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Critical Thinking Styles Emotional

Using Different Emotional Intelligence Styles

October 5, 2012 by Dr. Jon Warner in Emotional Intelligence

Some people believe that having emotional intelligence is a skill to be learned or is about developing some particular competencies such as listening more attentively or showing greater empathy for example. However, there are two parts to being more emotional intelligent that appears to be critical. The first is to be able to have a high level of self-awareness (so as to respond appropriately to the situation at hand) and the second is to be able to read the needs of other people (so as to respond appropriately to the situation at hand). So in both cases, “responding appropriately” is the key requirement and this is therefore not so much about single skills or competencies more abut the overall approach we take or what this article calls our emotional intelligence style that we adopt.

In constructing a model for emotional intelligence style, there are two important dimensions that are suggested to be significant. These are:

  • Individual drive or motivation
  • Thinking structure adopted by an individual

Let’s look at these two dimensions in a little more detail:

DRIVE OR MOTIVATION

Personal motivation underpins many of the prevailing theories about emotional intelligence as it is important to understand what people tend to drive towards or are interested in pursuing. Drive/Motivation can be said to have the two ends of the scale or continuum as follows:

  1. A drive towards outcomes
  2. A drive towards beliefs

The drive towards outcomes reflects an interest in goals and targets as well as in task achievement or tangible action steps. This end of the continuum is often good for recognizing context, associations and relationships between ideas or data, or making rational sense of their world.

The drive towards beliefs reflects an interest in values and attitudes, and people and relationships in particular. This end of the continuum is often good to quickly recognize emotions or feelings (whether are experienced by the individual person or are expressed by other people or entire groups).

THINKING STRUCTURE ADOPTED

Writers and researchers such as Jung, Cattell, Myers Briggs and others have long recognized that individual thinking styles fall into two major categories. Intuitive or ‘free association’ thinking, and more structured, sensory oriented and analytical thinkers. This is reflected in the other major axis in this model:

  1. A drive towards experimentation
  2. A drive towards control

An experimental preferred thinking structure reflects an interest in the open exploration of ideas (diverging rather than converging). This end of the spectrum is therefore often good for dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty or for accepting quite varied data and opinions.

A controlled preferred thinking structure reflects an interest in an ordered and often systematic sequential thought process (converging rather than diverging). This end of the spectrum is therefore often good for applying sound and careful logic to data or opinions.

By intersecting these two axes, a four quadrant grid is created. This grid creates four possible style types, which can be simply labeled REFLECTIVE, CONCEPTUAL, EMPATHETIC and ORGANIZED:

The Four Emotional Intelligence Styles

Reflective

In this high structure and high outcomes or results driven style quadrant, the individual is likely to be task focused but look to achieve their goals in a quiet, considered, ordered and incremental or sequential manner. To do this they will approach new situations by looking to collect information that they can logically analyze and weigh up carefully in their mind before they decide or act.

The Reflective style type is predominantly interested in how the external world is structured and ordered and is therefore concerned to continually gather data to be mentally sifted and reviewed. The Reflective type consequently sees emotions, feelings, beliefs and values only as observable behaviors or actions that should be noted and appropriately categorized alongside all other perceptions of external events or situations. In other words, personal empathy levels with emotions experienced are low or even non-existent.

Conceptual

In this highly experimental and high outcomes or results driven style quadrant, the individual is likely to be task focused but look to achieve their goals in a challenging, stretching, decisive and non-linear manner. To do this they will approach new situations by putting forward a variety of observations, ideas and suggestions designed to push people’s thinking to new or different horizons. Some of these views may be deliberately offered with little pre-thought or impulsively, but are often argued quite strongly nonetheless.

The Conceptual style type is predominantly interested in how the external world can be understood in a range of different ways and changed or altered through action. New information therefore helps to modify this person’s model of the world. The Conceptual type sees emotions, feelings, beliefs and values only as observable behaviors to be incorporated into their big picture view of people and life in general.

Organized

In this high structure and highly beliefs driven style quadrant, the individual is likely to strongly value a world in which people can interact simply, fairly and with certainty (and therefore purposefully seek to establish sound processes that others will find helpful to follow). To do this they will approach new situations by communicating the importance of issues such as clear processes and systems, personal competence, good planning and discipline as a basis for an organized world in which people can operate in a calm, familiar and well ordered climate.

The Organized style type is predominantly interested in how the world of inner beliefs and the values of every individual can be accommodated in an ordered way with a well understood and practical set of parameters in which people can operate with confidence and certainty.

Empathetic

In this highly experimental and highly beliefs driven style quadrant, the individual is likely to have a strong drive to understand and communicate with people at a social level and spend much of their time looking to extend and deepen their relationships with others. To do this they will adopt a warm and gregarious approach to new situations and events in general and strive hard to understand other people’s inner feelings and views. The Empathetic type consequently likes to connect with others at an emotional level and most enjoys relationships where feelings are open and known (and outcomes and task goals are secondary).

The Empathetic style type is predominantly interested in how the world of inner feelings, beliefs and values can be better understood. They are therefore likely to adopt an open, giving and altruistic approach on the basis that it may well engender the same response in others.

Summary

We need flexible ways to respond to people in a range of different situations. Knowing which style we prefer most (and in some cases which style others prefer most) is a useful first step in becoming more self-aware. However, by appreciating the other three available styles that may not be our primary preference, we increase the scope to adjust our approach and thereby behave in what are then likely to be seen as much more emotionally intelligent ways.

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Optimistic, Pessimistic, and Emotional Thinking Styles

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Optimistic, Pessimistic, and Emotional Thinking Styles

In critical thinking, one of the most important aspects to recognize is the influence of human factors in how thought processing occurs. Factors like enculturation, emotion, stress, ego, and bias all play a pivotal role in how human beings think. Critical thinking requires that a person identify possible factors involved in his or her information gathering and decision making processes to better understand how these factors might alter or affect the critical thinking process and results.
These three styles optimistic, pessimistic and emotional thinking involve different aspects that must be recognized by individuals in order to gather information, analyze it, and make a solid decision. The optimist fails to see the bad in everything and everyone, the pessimist fails to see the good, and the emotionalist sees neither. All three of these thinking styles are similar as that each is, to a certain extent, based on the personal feelings of the individual. Each decision made in life will affect our future; the littlest factors of our personality can have extremely large consequences if individuals do not properly analyze inputs for critical thinking.


Optimistic, Pessimistic, and Emotional Thinking Styles

In critical thinking, one of the most important aspects to recognize is the influence of human factors in how thought processing occurs. Factors like enculturation, emotion, stress, ego, and bias all play a pivotal role in how human beings think. Critical thinking requires that a person identify possible factors involved in his or her information gathering and decision making processes to better understand how these factors might alter or affect the critical thinking process and results.
These factors have been studied and put into different categories called Thinking Styles. Each style bares different positive and negative results from the critical thinking process. Three of these Thinking Styles are optimistic, pessimistic, and emotional, each consisting of different ways to analyze everyday situations.
An optimistic person will generally find the good in all the things that come their way. They are the first to say that everything will work out in the end. They believe that they can find the good in most people and that everyone has good in them. In reality, most people are optimists to some point. Optimistic people like to think that no matter what happens our problems will work out. Being an optimist makes it difficult to make clear decisions because this person only sees the good and never the bad.

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They would think the people they deal with would be telling the truth and would not try to deceive them in order to get what they want. This could prove to be difficult because people will do what it takes to get their way and therefore, the optimist could be easily deceived.
Most people would like to have the recognition as being the optimist. In most cases they have been given an assignment or were told to do something and thought, wow, I truly do not know how the people I am working with could possibly get this done, but they roll up their sleeves and dive into that job saying it can and will be done right or they will die trying. This is as much an optimistic point of view as ever there was one. I know that this sort of thing happens to most of us and yet they think of the optimistic person as being person they dislike sometimes because they say bring it on and do it. Just think if they were to say to their supervisor, I am so sorry my team could not possibly do that job it would be too hard on them. Would they still have their jobs after or would their supervisor say just have them do what they can. As much as they like to think they are not optimistic, I am finding that they all are to a point. They all have times when they have to look at the bright side and just do what needs to be done to be a good person.
What kind of out comes are there with emotional thinking? Being angry can cause a person to make a bad choice. This can lead to regrets and unnecessary anxiety and embarrassment. In business as well as home, decisions should be made after thinking about what the answer will be.
For instance, if a coworker makes a statement or has a question that another person does not like, the remark could be devastating and/ or embarrassing. One of the reasons for this kind of thinking could be caused by waking up in a bad mood or getting upset on the drive into the office. When this happens, a person should take a few minutes to cool down and clear their mind before reacting to whatever it was that made them upset.
Tiger Woods, a professional golfer, made a choice about the way he reacts when he is not playing golf well. He only lets himself be upset for a minute then tells himself to “get over it”. He’s done letting the bad shot get to him and he goes on with his game. He does not let it affect the rest of his game. This is a good example of not letting emotional thinking get to a person.
The acquisition of Guidant by Boston Scientific is an example of emotional thinking (Harvard Business Review, May 2008), Johnson and Johnson wanted to purchase Guidant until the company had to recall 170,000 pacemakers Because of the competition between the two companies, Boston Scientific wanted to buy Guidant so J and J would not. It turned out to be a bad investment because of wanting to win no matter the cost.
Decisions like the ones mentioned above have bad outcomes and some people and/or companies may not overcome the effects. Emotional thinking can have negative effects in business, relationships, and yourself. Take a minute, think it over, and “get over it”.
A key emotion to consider when analyzing critical thinking is pessimism. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines pessimism as “An inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome”.
Pessimism is an emotion shared by a large percentage of the human population and has a defined effect on critical thinking. In looking at the emotion of pessimism, one can find many correlations between pessimism and depression as both emotions have similar impacts on an individual’s thinking process. Both depression and excessive pessimism can directly interfere with a person’s ability to accurately and effectively interpret or analyze information
In an article found on mindsportlive.com, the author indicates that although optimists are happier, live longer, and are typically more productive, a balance of optimism and an occasional pessimistic mindset produces the best results. This article implies that pessimists are better critical thinkers because they remain grounded in negativity, where optimists often tend to be dreamers and idealists.
In another article, author Price Pritchett indicates that, “Studies show that, in some situations, pessimism helps us see things more accurately. It actually sharpens our sense of troubling realities. Pessimism increases our perception of danger, sensitizes us to potential problems, and causes us to weigh the downside more carefully.” (Pritchett, 2007). Although the article continues by stating that pessimists often have a more accurate view of reality, the drawbacks to pessimism outweigh the advantages.
Pessimists can often affect their critical thinking by allowing negative thoughts to prevent such thinking from occurring or quitting a task before its completion. The collective wisdom of scholars and researchers indicate that pessimism in limited amounts plays an effective role in critical thinking. Uncontrolled pessimism prohibits critical thinking and affects the emotional and physical health of the pessimist.
In conclusion, these three styles optimistic, pessimistic and emotional thinking involve different aspects that must be recognized by individuals in order to gather information, analyze it, and make a solid decision. The optimist fails to see the bad in everything and everyone, the pessimist fails to see the good and the emotionalist sees neither. All three of these thinking styles are similar as that each is, to a certain extent, based on the personal feelings of the individual. Each decision made in life will affect our future; the littlest factors of our personality can have extremely large consequences if individuals do not properly analyze inputs for critical thinking.

References
(2007). Optimism versus Pessimism. Retrieved October 1, 2008, from Mindsport Web site:
http://mindsportlive.com/Articles/Article/?articleId=217

Malhotra, D., Ku, G., & Murnighan, J. (2008, May). WHEN WINNING IS EVERYTHING.
Harvard Business Review, 86(5), 78-86. Retrieved October 2, 2008, from Business Source Complete database.

Pessimism. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved September 30, 2008, from
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pessimism

Pritchett, Price (2007, August 28). How pessimism can add value to our work. Hard Optimism, Retrieved October 1, 2008, from http://inhome.rediff.com/money/2007/aug/28book.htm



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