Emotional intelligence is a concept that has become popular amongst top executives and people in leadership positions, generally. However, I believe that it is also relevant for everyone regardless of whatever position they may occupy. What then is emotional intelligence?
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Emotional intelligence is a concept that involves being aware of one's own feelings, knowing why one is feeling that way, managing these feelings in such a way that they don't stand in the way of one's goals but in fact help them accomplish their goals. It also extends to our interpersonal relationships - acknowledging other people's emotions and showing them that you care.
In other words, being thoughtful enough to show empathy and compassion. EI is such a vital skill because it enables us to be in charge of our emotions and helps us relate with people well. Thus, we are able to form relationships and maintain them. There are people that we are naturally drawn to. There's just something special about them (or so we think). They have a way of knowing just how to respond to situations, what to say, and what to do. They don't get sucked into drama or conflict no matter how hard you try to drag them in. They always seem to be in control. Not in control of every circumstance but in control of themselves and their response.
We all know somebody like this. People go to them with their problems because they honestly believe they'll know what to do. What is this 'special' thing that sets them apart? It's emotional intelligence. They have developed the skills required for success- authenticity and social intelligence. With the rise in mental health challenges and consequent rise in mental health awareness, there has never been a time when emotional intelligence was needed more. In fact it so important that its chief profounder, Daniel Goleman has advanced that it be introduced to elementary school curriculums. I quite agree because it is not a quality that comes naturally to everyone. It is a skill that is learned and mastered over the course of time.
One way of developing emotional intelligence is by being honest about our strengths and weaknesses. It helps to do a personal SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis allows us to assess ourselves. A hypothetical example is as follows:
S- I have a Strength for knowing how to diffuse tension. W- I have a Weakness for avoiding conflict even when an important issue needs to be addressed. O- There are master-classes Opportunities on conflict management I can avail myself of. T- (Threat) Mr. XY keeps capitalizing on my weakness to bully me. Doing this type of assessment on ourselves makes us begin to pay closer attention to our emotional responses. When we do, we can become more confident about our areas of strength and then begin to work on our areas of weakness. It is so empowering when we can actually see that we are making progress. It, therefore, helps to record our progress. Furthermore, I also believe that emotional intelligence is even more important than having a high IQ. Take Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory for instance. He is by far the most intelligent of all his friends on the show. However, he is completely lacking in social skills, that he tells people exactly what he thinks of them, showing no empathy. He does not get social cues no matter how you try to make him understand using non-verbal cues. He, thus, becomes this pain that his friends have to put up with. Nobody wants that sort of burden in real life. In conclusion, I would say that becoming self-aware and developing our emotional IQ is very essential to our success and overall well-being.
Daniel Goleman, video courtesy of YouTube
Have you come across someone who isn’t emotionally intelligent? How did you deal with them? Do share your experiences in the comments section below, and remember to like, share and subscribe, never to miss an update.
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About The Author: Jacqueline is a lawyer as well as a PR professional. She is also mom, to two energetic soldiers who constantly keep her on her toes until they fall asleep. In her spare time, she loves to sing and is also an aspiring writer. Connect with her on Instagram with @zeerrific1.