When Yale University researcher Marc Brackett addresses groups on emotional intelligence, he often asks, “In one word, how are you feeling today?” He finds that most people can discuss how they feel in a general sense, but reducing it to one word often poses a challenge.
Brackett created a “Mood Meter,” a four-color graphic to gauge one’s emotions and energy. The goal is to gain awareness of our prevailing emotions—and others’ emotions.
Through his research, Brackett and his team have identified five key skills—what he calls the RULER approach—that sharpen emotional intelligence:
- Recognize emotions. Acknowledge what you are feeling rather than denying or ignoring it.
- Understand the causes and consequences of certain emotions. Noting what triggers a given emotion—and how a feeling can contribute to positive or negative outcomes—adds another dimension of awareness.
- Label emotions. Expand the vocabulary you use to describe emotions.
- Express emotions in the appropriate social context. Knowing what’s appropriate helps leaders connect with others.
- Regulate emotions. Exerting control over your emotions facilitates stronger relationships. You can lead people to attain goals and work together more effectively by exhibiting appropriate emotion at the right time and place.
— Adapted from “From academics to application: University managers learn about emotional intelligence in the workplace,” working@yale.