw, ruminate, scream/yell, and worry. Freeze, withdraw, and scream are ambiguous actions. Ruminate and worry are destructive
  • Desperation: This is a response to the inability to reduce danger. The possible actions resulting from this state are avoid, freeze, hesitate, ruminate, and scream/yell. Ruminate is a destructive action when we feel desperate. All the other actions are ambiguous.
  • Panic: This involves sudden uncontrollable fear. The possible actions resulting from this state are freeze, scream/yell, withdraw, ruminate, and worry. The last two actions are destructive. All the others are ambiguous.
  • Horror: This involves a mixture of fear, disgust, and shock. The possible actions resulting from this state are: freeze, scream/yell, withdraw - all the actions are ambiguous.
  • Terror: This involves an intense overpowering fear. The possible actions resulting from this state are freeze, scream/yell, and withdraw.

Actions of fear

The possible actions resulting from any of the aforementioned states/intensity of fear are shown in the following figure:

Actions of Fear

We will see what each of these represents:

  • Avoid: This involves either physically staying away from the threat or keeping yourself from thinking about it
  • Freeze: This is when you become incapable of acting or speaking
  • Hesitate: This is when you hold back in doubt or indecision, often momentarily
  • Ruminate: This is when you obsessively think about a past emotional experience
  • Scream/yell: This is when you lose control of your speech and cry out in a loud and high voice
  • Withdraw: This is when you physically or mentally leave the scene of the threat.
  • Worry: This is when you anticipate the possibility of harm

Triggers of fear

The most common universal triggers of fear are as follows:

  • Public speaking
  • Thunder
  • Threat of losing a job

Everyone has the same universal triggers as we are born with them. They affect us more intensely than learned triggers. The following figure shows the different triggers of fear:

Triggers of Fear

The most common learned triggers in fear are as follows:

  • Snake-like shapes
  • Threat to safety
  • Sudden loss of gravity
  • Imminent bodily impact

Learned triggers can be part of your culture, or highly personal and created by your individual experiences.

States of sadness

Sadness can be felt mildly, extremely, or somewhere in between. The least intense state of sadness is disappointment; this can progressively escalate to discouragement, distraughtness, resignation, helplessness, hopelessness, misery, despair, grief, sorrow, and anguish. The following figure shows a graph of each state of sadness and its intensity:

States of Sadness

We will see what each of these represent:

  • Disappointment: This is the feeling that expectations are not being met. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, mourn, feel ashamed, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is a constructive action. Mourn is ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Discouragement: This is a response to repeated failures to accomplish something—the belief that it can't be done. The possible actions resulting from this state are protest, seek comfort, mourn, ruminate, withdraw. Protest and seek comfort are constructive actions. Mourn is ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Distraughtness: This involves sadness and makes it hard to think clearly. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, protest, feel ashamed, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Protest is ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Resignation: This is the belief that nothing can be done. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, protest, withdraw, feel ashamed, mourn, ruminate. Seek comfort is constructive. Protest is ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Helplessness: This is the realization that one cannot make a situation better or easier. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, protest, withdraw, feel ashamed, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Protest is ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Hopelessness: This is the belief that nothing good will happen. The possible actions resulting from this state are: seek comfort, mourn, feel ashamed, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Mourn is ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Misery: This is a strong feeling of suffering or unhappiness. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, mourn, protest, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Mourn and protest are ambiguous and the last two actions are destructive.
  • Despair: This involves the loss of hope that a bad situation will improve or change. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, mourn, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Mourn is ambiguous and the last two actions are destructive.
  • Grief: This involves sadness over a deep loss. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, mourn, protest, feel ashamed, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Mourn and protest are ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Sorrow: This involves a feeling of distress and sadness, often caused by a loss. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, mourn, feel ashamed, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Mourn is ambiguous and all the other actions are destructive.
  • Anguish: This involves intense sadness or suffering. The possible actions resulting from this state are seek comfort, mourn, protest, ruminate, withdraw. Seek comfort is constructive. Mourn and protest are ambiguous and the last two actions are destructive.

Actions of sadness

The possible actions resulting from any of the states/intensity of sadness mentioned earlier are shown in the following figure:

Actions of Sadness

We will now see what they represent:

  • Feel ashamed: This is when you feel embarrassed about the loss
  • Mourn: This is when you express grief for your loss through actions, dress, and speech
  • Protest: This is when you object to the loss
  • Ruminate: This is when you obsessively think about the emotional experience
  • Seek comfort: This is when you seek help or support from others
  • Withdraw: This is when you either physically stay away from what is triggering the sadness or keep yourself from thinking about it

Triggers of sadness

The most common universal triggers of sadness are:

  • Losing a loved one
  • Being rejected by someone important

Everyone has the same universal triggers as we are born with them. They affect us more intensely than learned triggers. The following figure shows the different triggers of sadness:

Triggers of Sadness

The most common learned triggers in sadness are:

  • Perceiving a loss of status
  • Not being invited to a party
  • Losing a treasured belonging

Learned triggers can be part of your culture, or highly personal and created by your individual experiences.

States of disgust

Disgust can be felt mildly, extremely, or somewhere in between. The least intense state of disgust is dislike that can progressively, escalate to aversion, distaste, repugnance, revulsion, abhorrence, loathing. The following figure shows a graph of each state of disgust and its intensity:

States of Disgust

We will now see what they represent:

  • Dislike: This involves a preference against something. The possible actions resulting from this state are withdraw, avoid, and dehumanize. The first two actions are ambiguous. The last one is destructive.
  • Aversion: This involves an impulse to avoid something disgusting. The possible actions resulting from this state are avoid, withdraw, and dehumanize. Avoid is constructive. Withdraw is ambiguous. Dehumanize is destructive.
  • Distaste: This involves a reaction to a bad taste, smell, thing, or idea. It can be literal or metaphorical. The possible actions resulting from this state are avoid, vomit, and withdraw. Avoid and vomit are constructive. Withdraw is ambiguous.
  • Repugnance: This involves a strong distaste for something, often a concept or idea. The possible actions resulting from this state are withdraw, avoid, and dehumanize. Withdraw and avoid are ambiguous. Dehumanize is destructive.
  • Revulsion: This involves a mixture of disgust and loathing. The possible actions resulting from this state are avoid, vomit, withdraw, and dehumanize. Avoid and vomit are constructive. The last two are destructive.
  • Abhorrence: This involves a mixture of intense disgust and hatred. The possible actions resulting from this state are avoid, withdraw, and dehumanize. Avoid is constructive. The last two are destructive.
  • Loathing: This involves intense disgust focused on a person. Intense disgust focused on oneself is called self-loathing. The possible actions resulting from this state are withdraw, avoid, and dehumanize. All of them are destructive.

Actions of disgust

The possible actions resulting from any of the states/intensity of disgust mentioned earlier are shown in the following figure:

Actions of Disgust

We shall now see what they represent:

  • Avoid: This is when you either physically stay away from whatever is triggering the disgust or keep yourself from thinking about it
  • Dehumanize: This is when you treat someone as though he or she is not a human being—you deprive someone of human qualities, personality or spirit
  • Vomit: This is when you respond to feelings of disgust by throwing up
  • Withdraw: This is when you physically or mentally leave the scene of what is triggering the disgust

Triggers of disgust

The most common universal triggers of disgust are as follows:

  • Rotting or decay
  • Anything coming out of the body

Everyone has the same universal triggers as we are born with them. They affect us more intensely than learned triggers. The following figure shows the different triggers of disgust:

Triggers of Disgust

The most common learned triggers in disgust are as follows:

  • Eating insects or raw meat
  • Unfamiliar religious customs
  • Fans of an opposing sports team

Learned triggers can be part of your culture, or highly personal and created by your individual experiences.

Though, the five emotions we just learned are the ones that the scientific community accepts as being universal—independently of the culture—two of the pioneer researchers in the field of emotions, the psychologists Paul Ekman and Robert Plutchik, after more than four years of field research across cultures worldwide decided to add more emotions to the five universal emotions that we have covered. Paul Ekman identifies six basic emotions and Robert Plutchik eight basic emotions. Both of them use the five universal emotions as a basis for their work.

Paul Ekman understands that the core of human emotions are: joy (happiness), surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear. All the other emotions radiate from these basic core universal emotions as we can see in the following figure:

Paul Ekman´s Six Core Universal Emotions

Robert Plutchik´s wheel of emotions is based in eight primary emotions—joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and anticipation—and uses a color wheel to help visualize the spectrum of emotions and how emotions relate to each other from the viewpoint of intensity, complementary emotions and contrasting emotions, as we can see in the following figure. If your figure is in greyscale and you cannot see the colors you can color the image—coloring is a very relaxing way to meditate. Choose your eight basic colors and imagine an explosion of colors going from the strong brightness in the core center and dissipating its intensity in softer tones towards the edges. It is the same with the emotions, the strong emotion at the core, dissipating intensity towards the edge.

Plutchik´s Wheel of Emotions

 

Summary


In this chapter, we covered why emotional intelligence is important for IT professionals, Salovey and Mayor's emotional intelligence model, the main difference between emotions and feelings, the five universal emotions common to all cultures. Therefore, you have learned that tech companies are already using EI skills to build collaborative leaderships that create impact through people, increase global sales, providing managers with a skill set to help them connect to people and lead with success and even develop tools to help social media users be more empathetic in their online communications, and thus combat cyber bullying.

You have learned that according to the Salovey and Mayor's model, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions. You learned that these four branches of emotional intelligence work together, what they are and how to enhance them.

You learned what emotions and feelings are and the difference between them. Emotions and feelings are two entirely different brain processes, but we need feelings to control emotion.

You have learned that all humans, no matter where or how they are raised, have in common five universal emotions—anger, disgust, enjoyment, fear, and sadness.

You have learned that each of the five universal emotions has several states depending on the intensity of the emotion and that each state of the emotion is correlated with specific actions that can have a constructive or destructive outcome on your life. You now understand the most common emotional triggers of each emotion and whether they are universal triggers or learned triggers and also learned how secondary and tertiary emotions radiate from the core emotions according to Paul Ekman and Robert Plutchik.

In the next chapter, you will learn the basics of neuroscience behind the most important competencies of emotional intelligence. You will know how the brain processes our emotional data, understands the role of emotions in self-awareness, self-control, change in behavior and defeating thoughts, manages stress, improves decision-making, builds strong and meaningful relationships. You cannot master the emotional intelligence competencies without mastering the basic knowledge behind it.

About the Author

  • Emília M. Ludovino

    Emília M. Ludovino is an Amsterdam-based international Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Master Practitioner of NLP, Reiki Master/Teacher, lifetime practitioner of mindfulness and meditation, author of six books about emotional intelligence, and founder of the SMART FEELINGS LAB.

    Emília was an Emotional Intelligence Trainer, Coach at UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research), and an independent trainer, coach, mentor, and consultant worldwide for law firms, law enforcement, private banking, NGOs, hospitals, IT companies, entrepreneurs, and so on.

    Emília puts emotional intelligence into practice by teaching the difference between thoughts, feelings, and actions with passion and humor—and how these three interact and affect us. She helps participants establish an inner foundation and vision for all dimensions of life and find the necessary balance between the challenges of a hectic career and the inner longing for peace and wellbeing.

    She helps people find balance in their lives; stop feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious; respond not react; feel confident; and develop their communication and leadership skills, and their relationships.

    Her aim is to take emotional intelligence to many people as possible, wherever they call her, to support individuals, companies, and communities to flourish and create ripples of awareness, love, compassion, and respect for each other's differences, making a better world.

    Browse publications by this author

Latest Reviews

(2 reviews total)
Das bestellte Buch ist voller Rechtschreib- und Kommafehler und holpriger Formulierungen. Inhaltlich ist es interessant und nützlich, aber aufgrund der vielen Orthografiefehler erweckt es einen eher zwiespältigen Eindruck. Zum Teil hat es sogar inhaltliche Fehler drin, oder ganze Sektionen wurden vertauscht. Beispiel im Kapitel "Triggers of enjoyment": „The most common universal triggers of enjoyment are as follows: Spending time with family The taste of chocolate cake“ Ich glaube kaum, dass ein Schokokuchen ein auf jeden Menschen zutreffender Auslöser von Glücksgefühlen ist. Hier scheint die ganze Liste mit den nachfolgend aufgelisteten "Learned Triggers" vertauscht worden zu sein. Ich habe seit Jahren kein Buch mehr gelesen, bei dem ich auf soviele Fehler gestossen bin.
Verrassend & interessant onderwerp

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