Functional Fluency and Emotional Literacy

Emotional literacy and emotional intelligence

Emotional literacy is sensitivity and skill in both intra-personal awareness and inter-personal relationships. Developing these attributes contributes to what is called emotional intelligence, the capacity to understand and use emotional learning. These terms are often, confusingly, used interchangeably. It helps to think of emotional intelligence as the capacity, and emotional literacy as the way we can put it to use.

The Functional Fluency model and TIFF© are both practical tools for developing emotional literacy.

Human beings benefit from getting on well together. To do this they need to be emotionally literate.

A high level of emotional literacy is a key factor in the long-term success of any human enterprise.

Relationships in emotionally literate organisations inspire, support and motivate all those involved. Leadership at every level is positive and empowering.

Connections between emotional literacy and Functional Fluency.

The Functional Fluency model names, describes and explains key aspects of human social functioning. Understanding the nature of the nine modes of behaviour in the model and how a person uses those modes, both positive and negative, helps him or her to build self-awareness, the key domain of emotional intelligence. Learning how to expand and enrich the use of the five positive modes and transform the four negative modes supports his or her development in the other domains. Completion of TIFF produces a profile showing in detail how energy is balanced in the various modes. Studying this profile with a TIFF Provider helps people understand their characteristic patterns of response. This usually produces insights into various relationships and the ways that communication is effective or otherwise. The frameworks for ongoing development support the making of changes in communication habits to increase social effectiveness and reduce stress.

Using TIFF or the Functional Fluency model enhances all five of the domains of emotional intelligence (see below) and particularly self-awareness and social competence. It can be seen from all this that increasing Functional Fluency is synonymous with increasing emotional literacy.

Emotional Intelligence

Howard Gardner (1983) included emotional intelligences in his theory of ‘multiple intelligences’, in which he delineated a wide range of human capacities that could be measured and evaluated along with the already familiar I.Q. In 1993 he gave definitions for the two aspects of emotional intelligence:

“Inter-personal intelligence is the ability to understand other people, what motivates them, how they work and how to work cooperatively with them. Intra-personal intelligence is a correlative ability, turned inward. It is a capacity to form an accurate, veridical model of oneself and to be able to use that model to act effectively in life”. Howard Gardner, writing with Thomas Hatch (1989), had previously emphasised particular aspects: “The core of interpersonal intelligence includes the capacities to discern and respond appropriately to the moods, temperaments, motivations and desires of other people”. Intra-personal intelligence, the key to self-knowledge, includes access to one’s own feelings and the ability to discriminate among them and draw upon them to guide behaviour”.

Psychologists in the 1980s and 1990s explored the practical significance of emotional intelligence in many social and work contexts. Robert Sternberg (1985) wrote about “people skills” and the capacities that underpinned excellence in this area. Peter Salovey and John Mayer (1990) developed a model of emotional intelligence detailing the meanings of what they called the five main domains:

  • Self-awareness (the basis for all the rest)
  • Emotional management
  • Self-motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social competence

Daniel Goleman (1995) quoted all these authors and more and presented a summary and discussion of their research and findings in his best-selling book “Emotional Intelligence”. Throughout the book he emphasised the importance for social effectiveness and success in life of developing all aspects of emotional literacy in order to put to use the natural human capacity for emotional intelligence.