Meditation and Yoga for Improving Emotional-Intelligence and Leadership Skills

Meditation and Yoga has an important role for building emotional-intelligence and leadership skills for corporate people as well as for the individuals in every social endeavor. Meditation and yoga improves our alertness, personal values and beliefs. They help building strength, character, good relationships with others, our connection to the Nature and beyond.  Emotional intelligence brings compassion, love, sharing, caring and humanity to the business and work areas.  We have all experienced how demanding and influential emotions can be! Meditation specially, Vipassana (mindfulness) meditation helps us to be elegant and tranquil with our feelings. Yoga helps us to improve our bodily intelligence. Body intelligence and emotional intelligence are deeply interlinked.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. When we have a high level of emotional intelligence we are capable to identify our own emotional states and the emotional states of others. Emotional intelligence covers self-awareness, self-management, corporate-emotional-awareness, social intelligence and relationship management.  It is normally said to consist of the following five skills:

  1. The ability to apply humor and play in challenging situations
  2. The ability to reduce stress and strain
  3. Emotional awareness, including the capacity to identify your own emotions and those of others;
  4. The ability to connect emotions for resolving conflicts and solve problems with clarity of mind.
  5. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

In 1998, Daniel Goleman published an article in HBR. He argued traditionally qualities that are associated with leadership—such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision— are insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Goleman observed direct relations between emotional intelligence and business results.

Principles for Managing Emotional Intelligence

The term emotional intelligence was first coined by John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey in the year 1990. Daniel Goleman proposed five principles for managing emotional intelligence. These are as follows :

  1. Perceiving emotions – The ability to detect and decode emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
  2. Using emotions – The ability to harness emotions to facilitate a variety of cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – The ability to comprehend emotion-language and to understand complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to become sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – The ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence and HappinessEmotional Intelligence can be improved by reducing the stress and tensions from the life. Whenever we are in stress, strain or tension our body releases adrenaline. Adrenaline is the cause of the “fight or flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces us to stand up and fight or run for shelter when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a monkey is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a rude email.  Anxiety and tensions position our brain and body into such hyper-aroused state, where our emotions overrun our behavior. Our self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced by the excessive and chronic release of adrenaline in the system. Excessive stress deprives the brain of the oxygen needed to keep our thinking calm and rational. Thus excessive stress reduces our emotional awareness. Hence, with chronic stress we can’t focus our attention and we lose our ability to identify our own emotions and those of others. Yoga and meditations are the great way to reduce tensions and anxiety and to improve emotional intelligence.