Do you have a colleague who is so good at managing her emotions that she is able to keep herself intact and act gracefully in a stressful situation? How about a colleague who is able to stay calm during conflicts and find great solutions for the team?

Moreover, these colleagues take criticisms well, use them to improve their productivity or performance, and are able to sense the emotional needs of others. Because they own such qualities, these colleagues usually thrive in the company and become successful in their careers.

So what do they have that others might lack? Emotional Intelligence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is that ‘something’ in our personalities that makes others want to be on our team. It is what gets us favours when we need help, answers when we have questions, and what gets us through difficult situations more easily.

Emotional Intelligence has been defined as the “ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour” (Oxford Reference).

Do You Have Emotional Intelligence?

According to Daniel Goleman, an internationally known psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (1995), there are 5 components of EI:

  • Self-Awareness – People who have high EI are self-aware, meaning they can identify and understand their emotions; hence, they do not let their emotions take over their rational decision-making. They are also honest with themselves, and know their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control your emotions and think before you act. Self-regulation is vital for situations at work, where your behaviour could impact your reputation. For example, when a project you are strongly passionate about is cancelled, when a customer snaps at you, or when you are overworked.
  • Motivation – Wanting to do something and actually doing it are two different things. People with high EI are disciplined and can push themselves to truly act to achieve their goals. They are productive, adjust well to changes in the company, and are efficient in whatever tasks they do.
  • Empathy – This is the ability to recognise and understand the viewpoints and feelings of the people around you, even if they may not be obvious. This is a very important component of EI because with empathy, you can better manage your relationships at the workplace. People with high EI tend to avoid stereotyping others, are not quick to judge, and have better listening skills.
  • Social Skills – People with good social skills are excellent communicators — they are easy to talk to and can effectively manage disputes. They are also team players who, instead of focusing on their own success, help others develop and contribute to the team. These social skills are important for building and maintaining professional and personal relationships, which are essential to success.

We all know that IQ is the measurement of intelligence, but EI is another important aspect to develop and nurture. If we have high EI, we also have the skills to better relate to others and work on achieving shared goals, which are factors that will strongly impact our job success.

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