I began to think about emotional competence for public relations (PR) specialists some years ago when something related to that happened.
Public relations specialists in Nigeria should know that beyond hard skill competence, there is a need to master social skills, which are within the realm of emotional intelligence, to perform well on the job. To say it frontally, not many people really associate emotional intelligence with the practice of public relations. At least, the “Father” of emotional intelligence, Dr Daniel Goleman, obviously did not have public relations in mind when he proposed the emotional intelligence philosophy. But to succeed as a PR specialist, every PR person needs emotional intelligence in a double quantum.
You may ask what emotional intelligence is or is not. According to Wikipedia, emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ) is “the capability of individuals to recognise their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).”
The part that interests me most in this discussion is the ability to “adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).” The Institute for Health and Human Potential (IHHP) — a global research, leadership, learning and development organisation with a strong interest in emotional intelligence competence– sees emotional intelligence as the ability to “recognise, understand and manage our own emotions; recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others.”
Goleman in his seminal book, Emotional Intelligence, listed five broad components of emotional intelligence to include self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation. While self-awareness means the ability to understand one’s emotions and the impacts of one’s actions, moods, and emotions on other people, self-regulation simply means waiting for the right time, place and avenue to express one’s emotions appropriately. Appropriately is the word.
Social skills on the other hand involves the ability to interact and influence others through active listening, verbal means, non-verbal means, leadership methods, and persuasiveness. Empathy has to do with ability to understand how others are feeling and respond to people based on this information appropriately, or put oneself in other people shoes and treat others the same way one would have wanted to be treated in that shoe. It is the Golden Rule for human relationships. Finally, people who are emotionally intelligent are motivated by things beyond mere external rewards like fame, money and recognition, but by passion. Within those broad components are humility, honesty, self-confidence, conflict management skills, team capabilities and cooperativeness. To be continued…
Read concluding part next week