Emotional Intelligence in Radiology

August 5, 2015

The elements of emotional intelligence and how they apply to radiology.

Recently I have seen and read numerous articles on the subject of emotional intelligence (EI). I have found the topic interesting and, if improved, EI can benefit you and the workplace. So what is EI? Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathically. EI is considered a key to both personal and professional success. In addition, hiring people with a strong EI can benefit your departments. In multiple studies, EI has proven to be a stronger predictor of workplace success than IQ. You ask why; because everyone wants to work with individuals who are easy to get along with, trusted, pleasant and supportive!

There are four fundamental components of emotional intelligence and they are:

1. Self-awareness: This is how aware you are and how accurately you can recognize your emotions. Most of us are so occupied with the hustle and bustle of our day that we rarely stop and think about how we are responding to situations and how we are coming across to our peers and staff. To be effective when interacting with staff and our peers we need to be in the present. To improve self-awareness it is recommended to take time each day for reflection.. In addition, reach out and solicit feedback from people who will be honest and whose ideas you value. 

2. Self-management: This is the ability to control your emotions. Self-management also includes your adaptability, self-control, achievement drive, initiative, and optimism. Do you react rather than respond and go with knee-jerk reactions? If so, you need to improve on engaging the rational part of your brain and select the best responses. This is difficult and takes practice as one acts against what is natural.

3. Social awareness: This is comprised of three components: empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation. Are you empathic with others and try to understand their point of view and see things from their perspective? Organizational awareness refers to the ability to recognize the social and political dynamics in the workplace.  Service orientation is being in tune to the needs of our patients and meeting or exceeding those needs and expectations. 

4. Relationship management: How you develop others, serve as an inspirational and influential leader, are a catalyst for change, and manage conflict is part of relationship management. In addition, promoting teamwork with a collaborative approach is also part of this component of EI. Obviously, how we manage our relationships with the people (staff, peers, radiologist, administrative team) we work with is key to the success of our organizations and the departments we manage.

By being cognizant of the four components of EI and practicing their concepts we can improve interpersonal relationships, which can lead to improved staff and patient satisfaction.