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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence for IT Support Specialists

A Brief History

After you have read the article, write an essay consisting of 250-300 words explaining why you think emotional intelligence is an important part of being an IT Support Specialist. How can emotional intelligence be used in everyday situations as an IT Support Specialist?
Be sure to use examples that reference information from the article, such as the four branches of emotional intelligence. You can use hypothetical scenarios to relay your points. Also, include at least one picture in your article. The picture doesn't have to relate exactly to your answer, but choose a picture that you think goes well with your submission.

History and Measures of Emotional Intelligence

The ability to express and control our emotions is essential, but so is our ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. Imagine a world in which you could not understand when afriend was feeling sad or when a co-worker was angry. Psychologists refer to this ability as emotionalintelligence, and some experts even suggest that it can be more important than IQ in your overall success in life.

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it's an inborn characteristic.

Since 1990, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer have been the leading researchers on emotional intelligence. In their influential article "Emotional Intelligence," they defined emotional intelligence as "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions."

A Brief History
Emotional intelligence as a term didn't come into our vernacular until around 1990. Despite being a relatively young term, interest in the concept has grown tremendously over the last 20 years.

Early Growth:
As early as the 1930s, however, the psychologist Edward Thorndike described the concept of "social intelligence" as the ability to get along with other people. During the 1940s, the psychologist David Wechsler proposed that different affective components of intelligence could play an important role in how successful people are in life.

Later Developments:
The 1950s saw the rise of the school of thought known as humanistic psychology, and thinkers such as Abraham Maslow focused greater attention on the different ways that people could build emotional strength. Another important concept to emerge in the development of emotional intelligence was the notion of multiple intelligences. This concept was put forth in the mid-1970s by Howard Gardner, introducing the idea that intelligence was more than just a single, general ability.


The Emergence of Emotional Intelligence:
It was not until 1985 that the term "emotional intelligence" was first used by in a doctoral dissertation by Wayne Payne. In 1987, an article published in Mensa Magazine, Keith Beasley uses the term "emotional quotient." Some suggest that this is the first published use of the phrase, although Reuven Bar-On claims to have used the term in an unpublished version of his graduate thesis. In 1990, psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer publish their landmark article, "Emotional Intelligence," in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality.

In 1995, the concept of emotional intelligence is popularized after the publication of psychologist and New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. The topic of emotional intelligence has continued to capture the public interest since, and has become important in fields outside of psychology including education and business.

Salovey and Mayer proposed a model that identified four different levels of emotional intelligence, including emotional perception, the ability to reason using emotions, the ability to understand emotion, and the ability to manage emotions.
1. Perceiving emotions: The first step in understanding emotions is to perceive them accurately. In many cases, this might involve understanding nonverbal signals such as body language and facial expressions.

2. Reasoning with emotions: The next step involves using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity. Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to; we respond emotionally to things that garner our attention.

3. Understanding emotions: The emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings. If someone is expressing angry emotions, the observer must interpret the cause of the person's anger and what it could mean. For example, if your boss is acting angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work, or it could be because he got a speeding ticket on his way to work that morning or that he's been fighting with his wife.

4. Managing emotions: The ability to manage emotions effectively is a crucial part of emotional intelligence and the highest level. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately, and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management. According to Salovey and Mayer, the four branches of their model are "arranged from more basic psychological processes to higher, more psychologically integrated processes. For example, the lowest level branch concerns the (relatively) simple abilities of perceiving and expressing emotion. In contrast, the highest level branch concerns the conscious, reflective regulation of emotion."

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