As a professor of management, I have quite often been preaching my students on the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) in their communications and acts of behaviour with others in the family and at the workplace. To reiterate the importance of EI for the people in general walk of life as also for people working in commercial and other organizations, I have included an excerpt about the concept here. Read the importance of EI in the Exhibit-1 below:
“Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to identify and regulate our own emotions, to recognize the emotions of other people and feel empathy toward them, and to use these abilities to communicate effectively and build healthy, productive relationships with others. EI is most often understood as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions.
People with high emotional intelligence can identify their own emotions and those of others, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, differentiate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and adjust emotions to adapt to situations.
There are three components of emotional intelligence – first: perceiving emotions accurately; second: reasoning with emotions (means using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity), and the third: understanding emotions (the emotions that we perceive can carry a wide variety of meanings).
Although the term first appeared in 1964, it gained popularity in the 1995 best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, written by science journalist Daniel Goleman. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. In this book, Goleman posits that emotional intelligence is as important as IQ for success, including in academic, professional, social, and interpersonal aspects of one’s life. Goleman says that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be taught and cultivated.”
The other day, I received a WhatsApp forward from a close friend, colleague and professor – Sudarshan Srinivasan. This forwarded message narrated an impactful story on the importance of EI in dealing with people in our day-to-day life. Please read the story in Exhibit-2 below, and then decide for yourself as to how can you improve upon your reactions, responses, and behaviour with others in your day-to-day life – be it your home, workplace, or somewhere else.
“Do we need stickers on people to be kind to them?“
A car ahead was moving like a turtle and not giving me the way despite my continuous honking! I was on brink of losing my cool when I noticed the small sticker on the car’s rear!
“Physically challenged; Please be patient.”
Reading that label changed everything. I immediately went calm & slowed down! I even got a little protective of the car & the driver!
I reached home a few minutes late, but it was ok! And then it struck me.
Would I have been patient if there was no sticker?
Why do we need stickers to be patient with people!?
Will we be more patient & kind with others if people had labels pasted on their foreheads?
Labels like —
“Lost my job” ,
“Going through a bad divorce”,
“Suffering Emotional abuse”,
“Lost a loved one”,
….and more like these!!
Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. The least we can do is to be patient, kind & compassionate.
We know that every one of us is carrying multiple ones and powering through our day. So, let us respect these “Invisible Labels”!
After reading this, reflect on your actions and their impact on people around you. EI is not just important for your interactions in the workplace, but also your relationships in your personal life. I would go as far as to say that Emotional Intelligence and Empathy play a bigger factor in your success than IQ.
- Harvard Health. “Emotional Intelligence.” Harvard Health, http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/emotional-intelligence. Accessed 3 Sept. 2021.
- Wikipedia contributors. “Emotional Intelligence.” Wikipedia, 7 Aug. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence.