Emotional intelligence in a nutshell

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By Calisha K Spencer, Human Resources Practitioner

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, interpret, demonstrate, control, evaluate, and use emotions to communicate effectively and constructively. (Definition by – VeryWell Mind)

Emotional intelligence is not to be confused with IQ (Intelligence Quotient). There are two (2) totally different things. One deals with understanding and managing emotions while the other measures cognitive intelligence and memory.

While being book-smart might help you pass tests, emotional intelligence prepares you for the real world by being aware of the feelings of others as well as your own feelings.

Oftentimes we hear people say “I’m smart! So, I am emotionally intelligent” and then you observe how they handle situations. Contrary right? I thought so.

Let’s delve into how we assess ourselves.

How do you know if you are emotionally intelligent?

1. Managing your emotions in difficult situations

2. Expressing empathy or concern for others

3. Ability to understand and describe what other people are feeling

4. Accepting and admitting mistakes, and move past them

5. An awareness of your personal strengths and limitation.

Ways to Boost Emotional Intelligence

  • Be present – Before approaching a situation, try to be present. Make a conscious effort to practice self-awareness. This prevents you from allowing your own emotions to completely take precedence over the other person’s.
  • Active Listening – Focus on what the other person is saying so that you can understand. With the absence of this, your body language may change and you may potentially offend the other individual. This is not something you want.
  • Empathize – Acknowledge and validate the feelings of others and offer encouragement.
  • Reflect – Consider how your approach may have affected this person and what difference it would make if the roles were reversed.

Having lower emotional intelligence skills can lead to a number of potential pitfalls that can affect multiple areas of life including work and relationships. People who have fewer emotional skills tend to get in more arguments, have lower quality relationships, and have poor emotional coping skills.

Being low on emotional intelligence can have a number of drawbacks, but having a very high level of emotional skills can also come with it challenges, so don’t underestimate that at all.

Think about it. Have you encountered someone who you can confidently identify as an emotionally intelligent individual? Should leaders make a conscious effort to practice emotional intelligence? That my friend, is for another article.

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