Episode 1. Understanding emotional intelligence: How can it help you become a better analyst?

Categories Analyst's Life Insights

 

This is the first episode of a video series talking about psychology and analytics. In this video, we’re going to cover everything about emotional intelligence, the new buzzword that’s on everyone’s mind. What is emotional intelligence, how can it help you be a better analyst and how you can profit from it, with real life examples.

 

 

Read here the full transcript of the video:

 

Hello everyone, this is Jon, and welcome back to the Cognetik Blog.

 

Today is the first official video of the series, which is all about the intersection of digital analytics and psychology. What I want to do today is start out broad and I want to talk about a specific buzzword that’s been going around in our industry a lot. This buzzword is emotional intelligence.

 

Now, there is something really cool about the fact that everyone is seemingly talking about emotional intelligence. And what is cool about this is that they are spreading the news that emotional intelligence is important.

 

They’re talking about it, they’re saying it’s a pretty big deal, everyone needs to get on this bandwagon and if you become more emotionally intelligent, you’re going to be awesome.

 

And that is truly a good thing. In terms of this becoming a buzzword and becoming the new thing that everyone is doing in the industry. From that perspective it’s awesome, because they’re right: emotional intelligence is important.

 

However, as you can tell from the tone of my voice, there’s something not so awesome about this becoming a buzzword and a new thing in the industry…it’s not really new, it’s just becoming popular.

 

And the downside to that is that whenever anything becomes popular and anything becomes the new hit thing, there are a lot of people that just pop on the bandwagon, without really understanding what it is they’re talking about.

 

So, what I want to do today, is simply work on defining what is emotional intelligence. And, of course, I don’t have to do the work, because other people have defined it for me. So we’re just going to work through it, and we’re just going to explore what it means to have emotional intelligence, and also a few small application of how that fits into the digital analytics industry.

 

So, what is emotional intelligence? How we define emotional intelligence?

 

Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to identify and manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. So, if we break this down, there are two components and two audiences for the definition of emotional intelligence. The two components are managing and identifying.

 

Actually, it’s backwards, first identifying and then being able to manage emotions. So those are the two components of emotional intelligence.

 

However, there are also two audiences to the emotional intelligence. So, part of my ability to be emotional intelligence is my own ability to identify my emotions and manage my emotions.

 

But a different part of my emotional intelligence is my ability to identify the emotions in others and better manage the emotions of other people.

 

So what does that exactly mean, managing other people’s emotions: am I manipulating people, am I manipulating their emotions, am I a shoulder to cry on, am I allowing  a waterfall of emotions on me? No.

 

Managing other people’s emotions is not about manipulating them in any way. When we talked about identifying and managing other people’s emotions, really what we’re talking about, is at a fundamental level being able to empathize with someone, being able to understand someone, that comes in the identifying portion, and then, number two, being able to practically work with them in order to accomplish great results.

 

Let’s work through an example here, maybe I can paint a good picture of what this looks like.

 

I am an analyst, which means I look at a lot of data, and every once in a while I will get a bunch of people together and I’ll tell people my finding, my results. I’ll say “hey, I looked at all this stuff, I think that the business is doing poorly because of this, and this is what we got to do about it”.

 

Now, if my emotional intelligence were poor, which means I have a bad ability to identify and manage emotions, I would not be able to see and understand the people around this table.

 

And if anyone has ever presented more than once or twice, you’ll know that every single person coming into a room for a meeting is coming in with baggage, emotional baggage from the day: maybe someone had a really bad meeting beforehand, someone maybe got really bad news, someone stressed out because they just found out they have five more projects on their plate.

 

Whatever it is, everyone comes in with their own sort of bent. And If I’m not identifying their emotions, maybe one of them is just going to be very critical about my presentation and they’re going to nitpick every single little thing, “oh that’s wrong” or “oh that color should be this”, and it starts to ruin the presentation.

 

And if I have poor emotional intelligence, I’m not really going to be able to pick up what’s going on, I’d probably just get defensive maybe I’ll go like “who is this person, they’re ruining my presentation” and it’s likely not going to go well.

 

However, if I have a better defined emotional intelligence, and I have the ability to actually pick up on the specific emotions of the people in this room, maybe one person seemingly is very nitpicky, they’re super critical. If I have good emotional intelligence, I might be able to identify if this person is having a bad day, that this person is stressed out, they have a lot on their plate, and they’re taking it out on me essentially. If I’m able to do that, I’m going to perform differently in this meeting. I’m going to deliver my analysis differently and I’m going to speak to them differently.

 

And that’s not me attempting to manipulate them in any way, that’s simply me attempting to change my behavior for the benefit of this project, of this analysis.

 

So, again, emotional intelligence can apply to myself, can apply to my own ability to identify and manage emotion within myself, but also identify and manage emotion of others. Those are important, because we don’t live in a vacuum, we work with people all day long, we interact with people all day long and people have to interact with us.

 

So, identifying and managing emotions, both in ourselves and in others is a good skill to have.

 

So, that was a lot of explanation, but again, let’s recap and go back to the top: emotional intelligence is one’s ability to identify and manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. It is important to identify your own emotions, because you can be angry, you can be that person in the meeting, who just got 10 projects and now you’re super stressed out, and you can take it out on the people. And yet, if you’re able to identify and manage your own emotions, you’re actually able to temper that anger/ frustration, you’re able to rein it in and have some sort of regulations behind the emotions you’re expressing and you’re better able to treat people. And conversely, the other way round, if I have emotional intelligence I may be able to identify that in other people and I’m able to be more sensitive and probably more kind to that person, because I know there are other stuff going on in their life. So, hopefully that makes sense.

 

I want to make this a bit more practical, so if anyone’s out there wanting to learn more about emotional intelligence and what does it mean for me to grow my emotional intelligence, I highly recommend an HBR book, it’s called “On emotional intelligence”, by the Harvard Business Review, they always release amazing stuff, and this is no exception.

 

So, check it out, I’ve read it, it’s just a collection of small articles and it’s incredibly helpful if you want to talk about or learn about emotional intelligence from a high level.

 

There’s also another book, it’s actually on Daniel Goldman’s website, and it’s called “Performing under pressure” and I’m pretty sure they have a class that’s associated with this book, but even just reading this book I’m sure it would be great. I haven’t read that one, but if it’s endorsed by Daniel Goldman, I would feel totally comfortable to throw a recommendation out there.

 

So, get those books, get reading, learn more about emotional intelligence, cause it’s important.

 

Be on the lookout for new videos, I’m excited to talk about this more, this is just the beginning. Thanks for watching, and hopefully we’ll be seeing again soon.

I'm a Digital Analyst with an exuberant amount of passion for the digital analytics industry. I work with our analytics team to move clients out of reporting and into actionable insights. I believe in the power of measuring results and hope to one day integrate data-driven philosophies with the potential of social entrepreneurship.