Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to comprehend emotions of oneself and others to make an optimal decision. The measure of EI is Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Simply put, emotions are a source of information; they tell you ‘WHAT’ you are feeling. If you can decipher your emotions to understand the ‘WHY’ behind your feelings, you may be able to eliminate bad feelings.

Similarly, if you can understand the WHY behind WHAT others are feelings, you can work to eliminate the bad feelings between them and you!

An emotionally intelligent person recognizes his and others’ feelings, understands what they are trying to tell him and acts in the best interest of all to reach a win-win decision.

Note that a person with a strong EQ is an excellent judge of behavior; he can empathize with others, understand what they want and recognize why they act in a particular way.

Just imagine if you were able to know why the interviewer is asking you a particular question and what he is expecting as an answer. It would make you score every single time!

To add to that, you would not be anxious or nervous because you would be sure that you have given the interviewer what was expected from you! Wonderful, isn’t it?

Emotional intelligence is an awareness – a person with a high EQ cannot necessarily manipulate others but can only understand them well and work for the overall betterment of all parties involved.

Improve your Emotional Intelligence

How to improve your Emotional Intelligence

Follow these simple steps to improve your EI and better your EQ;

STEP 1: Awareness
To recognize what you’re feeling is the first step towards improvement. We all have feelings but the degree to which we feel and react is different.
For example, all of us get nervous before an interview; but while some take a deep breath to calm down, others stutter or have sweaty palms. The feeling of anxiety is common, but the degree to which one is affected, depends on the individual.
STEP 2: Analyze
Investigate what factors make you feel the way in one way or another; and what specific factors can heighten or lessen the feeling.
Interestingly, you will often find that it is things about you and not about the external environment that make you feel in a particular way.
For example, in a job interview you are ‘aware’ that facing the interviewer you will get nervous; now try to go a step further and find out what exactly about the interview (or interviewer) makes you nervous.
Nervousness in an interview can come from our lack of preparation, fear of the unknown, or need for the job. There may be other reasons specific to you (which you will discover).
STEP 3: Monitor
Track the factors that have an impact on your feelings. This will confirm your analysis and give you a measure of the most influencing factors.
For example, during an interview, if you constantly feel most nervous when the question revolves around your past employment, then you know what you have to get comfortable with – your professional history.
STEP 4: Improve
This is easily determined after you have monitored your feelings for some time. The challenge arises in making the changes that are needed. For example, when you realize that questions around your professional past make you most nervous, you have to take steps in controlling your anxiety. This comes with being prepared (which you will be able to do based on your awareness) and then reviewing your past to prepare for awkward questions.
STEP 5: Manage
Constant reminder to oneself of the awareness is important. This prepares you for a certain type of feeling when the relevant external circumstances are born. You can then calmly control your ‘expected’ feelings without reacting as much as you would otherwise.
For example, when an interviewer asks you about a past employer (your nervous question) you know it is awkward for you but you have also prepared yourself for it. This will make you seem relaxed and less jittery than otherwise.

A common method of controlling one’s feelings it to count to 5 before reacting. This gives you enough time to avoid a knee-jerk reaction.

Once you have mastered your own emotions, you can start to recognize how and why others react.

To effectively gauge others, you will have to apply steps 1-5 (above) to your audience group and put yourself in ‘their shoes’.
For example, take the scenario of the interviewer questioning employment history. Ask yourself ‘why is the question being asked?’

If you are always being asked that question, then there may be something on your resume that prompts such a question. If not, then your industry / profile may warrant such a question.

Another example is of salary negotiation. We want the maximum while the employer would look at our ‘market price’ range and then make an offer. An argument with ‘I want more’ doesn’t go too far; try to understand where the Interviewer / HR are coming from.

What has resulted in the vacancy and what specific skills are needed. In addition, considering the organization’s background, the team’s composition, etc. will give you a clear idea of what specific needs you can address and negotiate better.

To summarize, Emotional Intelligence teaches you to understand and control emotions. Master it to save yourself from living on an emotional roller-coaster.


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