Emotional Intelligence

While we academicians are in the direction of promoting  Intelligence Quotient (IQ), one must also not underestimate the importance of Emotional  Quotient (EQ). There are endless definitions of EQ but for me EQ equates to ‘Emotional Maturity’ and it is a must in the workplace. This also goes out to students, as one must not forget that university also prepares you for real life (thus requirements such as attendance, punctuality, not missing your deadlines are all important) as it brings you one step closer to your profession. So be prepared students when someone blurts out the famous phrase “welcome to the real world” when you graduate because in the real world one REALLY needs EQ. Let me put it like this: your IQ is your passport, while your EQ is your visa. If you don’t have a visa you are out of the camp!

Having said all this, below is a nice illustration of the 10 habits of  High EQ: (adapted from http://eqi.org/summary.htmg)


1. Become emotionally literate. Label your feelings, rather than labeling people or situations. Use three word sentences beginning with “I feel”.Start labeling feelings; stop labeling people & situations “I feel impatient.” vs “This is ridiculous.” I feel hurt and bitter”. vs. “You are an insensitive jerk.” “I feel afraid.” vs. “You are driving like an idiot.”
2. Distinguish between thoughts and feelings. Thoughts: I feel like…& I feel as if…. & I feel that Feelings: I feel: (feeling word)
3. Take more responsibility for your feelings. “I feel jealous.” vs. “You are making me jealous.”Analyze your own feelings rather than the action or motives of other people. Let your feelings help you identify your unmet emotional needs.
4. Use your feelings to help make decisions “How will I feel if I do this?” “How will I feel if I don’t?” “How do I feel?” “What would help me feel better?”Ask others “How do you feel?” and “What would help you feel better?”
5. Use feelings to set and achieve goals – Set feeling goals. Think about how you want to feel or how you want others to feel. (your employees, your clients, your students, your children, your partner)– Get feedback and track progress towards the feeling goals by periodically measuring feelings from 0-10. For example, ask clients, students, teenagers how much they feel respected from 0 to 10.
6. Feel energized, not angry. Use what others call “anger” to help feel energized to take productive action.
7. Validate other people’s feelings. Show empathy, understanding, and acceptance of other people’s feelings.
8. Use feelings to help show respect for others. How will you feel if I do this? How will you feel if I don’t? Then listen and take their feelings into consideration.
9. Don’t advise, command, control, criticize, judge or lecture to others. Instead, try to just listen with empathy and non-judgment.
10. Avoid people who invalidate you. While this is not always possible, at least try to spend less time with them, or try not to let them have psychological power over you.

Based on my own experience, an individual with a high EQ will have some of the following assets:

1) Being able to control anger when someone yells at you. Read this: http://www.hodu.com/control-anger.shtml. The best strategy in such cases is to never counterattack and just watch the show and not let go of your dignity. If the consequences of such action is persistent or detrimental don’t solve it on the spot, but in another scene. Don’t confuse this with not fighting for your right!

2) Being able to work under pressure and not breaking down and crying. Yes we are humans but crying is a big no in the workplace as it can be very unprofessional and best you instead take a deeeeeep breath and wait to calm down and then solve the issue.

3) Let’s accept we all have bad days but in the workplace one should be able to put a smile on their face even at worse moments, as you can’t break down in the middle of an important meeting or lecture. I remember once when I  had attended an international conference in Turkey and was listening to a conference paper delivered by a scholar who had arrived from Australia a day previous to her talk. She was ever so bubbly and carrying a big smile, but later towards the end of her talk she informed her audience that her luggage had got lost on her way to the conference and so she had to wear someone else’s suit!  What inspired me all the more was that she was able to joke about it and laugh it off. It never would have crossed my mind that she had experienced such an incident as she really got on with it thanks to her high EQ.

4) Being able to ignore (unless it’s not a big fat accusation) what others say behind your back and get on with it! If a criticism doesn’t come straight to your face, but instead behind your back, it’s pretty obvious that it’s not said with good intentions so best you block yourself from negative feelings and attitudes.

4) Their motto is to: MIND YOUR LANGUAGE (I think you know what I mean by that, so no need to spell it out).

I’m happy to hear your suggestions too.

Keep smiling 🙂


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