Success at workplace takes a lot more than book knowledge or even hands-on-experience. Most people just seem to think that if IQ or Intelligence Quotient is good the person is intelligent and hence will do better at work. But in today’s world where we are busy all the time, overburdened and stress an unavoidable companion of ours, emotional intelligence has become a more relevant measure than IQ for selecting individuals during recruitment.
The term “Emotional Intelligence” debuted in several scientific articles written by John D. Mayer and Peter Salovay. They defined emotional intelligence as the ‘ability to perceive emotions, integrate emotions to facilitate thoughts, understand emotions and manage and control emotions to promote personal growth.’ A person who knows to control his impulses and manage his emotions correctly is way more successful and happy in his life than a person with greater IQ.
For many years employers have put premium on specific aspects of intelligence such as math, verbal, and logical reasoning abilities. While relatively easy to measure, these skills clearly were not enough as a predictor of ability, as evidenced by the scores of people with exceptionally high IQ scores who were performing poorly in the workplace. As Goleman writes in his book – “Emotional intelligence matters twice as much as technical and analytic skill combined for star performances and the higher people move up in the company, the more crucial emotional intelligence becomes”, it is evident that emotional intelligence is a more integral part of success than a person’s IQ.
Then the question arises- “Who is an emotionally intelligent person?” As given by Mayer and Salovay, an emotionally intelligent person can read others emotions accurately and reacts to them appropriately. Also he/she knows to control emotions and modifies his/her behaviour according to the situation. An emotionally intelligent person is less likely to have chronic physiological disorders and psychological disorders like depression, general anxiety disorder etc. Such a person will know the source of his/her sadness and so will be able to work upon it to change his situation. He forms good, strong emotional bonds with people who may help him overcome stress and avoid situations like depression.
As now the companies have started realising the importance of emotional intelligence and are giving more weightage to EQ than IQ, so it has become essential for us to focus on our emotional side also. But how to improve emotional intelligence? There are four important aspects of EI-
- Self Awareness- Learn to recognise your emotions, understand their origin and segregate them into strengths and weaknesses. Your body language, facial expressions and other nonverbal signals gives important queues to understanding emotions.
- Self Management- Here you need to balance your emotions. An important part in controlling your emotions is being able to recognise stress triggers and bring yourself back to calm and relaxed state.
- Social Awareness- It is about understanding other’s emotions, accordingly adapt and provide response. Keeping awareness about your surroundings, reaction of people is critical to providing a rational response to the situation.
- Relationship Management- Effective relationship management can largely define your success at work. So you need to give importance to building relationships, maintain existing relationships and manage conflicts effectively. Be open and agreeable to other’s suggestions, respect difference of opinions, accept your mistakes and show empathy to others.
So now we probably know why people who are academically brilliant are still unsuccessful at work or socially inept or fail at building good relationships. Even employers have now realised that skills like Maths, verbal, and logical reasoning are not enough to predict the ability of the employees. While IQ can get you in the company, but it is your EQ that will help you thrive in the job.