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  • Writer's pictureShaiklal Basha, Lead Consultant, TranscendOrg

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is often referred to as Emotional Intelligence (EI), as the terms are interchangeable.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognise their own emotions and those of others, differentiate between different feelings, use emotional information to guide their thinking and behaviour and adjust their emotions to adapt to the environment or achieve their goal.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a testing measurement of our ability to understand and apply our own minds emotionally. Although a comprehensive ambition, EQ testing is meant to reveal how well we have learned to manage the harmful and helpful effects of emotions for the purpose of facilitating healthful thoughts, communication, and behaviour.

Emotional quotient, strictly speaking, is the measure of emotional intelligence.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence appeared as a missing link when researchers found that people with an average Emotional Quotient (EQ) outperformed those with the highest IQ. Till then it was assumed that IQ is the sole criterion for success. Research by the respected Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) says that the three main reasons for failure are difficulty in handling change, inability to work well in a team, and poor interpersonal relations. The higher up one is in an organization, the more crucial emotional intelligence is, as its impact is greater and felt throughout the entire organization.

Research by the Carnegie Institute of Technology showed that 85% of our financial success is due to skills in “human engineering”, personality, as well as the ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. It found that only 15% of it was due to technical abilities. Nobel Prize winner, Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust, than with someone they don’t, even if the other person is offering a better product at a lower price.

Competencies to Enhance Individual Emotional Intelligence

Experts have identified a few core competencies that enhance an individual’s emotional intelligence. These are:

  • Self-awareness

  • Handling emotions

  • Self-motivation

  • Empathy

  • Resilience


This is the ability to recognize your feelings and understand your emotional reactions, and how they influence your behavior and performance. It helps you get an idea of the perception they create in other people’s minds. A self-aware person is both confident of his own abilities and mindful of his current limitations.

Being self-aware means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and it means behaving with humility.

How to improve self-awareness

  • Keep a journal – Spend just a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts, this can move you to a higher degree of self-awareness.

  • Slow down – When experiencing anger or other strong emotions, slow down and try to examine why. Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how to react to it.

Handling emotions

People who know how to manage their feelings can keep calm under tremendous emotional pressure. This is essential for being a responsible employee, who doesn’t shirk from being held accountable for the team’s performance. This also prevents one from taking hasty decisions which one might regret later.

How to Handle emotions

  • Know your values – Have a clear idea of values which can absolutely not be compromised. Spend some time examining your code of ethics. When one knows what’s important, one doesn’t have to think twice when faced with a moral or ethical decision – one will automatically make the right choice.

  • Hold yourself accountable – Don’t blame others when something goes wrong. Make a commitment to admit mistakes and face the consequences, whatever they are. You will probably sleep better at night, and you'll quickly earn the respect of those around you.

  • Practice being calm – In a challenging situation, be very aware of your actions. Don’t relieve stress by shouting at someone else! Practice deep breathing exercises to calm yourself. Try to write down all the negative things, then tear the paper up and throw it away. Expressing these emotions on paper (and not showing them to anyone!) is better than saying them aloud to the team. This helps to challenge the reactions to ensure that they're fair!


The ability to motivate yourself in the face of adversity is the hallmark of a perseverant individual. People who can put a positive spin on their negative emotions and be high performers are prized in organizations. Self-motivated employees work consistently toward their goals, and they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.

How to improve motivation

  • Re-examine your job – It's easy to forget what you really love about your career. Take some time to remember why you wanted this job. If you are unhappy in the role and struggling to remember why you wanted it, find the root of the problem. Starting at the root often helps look at the situation in a new way.

  • Make sure that your goal statements are fresh and energizing.

  • Know where you stand – Determine how motivated you are. Be hopeful and find something good; motivated employees are usually optimistic, no matter what problems they face. Adopting this mindset might take practice, but it's well worth the effort.

  • When facing a challenge, or even a failure, try to find at least one good thing about the situation. It might be something small, like a new contact, or something with long-term effects, like an important lesson learned. But there's almost always something positive, if you look for it.


Empathy is critical for managing a successful team or organization. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in someone else's situation. It helps develop the team, challenges those acting unfairly, ensures constructive feedback, and is a good lesson for those who need it.

If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, show them you care by being empathic.

How to improve empathy

  • Put yourself in someone else's position – It's easy to support your own point of view. After all, it's yours! But take the time to look at situations from other people's perspectives.

  • Pay attention to body language – Perhaps, when listening to someone, this is your posture – crossed arms, moving feet back and forth, or biting lips. This body language tells others how you really feel about a situation, and the message isn't positive! Learn to read body language as it can be a real asset and help you determine how someone truly feels. This gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately.

  • Respond to feelings – You ask your assistant to work late – again. And although he agrees, you can hear the disappointment in the voice. Respond by addressing his feelings by appreciating him for being willing to work extra hours and say that you're just as frustrated about working late. If possible, figure out a way for future late nights to be less of an issue (for example, give him Monday mornings off).


Resilience may be defined as the ability to adapt and bounce back when things don't go as expected, by acknowledging the situation, learning from mistakes, and moving forward, without dwelling on failures.

How to build Resilience

  • Adapt to the changing environment – Embrace the change, be optimistic, learn new skills, understand that change is constant and have a positive attitude.

  • Improve communication skills – How well do you communicate?

  • Build better relationships with the teamBuild strong relationships with colleagues. Give and receive support during times of personal difficulties.

In a recent study, it was concluded that leaders who use their emotional quotient to foster a sense of caring and engagement with their teams deliver significant bottom-line results. Teams with higher engagement are:

  • 50% more likely to have lower turnover (work gets done faster)

  • 56% more likely to have higher-than-average customer loyalty

  • 38% more likely to have above-average productivity

  • 27% more likely to report higher profitability

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