Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is described as social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action (definition by Solovey & Meyer, 1990: Referenced from the paper Emotional Intelligence: What is it and why it matters by Cary Cherniss).

To understand emotional intelligence, consider this example: a top Indian software company hires two fresh graduates, Jay and Veeru, from a highly-rated engineering college. After four years of education and being in the classroom every day, they are looking forward to the professional world and some real action. They know they are supposed to have one month of technical training. Two days after joining, they are both gathered in a large meeting room and told that they'll have three months of technical training boot camp due to a recent policy change. Everybody, including Jay and Veeru, is frustrated at the thought of hours and hours of lectures and classroom time. Veeru stands up and asks the question, "Why did you hire us, if you think we need to be trained for so long?" There is a stunned silence in the room and then murmurs of agreement followed. Veeru is encouraged and adds, "You should not play with people's careers". The coordinator simply replies something to the effect of, this is a policy decision and they should talk to HR manager if they'd like to. On the other hand, Veeru's friend Jay asks a simple two-part question, "Can we have a choice of different courses, so we don't do exactly the same basic training and can we simultaneously work on a small real project on the side?"

Who do you think is more likely to succeed in future or turn out a better job performance? Frustrations and unexpected turns are part of any job today, especially when we deal with large, complex problems. Both may have similar grades (a measure of technical or academic capability) coming out of college, or Veeru may have much better grades than Jay. Veeru let his emotions get the better of him; he feels cheated and angry and is unable to control or channel the anger. He resorts to accusation and wrongdoing. Jay is not happy to hear either and is perhaps, equally frustrated. However, he tries to understand the problem a little more by trying to get some more background, and possibly find a solution in the given situation, where he has no control whatsoever. However, he does have control over his emotions.

It is argued that the EQ matters more than the IQ in long term job performance. While IQ and technical skills are important for getting into a job, once there everyone around may have a similar level of IQ. The differentiation and professional success is highly likely to come to people who are high on EQ.

Dr Goleman also describes the five dimensions of Emotional Intelligence in the Emotional Intelligence Competence framework. Three of these dimensions, self awareness, self regulation, and motivation, fall under personal competence, which determines how people manage themselves and two, empathy and social skills, fall under social competence, which determines how people handle relationships.

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