More than just brains

The opening sentence of Emotional Intelligence at Work: A Professional Guide captures you from the word go: “What do love, happiness, fear, hate, shame, disgust, surprise, sadness and anger have in common?” asks Dalip Singh whose book caters to the younger community fresh out to grab jobs, those who already have the jobs, as well as those who are in the flux of leaving or finding new work.

Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is increasingly being recognised as a key determinant to professional success in the high-stress work environment of today. The book has tried to understand and manage these emotions. Singh, a trained psychologist, is apt with his description and examples throughout. He describes emotional intelligence as consisting of three psychological dimensions — sensitivity, maturity and competency — which motivate individuals to maximise their productivity, manage change and resolve conflicts. It should be noted here that emotional intelligence does not show up on IQ tests and needs to be viewed from a social angle.

The case studies provided by the author lead to conclusions applicable in the Indian work place. But then they are not much different from the Pakistani scenario. Recommendations on how to manage emotional upsets, control anger, develop high self-esteem and empathise with others, are also elucidated. The practical exercises on how to develop emotional intelligence in the workplace are quite helpful also.

The case of Mischel, a young school boy who distributes sweets among a group of four-year-old school children, shows how some of the kids consume the sweets 15 to 20 minutes later. In comparison some wait only for a few minutes while some of them wait for Mischel to return. Some of the children sing, dance, tap their feet and enjoy themselves while they are waiting in order to resist the temptation. These are the ones who were found as to be able to handle life’s frustrations in the best possible way. It is an experiment that proves that behavior is not directly linked to IQ but rather an emotional intelligence or quotient which varies from one person to the next.

The actual percentage of how much EQ and IQ affects a person is around 20 to 80 per cent. That is to say that one depends more on one’s emotional reserves, such as maturity, competence and sensitivity in accordance to external or internal stimuli, to get by in life rather than his basic intelligence. With such a stark difference, it comes as no surprise that people working in fields like engineering, law and other such technical lines, even with their higher IQ levels, do not utilise EQ as prevalently as say a journalist, writer or a healthcare provider would. “In the corporate culture, IQ gets you hired but EQ gets you fired,” says Singh. Young people should know this well. Between ages 18 and 25 when one is either studying, graduating or in a job, EQ plays the role of a harbinger, a measuring scale for the type and kind of job they would get and how they would be able to cope with it in the long haul.

Here Singh says, “Emotional intelligence is a basic right mixture of the head and the heart … what is the head without the heart or vice versa? In order to know whether one believes in the whole process, a complete assessment of the personality is needed. An emotionally intelligent person knows when to speak his heart or when to speak his mind while keeping accuracy, logic, timing and fact above everything else.

So in a corporate set-up “you need more than just brains to run your business.” It is the sign of a wise and professional businessman or employer (even) to be clear of thinking, have a strong memory, demonstrate strong decision-making skills, work effectively with subordinates and create strong interpersonal relationships among employers. This rule applies to the hierarchy of success anywhere in the scheme of an organisation.

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