We live in an era where machines are doing most of our jobs: from self-driving cars to AI-Powered Robo-Vacuum Cleaners to IOT devices taking overwork like automatic light and fan switching, temperature and humidity control, etc. With Windows Cortana, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant becoming good substitutes for ‘human personal assistants’ – our life is gradually becoming advanced yet ever so artificial. There are also growing concerns about increasing unemployment rates as automation takes over jobs previously done by humans. Automation will take over 85 million jobs by 2025, making over 37% of workers worry about their jobs, worldwide. However, technology is yet to grow advanced enough to par human intelligence, let alone emotional intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?
Emotional Intelligence, also known as Emotional Quotient (EQ), is the ability to manage not only your own emotions but of others as well, in a way that creates mutual understanding and positive social interactions.
How is the Emotional Quotient different from the Intellectual Quotient?
Intellectual Quotient is all about measuring how smart we are in solving mathematical, logical, and practical problems that do NOT require any emotional assessment. In a nutshell, it tests our logic and reasoning and helps us critically analyze challenging situations.
In contrast, the Emotional Quotient is the measure of emotional understanding of others, empathy, and self-awareness. It helps us empathize with the people around us. It lets us identify their character strengths and weaknesses, and complement them with our own. Highly motivational leaders are often attributed to EQ.
In summary, IQ & EQ are two sides of the same coin with stress on either side adding bias to one’s personality. Therefore, a well-rounded professional should ideally have both IQ and EQ to perform well in their job.
Why EI Garnered Attention Only Until Recently?
While Intelligence Quotient (IQ) has been deeply studied (with even scores attached to measure how well a person performs in any IQ test). Comparatively, EQ has not been studied in such depth. Moreover, there are a few established ways to measure it on any scale. Until only recently, research on EI is garnering attention as people are slowly realizing the significance of being Emotionally Intelligent.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Becoming More Important Now Than Ever?
Today’s organizational culture blends in its well-communicated hierarchy, open-source leadership styles, team spirit, and cooperation & collaboration as the cornerstones. No wonder, organizations, therefore, rely on EQ to hire motivated, self-driven, and conscientious employees. That is, they do not look at the employees’ grades. Instead, they focus on their character strengths and weaknesses, assessing whether empathy, communication, responsibility, and openness are of those.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence in a workplace
- Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Emotional Intelligence in the workspace is a key ability of managers and team leaders. It is the ability to recognize the employees’ emotions and of others at large. This enables them to differentiate between different feelings and sentiments, and accordingly adjust their emotions, reactions, and decisions. Thereby, helping them in achieving the company’s goal and/ or vision.
- Emotionally Intelligent Leaders: An emotionally intelligent leader is more effective in delegating authority and working in teams. This is because EI helps these leaders to communicate well, get good at problem-solving as they involve people around them, and finally it helps them manage people – they just know what everyone is good at, and therefore, give that work that compliments and makes use of their qualities. At the end of the day, when results are out, these people really tend to like doing their job. They feel empowered and motivated to see how their contribution is helping the company achieve its goals and objectives. The executives at the higher level of the organization see the company’s goals met. Hence, they reward the team leaders, project, or functional managers.
Why is Emotional Intelligence becoming the most sought trait these days?
How Has Covid-19 Changed the way People Took EI Previously?
Covid-19 has caused the world to change in a way that hybrid communication became more of a norm than a need. This is seen to be effective in schools and colleges, international companies like Google, etc., and industries at large that switched to both online and on-site work. While this added more flexibility to working hours for employees in general. Particularly, for managers, project managers, and team leaders Emotional Intelligence became a requirement. A requirement that helps them to achieve project goals and manage cross-functional teams. Research suggests that individuals with higher EI tend to work cohesively and under pressure from the higher-ups. This is because they can manage their stress, thus, enabling them to better pursue the business more effectively and efficiently.
What Does Psychology Say About This?
Actually, psychology has a lot to say! From researching how ‘gratitude letters’ can help raise levels of happiness to how spending on others makes us feel alleviated, psychology amazes us every day with its interesting studies. Nevertheless, it has also done substantial research on how Emotional Intelligence leads us on the self-fulfilling path. It does this by giving us a framework via which to apply invisible placards to our emotional reactions. It helps us understand that our reactions may or may not be consistent with logic or sentiment.
How Emotionally Intelligent People Better Regulate Their Emotions
Conscious about their own emotional states, emotionally intelligent people tend to regulate their emotions, including the negative ones. They can name their emotions and even differentiate between the subtle ones. Say, feelings of envy and jealousy are not the same, yet many tend to lump them together and even use the words interchangeably. This gives them high self-confidence, as they step into a realistic and emotional realm.
Moreover, people high in EQ are not impulsive, hasty, or aggressive with their actions. They actually think more than twice before taking some action, especially when it involves other people. Hence, this relates to good and steady emotion regulation. This also helps them reduce how strong emotions would normally feel. Quite expectedly, studies show a strong link between EQ with anxiety and depression, with people exhibiting high levels of EQ better at ‘down regulating’ these adverse emotions.
Learning to be Emotionally Intelligent
Everyone can be good at monitoring their emotions, after all, humans are emotional beings. For starters, we can learn by identifying our feelings, and then learn to understand them. Once we can name the emotion we feel, we are one step closer to understanding it. Once we are able to do that and make that a routine, we will get tuned in on this as if it is our second nature. Slowly, we will start to understand the emotions of others accompanied by different behavioral changes or actions they take. This actually helps in the workspace, where we need to be better at maintaining our composure under stress and pressure. Gradually, we start to take a moment to think whenever taking a decision or an action. Hence, this all helps us attain inner resolve as we slowly grow to recognize what really is important in life.
The Recent Outlook: Artificiality Sinking Deep in Our Lives
Slowly and gradually, this world is becoming superficial: tech-based products continue to pour into markets, and social media gives people the very genuine ‘excuse’ to not meet in person – what the existing era needs is a ‘reminder’ to maintain its human existence amidst talking robots and autonomous drones capturing selfies.
Emotional intelligence is just one way of keeping us on the track; a track towards realizing how humans are meant to be social and emotional creatures. While the inherent feeling of something amiss is always there, we still keep with our ways of absorbing the artificiality around us. Little do we realize that this artificiality is slowly chewing at our originality. We become more materialistic as our conversations with our loved ones subtly fade to small talk and then to one-liner emojis… that too on social media than in person, sadly.
We also need to realize how Emotional Intelligence helps us in later life, with Creativity and IQ only taking us so far. Emotionally Intelligent couples tend to be happier with their lives and spouse. They know how to deal with the downs in life. And in such cases, they understand that an outburst is an emotional response, not an intention. They tend to be forgiving and caring as they understand both themselves and others.
Why You Need To Find a Balance Between IQ, EQ, & Creativity
Finding the right balance between IQ, EQ and Creativity seems important. This is because workspaces have developed, involving people from around the world with different ethnicities and backgrounds. The right quantity of each helps us through different phases of life. IQ helps us with logical & critical assessments, EQ helps with dealing with people, and Creativity merges both to come up with unique ideas and solutions. Hence, when put together, these three traits are all equally important. With everyone looking for ways to improve their IQ, we fail at realizing how IQ is not the sole marker of a successful person. And even without outstanding IQ, many of us are able to spend a better life than those at the pinnacle of it. It is here that Creativity and EQ come into play. Jobs need to be adapted to work with humans, not humans getting adapted to work in a job.
The only takeaway of this article would be to take emotional intelligence not only as a tool to harness people’s potential at work but also as an elixir to keep our hearts ‘alive’ and of others, too.
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