Let me begin with a small story...
Brian and Martha were classmates in their high school. While Brian was voted the most popular student for his friendliness and charm, Martha was not so popular but she was an intellectually brilliant student with high hopes for her future. She found it difficult to mingle with most of the students as they were not as smart as she was. Years later, Martha is a lawyer; however she still has the same problem of forming relationships. On the other hand, Brian is a happily married man and running his own business. He did not go to a college but is happy and contented in his life. Ironically, they lived in the same neighborhood where Brian is the most talked about person and President of the neighborhood whereas Martha still chooses to live aloof. Though she is professionally sound, yet not many of her clients do like her as she cannot empathize with them.
Thus, Martha though intelligent but lack of EI is a hindrance to her being a popular lawyer where as Brian with average IQ becomes happy and successful in life with his excellent EI skills.
But, what is EI and why is it so important for success?
Emotional Intelligence (EI), often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), is a term that describes the ability to identify, assess and manage the emotions of one's self and appropriately respond to others and motivate them.
Hiring the right person with right skill is of main concern for the head hunters. With the advent of technology, hiring process has become increasingly complex; companies not only focus on the hard skills (e.g., technical expertise, work experience and education) but also the assessment of personality traits. Competencies like stress management, assertiveness skills and empathy are critical success factor which should not be overlooked.
Emotional Intelligence consists of several, well-defined basic competencies that absolutely anyone can learn. Some of the competences which an emotionally intelligent individual should have are as follows:
- Self-Awareness - the ability to know one's internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions. This includes:
- Emotional Awareness: recognizing one's emotions and their impacts
- Self-Assessment: knowing own strengths and limits
- Self-Confidence: believing in one's self-worth and capabilities
- Self-Regulation - managing one's internal states, impulses and resources. This includes:
- Self-Control: keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check
- Trustworthiness: maintaining standards of honesty and integrity
- Conscientiousness: taking responsibility for personal performance
- Adaptability: flexibility in handling change
- Innovation: being comfortable with new ideas, novel approaches and new information
- Self-Expectations and Motivation - the emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate the reaching of goals. This includes:
- Achievement Drive: striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence
- Commitment: aligning with the goals of the group or organization
- Initiative: readiness to act on opportunities
- Optimism: pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks
- Empathy - awareness of others' feelings needs and concerns. This includes:
- Understanding Others: sensing the feelings and perspectives of others and taking an active interest in their concerns
- Developing Others: sensing the development needs of others and bolstering their abilities
- Service Orientation: anticipating, recognizing and meeting customer needs
- Leveraging Diversity: cultivating opportunities through different kinds of people
- Social Skills - adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others. This includes:
- Influence: employing effective tactics for persuasion
- Communicate: listening actively and sending convincing messages
- Manage Conflict: negotiating and resolving disagreements
- Leadership: inspiring and guiding individuals and groups
- Change Catalyst: initiating or managing change
- Build Bonds: nurturing instrumental relationships
- Collaboration and Cooperation: working with others towards shared goals
- Team Spirit: creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals
- Political Awareness: reading a group's emotional currents and power relationships
- Emotional Sensitivity : ability and capacity to effectively understanding intensity of emotional arousal, managing the immediate environment and controlling negative emotions like anger, irritation, excessive anxiety etc.
Impact in Workplace
Ever since the researchers found out that individuals with high EQ are more productive that others, importance of EI in workplace has been acknowledged. Since, workplace includes groups of people with varying ideas and opinions, effective EI or EQ is necessary to achieve target. We are emotional beings and all our actions and reactions are determined by our emotions. EQ is not about being nice neither about unleashing our emotions. It is about being aware of our emotions and able to express feelings appropriately and effectively. Effective management of emotions improves the quality of our decisions thus making us more productive.
Studies show that people with high EQ are the best performers and have high levels of interpersonal skills and thus are more satisfied at work. Emotionally balanced employees are empathetic, adaptable, self-aware, self-confident, transparent, optimistic, inspirational leaders and good at managing disagreements and stress. With strong EI one can control, direct, lead and manage his or her own moods and impulses, and communicate with others much effectively. Individual with high EI are good problem solvers and decision makers. They can skillfully prioritize their task and quickly realize their goals.
An exciting fact about EQ is that unlike our IQ which does not change after our teens, EQ can continue to grow and develop as it largely is a learned area of expertise.