Soccology Sunday: Emotional Literacy – Intelligence with a Heart

Emotional literacy is a skill that helps us to improve our performance within personal and professional spaces. The term ‘emotional literacy’ was first used by Claude Steiner (1997), like emotional intelligence but requires more depth and responsibility, consisting of the below five points – 

  1. Knowing your feelings

  2. Having a sense of empathy, 

  3. Learning to manage our emotions

  4. Repairing emotional problems

  5. Putting it all together: emotional interactivity.

To be emotionally literate, is to be skilled at managing the five points effectively.

Why is emotional literacy important? Rapport, behaviour management and performance will flourish under those who are emotionally literate. Relationships flourish through the  richness of emotional literacy.

Rapport: If someone has a positive relationship with you, a connection whereby they feel safe and can trust you, they will be receptive to your instructions and go the extra mile.

Behaviour Management: Unfortunate behaviours do not always reflect intent, but are often judged and punished for intent. Exercising the 5 points helps you to understand the behaviour and empowers you to improve responses. This also feeds  into rapport, as this approach seeks to understand (with) and not to judge (against).

Performance: History has shown that when someone invests in another person, the recipient will feel obliged to be more productive on their mission to repay/not let the other person down. Installed motivation.

Here’s how you can use the five emotional literacy points to improve performance in your personal and professional life –

  1. Knowing your feelings – How does the persons behaviour make you feel and why? Are your feelings about your misjudgements and past experiences or the players behaviour?

  2. Having a sense of empathy – Why are they behaving this way (from their view of the world)? What is their intention?

  3. Learning to manage our emotions – Is your actions about you (your past) or the other person? In football – You don’t expect players to play like you, so should you expect them to feel like you? The role of the coach is to help the person (player) flourish so it’s important that all actions are geared towards that objective and not as a result of a reaction (mismanagement of feelings).

  4. Repairing emotional problems – A conversation where the player leads, helping the player through mistakes or where you apologise and take ownership for your error(s).

  5. Putting it all together: emotional interactivity. – This isn’t just about the big things, it’s about the small things too. Putting all points together makes you a person that people will respect, feel safe with and trust, enhancing your chances to get the best out of them.

Do want  a high standard of rapport, to improve behaviour management and performance? The days of command and control have long gone, management of the relationship is key and that starts with self! The 5 step framework gives you something to measure your behaviour against, so you can assess yourself along your journey of adaptation.