“Today, as I was struggling on my crutches with my broken leg, a young boy on a wheelchair saw me and helped me with my books and my backpack. He accompanied me across the campus to the classroom. As he was leaving, he said – Hope you feel better soon.”
This sweet short story was doing the rounds on social media recently. What is it about this little incident that resonates within our hearts? Is it the fact that someone so little could be so compassionate? While that would be the obvious answer, it does not give the full picture. What puts the ‘lump in the throat’ is the little boy’s empathy in the face of his disability. To be able to see another person’s distress and help, despite your woes, takes a high degree of Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient or EQ to be precise.
Until recently, the term EQ was a popular phrase, paraded like a million-dollar dress that is applauded on the runway, yet, remains unused and forgotten after the show lights have dimmed. Times have changed, with the parameters of success becoming more complex. Today’s world is all about leadership, innovation, and impact.
If you can do all of that, then you are thought to be successful.
However, if you can do all of that with a smile on your face while being sympathetic of people’s feelings, even as you listen to all that criticism coming your way; then you are emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence is not only the ability to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions but also to be aware of others’ emotions. The keyword here is EMPATHY! The ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and being able to ‘take a few steps’ in those shoes, is what sets you apart from those with a lower EQ. There have been many studies that have proved beyond a doubt that Emotional Intelligence is the key to excellence, whether professionally or personally.
So, without further adieu, let us jump into the five signs of an emotionally intelligent person with respect to the workplace.
1) Awareness of self – We all are human beings surrounded and made up of energy, governed by e-motion, i.e., energy in motion. Without emotions, we would be just molecules lumped together. Whether it is joy or grief, calmness or rage, emotions have always been the cornerstone of human society. So, if you want to thrive in that very same society, you begin with yourself. Having a high EQ means you know what makes you tick on the inside. Self-awareness is –
- You know exactly how you feel at all times.
- You are aware of how your emotions affect those around you.
- You know your strengths and accept your weaknesses.
2) Controlled Emotions – In life, whether personally or at work, there will be a lot of upheavals. Your ability to respond, rather than react to situations will define your worth, both as a leader and a person with integrity.
Being emotionally intelligent means, you always stay in control. This does not mean you become an emotionless robot, going through the motions.
Being controlled means:
- You rarely indulge in verbal abuse.
- No rash emotional decisions.
- Being non-judgmental about people and their values.
3) Open to criticism – Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said – “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.”
Essential human nature dictates that we find fault with anything that does not match with our beliefs, thoughts, and principles.
Being emotionally intelligent means, you recognize this intrinsic behaviour but do not judge the person who is criticising you. It means you –
- Recognize criticism as another form of feedback.
- Do not hold grudges.
- Use the person’s criticism to analyse their thoughts and emotions.
4) Empathy – A leader is someone who inspires his followers to be the best version of themselves. And that can happen when leaders can see things from their followers’ perspective. Being empathetic means –
- Able to understand another’s emotions.
- Being non-judgmental while also offering help.
5) Motivation and Social skills – An emotional person looks outside for rewards and motivation, while an emotionally intelligent person looks within for inspiration. It is called intrinsic motivation. Combine that with social skills like excellent communication, or being a team player, and you have a powerful combination for success. Being motivated and socially adept means –
- Being passionate about your work rather than looking at its benefits.
- Able to put forward ideas succinctly.
- Ready to take on appropriate roles as the need arises.
When destiny throws a curveball, we have no choice but to step up on to the pitch of life and bat. It can be exhilarating when we hit a six, however, when the wicket bails fall out behind us, and when the audience is baying for blood; it is the graceful exit to the pavilion which will be remembered in the halls of fame. Being emotionally intelligent makes that walk more palatable.
How do I know if I am emotionally intelligent?