Emotional intelligence: Why it is highly valued

Society

Emotional intelligence: Why it is highly valued


eq

Summary

  • EQ refers to the ability to demonstrate self-awareness, awareness of others and authenticity, according to Genos International.
  • Other competencies of EQ are self-management, inspiring performance and emotional reasoning.
  • For starters, EQ allows professionals to relate better with their colleagues and to deal with pressure.

What is your understanding of emotional intelligence? How do you express it? Do you think it bears in any way in your career?

Findings of a recent joint survey by Genos International and Profiles International show that only 18 percent of professionals in East Africa have a ”high understanding” of emotional intelligence (emotional quotient or EQ) and what it entails.

The findings also indicate that 31 percent of others have only an average understanding of the concept. Four hundred and seventy-nine professionals aged between 18 and 65 in mid-level and senior management were interviewed during the survey.

Of the respondents who took part, however, 59 percent of them believe that EQ will be an important skill for professionals in the next five years.

But what exactly is emotional intelligence? How is it expressed? EQ refers to the ability to demonstrate self-awareness, awareness of others and authenticity, according to Genos International. Other competencies of EQ are self-management, inspiring performance and emotional reasoning.

After EQ, the respondents believe analytical thinking, creativity and original thinking will be critical skills for professionals. Others are original thinking, resilience and stress management.

So, why does EQ matter? Possession or lack of EQ affects your relationships, performance, attitudes and, ultimately, your career.

For starters, EQ allows professionals to relate better with their colleagues and to deal with pressure. It also helps managers to solve workplace in a more compassionate, conflict and effective manner.

Says Zuhura Muro, a human resource practitioner and coach: ”Emotions are a reservoir of information. Make anger your ally and interrogate it further.”

In his 1995 book ”Emotional Intelligence”, Daniel Goleman argues that this skill is more powerful in fueling career success and overall happiness in life than Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

For many years, this subject has fascinated HR managers as they seek to build teams with high levels of EQ for better performances. If IQ facilitates acquisition of hard skills in one’s career, EQ is responsible for soft skills that are now the rage in many career development programmes.

Perminus Wainaina, CEO of recruitment firm Corporate Staffing, laments that EQ is one of the areas that young professionals tend to overlook in their self-development. ”We are living in an ever-changing world that requires critical thinking to innovate solutions for different problems. Emotional intelligence is critical for this,” he says.

Some studies have even linked emotional intelligence with job satisfaction. Even better, unlike intelligent quotient which occurs naturally, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be acquired through training and constant practice.

It’s for this reason that researchers at Genos International recommend training for both leaders in organizations and their employees that incorporates elements of emotional intelligence. They also highlight the need for HR managers to invest in such training on an annual basis.

Did you know that stressful situations trigger a decline in emotional intelligence? Accordingly, the researchers point to the need to prioritise workplace support to help employees to deal with the ongoing economic hardships and social pressures that have been compounded by the pandemic.

How do you react to disappointments at work? Are you quick to anger? Do you take time to consider why people behave the way they do towards you? Speaker and mentor Albert Migowa weighs in on the subject, warning that aggressive communication and lack of empathy are indicators of absence of emotional intelligence.

Adds he: ”Waiting to respond instead of actively listening to people, being overly defensive and easily taking offense during interactions are all signs of poor interpersonal skills. Taking time to evaluate people’s emotions allows us to develop our own emotional stability and intelligence.”

Your journey to freedom starts when you start to cultivate emotional intelligence. This means you’re able to avoid overreacting to situations. You tolerate people and seek to understand their motives. When you keep your word, you become a better professional and human being.