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Do you exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence in your professional work setting?

September 2011

Why is it that not all intelligent people succeed? Moreover, what accounts for the instances wherein people of average intelligence succeed when their more intelligent counterparts fall short? The answer lies in emotional intelligence (EQ).

So, emotional intelligence ... What is it? Do you have it? Has someone described you as having emotional intelligence or possibly not? Simply said, emotional intelligence can be described as an ability to understand and manage yourself and your emotions and to understand and manage others and their emotions.

Emotional intelligence is increasingly being regarded as a major key to personal success and as being more important than Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Some of the most successful people in life today are those who are regarded as having a high level of emotional intelligence whatever their level of IQ. Being able to manage themselves and others successfully is often a crucial factor in their success. With a growing emphasis on 'soft skills', managers need to be able to sensitively handle other people, both within and outside the organisation.

Top American psychologist John D Mayer defines emotional intelligence as "the ability to perceive, to integrate, to understand and reflectively manage one's own and other people's feelings"

Indeed, most people do experience a range of both positive and negative emotions at work on a daily basis.

Here are some of the examples: Satisfaction--you have done an excellent piece of work; Exhilaration--you have won a major contract; Pride--you have helped someone out of a difficult situation; Anger--your work that has not been appreciated; * Frustration--because of delays in implementing your recommendations and Anxiety--difficulty in meeting deadlines.

When emotions are experienced, such as satisfaction, anxiety or frustration, our brain is programmed to respond to the threat and an emotional response is triggered. However, acting on that first impulse can lead to things being said or done that are later regretted. Emotional intelligence means that whilst you acknowledge that emotion, you then take a step back from that situation and let rational thought influence your actions.

Books, classes and workshops to enhance emotional intelligence are a growing industry, as companies and other organisations seek to increase their employees' emotional intelligence.
Businesses have realised the importance of emotional intelligence, and it's a big business because they want to improve their workers' emotional intelligence.

Research has shown that employees who are high in emotional intelligence are more adaptive in planning, thinking patterns, creating motivation, decision-making processes and perceiving their work as challenging. Individuals with high emotional intelligence are also said to be 'optimistic,' a trait that enables them to focus on resolution, rather than who is at fault.

Workers' emotional intelligence has spill-over effects on any organisation. Emotional intelligence promotes work climate in the organisation and performance. The time that would have been spent on solving crises is spent planning and achieving the goals of the organization. Thus, a positive work climate is key to achieving organisational goals, and emotional intelligence is critical in creating a conducive work climate.

Indeed, businesses operate in a unique environment. Its influence spans across national and cultural borders on a daily basis. While capital investments are important, it is the human factor that will ultimately underscore and sustain longevity for any business.

Therefore, the ongoing development of emotional intelligence is the foundation to achieving global business.

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