Emotional Intelligence

The twenty-first century has acknowledged and accepted emotional intelligence as an indispensable trait one should possess for success in life.


Emotional Intelligence, in very simple terms, is the individual’s ability to understand, balance, control and manage one’s own emotions and those of people around without hurting the emotional needs of others. EI is more of an intelligence of the mind. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people. EI enables you to manage your relationships more effectively, even if and when conflict arises. EI is a must for dealing with threatening situations and conflicts, maintaining equanimity, empathy, coping with stress, showing grace under pressure, apart from many other necessities of day to day life. Top officials, senior bureaucrats and executives should possess EI in abundance for many reasons. Painstaking efforts need to be taken for promoting  EI as its absence can spoil one’s career, one’s life itself. EI is perhaps the most important of the soft skills required for a successful career.


EI is an integral part of effective leadership. According to researchers, IQ can develop an individual to be successful to the extent of 20% only in life and the rest 80% success depends on EQ (Emotional Quotient, which is a measure of EI). EI is getting ever-increasing acceptance as a factor inevitable for professional success having much greater importance than general intelligence. Organizations are increasingly using EI when they hire and promote staff.


We have seen people either in our personal lives or at work who are really good listeners, who always seem to know what to say and how to say irrespective of the kind of situation, who are masters of managing their emotions, who do not get angry in stressful situations, who take criticism well, who have the ability to keep inter-personal relations intact. These people have a high degree of EI. They know how to manage their emotions as well as the emotional needs of others. A leader who always stays in control and calmly assesses the situation will be much more effective and successful compared to a leader who shouts at his team when he is under stress.


EI is getting more and more acceptance as a factor inevitable for professional success having much greater importance than general intelligence. Organizations are increasingly using EI when they hire and promote staff. A survey of about 3000 hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide by an HR firm revealed that EI is a critical characteristic for landing in a job and advancing one’s career. Survey participants gave the following reasons for placing a higher value on EI over IQ (in order of importance):


  1. They know how to resolve conflict effectively.
  2. They are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly.
  3. They lead by example.
  4. They tend to make more thoughtful business decisions.
  5. They admit and learn from their mistakes.
  6. They can keep emotions in check and have thoughtful discussions on tough issues.
  7. They listen as much or more than they talk.
  8. They take criticism well.
  9. They show grace under pressure.


We all have different individualities and personalities, different wants and needs and different ways of showing our emotions. Managing all these requires tact and cleverness if we hope to succeed in life. This is where EI assumes importance.


People with high EI are usually successful in almost everything they do. Why is it so? Because they make others feel good, they are the ones that others want to move with, and they navigate through life much more easily than others who get easily upset or angered.


You have EI if you have the following attributes according to the US psychologist Daniel Goleman.


  1. Self-awareness – you understand your emotions and hence do not let your feelings rule them and let your emotions get out of control.
  2. Self-regulation – you have the ability to control emotions and impulses, you think before you act.
  3. Motivation – you are motivated and willing to sacrifice immediate comforts for long term success.
  4. Empathy – you have the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs and viewpoints of those around you.
  5. Social skills – you have the ability to work as effective team players, you can manage disputes, you are a master at building and maintaining relationships.


Ways to improve your EI


  1. Work on your skills in the five areas mentioned above.
  2. Honestly observe how you interact with other people.
  3. Avoid rushing to judgment before you know all the facts.
  4. In your work environment, give others a chance to shine, put the focus on them without worrying too much about getting praise for yourself.
  5. Do a self-evaluation of your weaknesses, have the courage to look at yourself honestly.
  6. Examine how you react to stressful situations. The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is highly valued in the business world, in politics and everywhere.
  7. Examine how your words and actions will affect others before you speak or act.


EI plays an important role in your ability to exploit the potential of your mind, in keeping that architect and magician fully charged. Acquiring the trait of emotional intelligence and consistently improving upon it are indispensable for your success in any field, for the simple reason that EI is all about management of human relations.


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