Much like how blood flows through our body to keep it functional, technology is the lifeline that runs our workplaces. However, the more technologically dependent we become, the more we realize the importance of emotions in everyday life.
In the workplaces of today, performance and mental wellbeing are closely related. They are not just a function of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) alone. Emotional Intelligence (EI) also plays an indispensable role in defining how people fare in their lives. It also trickles down to their professional success and that of the organization. This makes it imperative to understand EI's importance in our professional and personal lives.
"Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." - Charles R. Swindoll
This 90% pertains to EI where you understand and showcase your emotions to induce positivity in social interactions around you. The people with stronger skills in this thrust area are more adept and resilient, adjusting to challenges and staying motivated.
EI or IQ: Who wins?
Undoubtedly, in addition to IQ, EI has significant importance in every aspect of life. Both ensure we become not only successful professionals but also balanced human beings.
There has been much debate on what has more weightage – IQ or EI. Most people would place their primary inclination on IQ. However, from my perspective, a good IQ will get you only to college or the first job. Eventually, it is EI that helps manage your career, stress, or emotional wellbeing even later.
Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who expanded on Peter Salovey's and John Mayer's research , deduced that IQ accounts for only 20% of a person's success. The remaining 80% depends on EI.
What are the common interpretations of EI?
Many people associate kindness and empathy as the key pre-requisites for EI. While these attributes may be valid to an extent and in specific scenarios, they may not be the only required ingredients. An empathetic leader will consider the opinions of team members while making a decision. Any decision will be seen as an act of kindness only when it favors the team instead of the business. It is important to understand 'how' a leader communicates with the team and takes a call in the interest of the business, even after factoring the opinion of the team.
Another perspective is that being nice is ideal for everyone to work and grow comfortably. But the big question is - who are we nice with? For example, some leaders are extremely polite to the senior management, constantly nodding affirmatively and unquestionably to everything. But the reporting team members are hardly consulted or involved in the decision-making process. They are asked to complete their tasks within stiff deadlines. Moreover, the leader can be evasive and might avoid confronting team members with probing questions. This results in a disgruntled team environment.
Both the above ideologies discount the foreseeable possibility of conflicts and confrontations, which are part and parcel of any human interaction, irrespective of the setting.
What are the competencies for balanced emotional intelligence?
The umbrella term of EI has many mutually exclusive competencies:
- Self-awareness: How much one knows about himself or herself.
- Self-management: How much one controls and restrains himself or herself.
- Social awareness: How one understands others and his or her ecosystem.
- Relationship management: How one deals and conducts with people in different situations.
To develop a balanced EI, one must have a decent level of strength in all these competencies.
How can you develop and enhance your EI?
Broadly, EI comprises these four competencies. You can work on them in the following ways:
- Self-awareness: You need to understand your emotional response and reaction to situations and how it affects the people around you. You can regularly recall and list any incidents and your thoughts/reactions around them for self-analysis. Doing so consistently will broaden your horizon and enhance your self-awareness. You can also ask for feedback from people around you, as it can be a great source of insight. Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and evaluating your emotions and feelings (if they fit the current situation) will manifest into an appropriate action or behavior.
- Self-management: Self-management is all about channelizing your emotions effectively. When you are in a comfort zone and your mind is at peace, the ability to think clearly and make rational decisions is at its peak. Stressful situations may change the way we respond. Think about a time when your emotions got the better of you and made you react impulsively. You can then work on tweaking how you can respond better to a challenging situation. Mastering the art of self-regulation will help overcome difficult situations and make you more influential towards people.
- Social awareness: This deals with the ability to understand how others are feeling and the cues received from nonverbal communication or what we call body language. By looking at a person, one can deduce if a person is happy or perturbed and then tailor your actions and responses accordingly. Once you learn to read people through their body language and look at things from their perspective, you will be in a better position to interpret the situation and conduct yourself accordingly.
- Relationship management: This competency can be termed as a blend of the previous three skills. After you have understood people's expectations by your enhanced level of social awareness, self-control and self-awareness will facilitate an environment of mutual trust. Besides this, you need to pay emphasis on effective communication. You will be able to foster long-lasting interpersonal relationships and establish deeper trust. Key abilities such as conflict management and influence also form an indispensable part of relationship management.
Once you master these skills, handling any difficult situation or collaborating with people without any manipulation will be a cakewalk for you. EI is a critical building block in leadership where you need to lead from the front and deal with many different personalities. It addresses any frictions and conflicts arising out of a difference of opinion healthily.
How is emotional intelligence deep-rooted into Nagarro's culture?
Our unique way of working and cool culture transpires into enhanced emotional maturity, professionalism, and work-life balance. As the basis of our identity, CARING forms a set of core values of Nagarro. It includes being empathetic, respectful, and non-judgmental. CARING is an acronym for six core values - Client-centric, Agile, Responsible, Intelligent, Non-hierarchical, and Global - that are part of our organizational DNA.
These values are not just meant to be on paper alone. They constantly manifest themselves in our initiatives and activities. Nagarrians can seek feedback from peers and even from people who are external to Nagarro.
We regularly host various behavioral skills and social sciences sessions conducted by seasoned instructors and life coaches. They share the nuances of these skills from a practical standpoint and reveal the secrets to imbibe them as an individual. These workshops sensitize everyone on the importance of emotional intelligence and its inseparable relationship with organizational success.
Most important of all, a keen sense of finding a breakthrough opportunity in the face of ambiguity, speaks volumes about Nagarro's emotional maturity and positivity. We have a DNA of innovation and creativity which is evident in almost every business opportunity we touch upon.
In a nutshell
EI is an integral part of our lives, and it is imperative to understand it well. The silver lining is that it can be developed consciously through consistent efforts of introspection in all four competencies. Cognitive intelligence and a high ethos of professionalism can aid in a successful life. Topping it up with a decent level of EI can help you maneuver your actions appropriately and sail through difficult situations relatively easily.