Understanding Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability of being aware of personal emotions as well as the emotions of others while interacting with other people and considering these emotions to guide decisions. EI involves self-awareness, self-regulation, social-awareness and relationship management (Papadimos et al., 2016). In the health care setting, EI helps healthcare leaders to understand and motivate their teams. This essay describes how my EI level can either enhance or hinder effective leadership in the health care environment and discusses the results of the EI quiz taken.
EI can enhance effective leadership in the health care environment in several ways. To start with, EI can help a leader in the health care environment to understand and engage health care teams. Since the health care environment is highly demanding with little resources and often overwhelmed personnel, EI skills can enable a leader to assess the situation and the emotions of the team that he or she leads to engage the team in a productive manner. For example, if some of the team members are disgruntled or angry about a certain situation, reading this mood and assuring the team members that the issue will be addressed will help in getting the health care personnel to perform their roles as required. By understanding their emotions, the leader could also make the working environment more accommodative for the team members’ emotions.
Another way in which my EI skills could enhance leadership in the health care environment is through self-awareness. This involves being aware of the emotions of self and others and not letting these emotions interfere with work (Papadimos et al., 2016). For example, a leader might feel overwhelmed or anxious leading a team with little resources. Without EI, it is possible for such a leader to have emotional outbursts or take it out on the team members. However, being aware of these emotions could help in fostering the appropriate reaction in any difficult situation so that any negative behavior is avoided. Further, self-awareness can help me as a leader in the health care environment to understand my biases and prejudices and not allow them to interfere with my roles and duties as a leader.
EI skills could also help me to handle the pressures and difficulties that come with the challenging health care environment. According to Fernandez, Peterson, Holmstrom & Connolly (2012), physicians, nurses and other health care leaders encounter several challenging work situations. Most of these challenges involve misunderstandings and the inability to adequately understand one’s actions on others. However, EI could help a nurse leader to enhance his or her communication skills by considering the emotions of self and those of others thereby avoiding misunderstandings. In addition, being self-aware of my emotions and actions could help me as a nurse leader to understand the actual impact of my actions and reactions on other people.
EI skills could also enable me as a nurse leader to improve patient outcomes by setting the needed EI culture within my team. Leadership in the health care environment mostly involves coordinating and overseeing the efforts of an organization in providing care. Therefore, leaders are responsible for setting the EI culture; this is because how the leader addresses the emotions of others will impact the ability of team members to perform their roles. Hence, by setting the appropriate EI culture I will be able to boost staff morale and improve relationships with team members by motivating them and this enhances their ability to provide patient care as needed (Nightingale, Spiby, Sheen & Slade, 2018). Further, setting the EI culture can help to avoid disruptive behavior from team members whose emotions are ignored.
After completing the EI quiz, my score was 15/20 and this implies that I score better than average in accurately reading facial expressions. The quiz results also suggest that with more practice, I will be able to improve my emotion recognition skills. The quiz has helped me to understand the importance of paying more attention on the facial expressions of others by looking more closely in order to accurately understand what they are feeling. In the health care environment, one can be so overwhelmed that it gets difficult to pay much attention to what another person is trying to say through their facial expression. However, after taking the test, I now understand that failing to pay more attention to the facial expression of other people could lead to misunderstandings and even conflicts. I would therefore consider doing more practice to improve my emotion recognition skills.
In conclusion, my EI skills could enhance my leadership in the health care environment by increasing my ability to understand and engage my team members, increasing self-awareness and knowing the appropriate reaction, increasing the ability to handle the pressures and difficulties that come with the challenging health care environment including misunderstandings, and improving patient outcomes through setting an EI culture that boosts staff morale and relationships. My 15/20 score in the EI quiz shows that I am above average in accurately reading facing expressions and that this score could be further improved through more practice.