Communities and disability service workers spend their working lives interacting with people in many stressful and emotionally charged situations. Hence, these workers need to explore their own emotional intelligence and work at developing areas of weakness that may affect their ability to communicate effectively with clients.

To be an effective helper, you must have a good understanding of yourself. The grandfather of modern-day psychology, Sigmund Freud, endorsed the guiding philosophy of 'Know thyself' (from an inscription on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi): he felt that if we could understand ourselves, then we could have control in our lives.

To become self-aware is to know your strengths and weaknesses, your triggers, your beliefs and prejudices, your cultural heritage. Self-awareness is an essential underpinning skill in an effective communicator. Concepts such as emotional intelligence (EI) and tools like the Johari Window can help you understand yourself and the way you interact with others.

Emotional intelligence

The concept was introduced some years ago. Emotional intelligence (EI) is now seen as an essential quality in any good communicator. Steve Hein defined emotional intelligence as 'the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, learn from, manage and understand emotions' (Hein 2005).

The Johari Window

The Johari Window is a tool to help people examine themselves and how they present to the world. This tool shows a square, divided into four quadrants which represents all aspects of a person. The Johari Window helps you become aware of how much of yourself you actually know and how much you share with other people. It can help you recognise how you act in conflicts, because that is often where you find out some of the hidden aspects of yourself.

Last modified: Wednesday, 12 December 2018, 9:31 AM