It’s exactly a year that the whole world came to a standstill owing to the spread of the Covid19 Virus which was spreading faster than rumors. People got infected so quickly, healthcare systems in several countries came under tremendous pressure. One could just watch in disbelief how areas got sealed and work came to an abrupt halt as people suffered and thousands lost their lives every day. It was a nightmare that we lived literally.
Working from home, many of them with reduced salaries, many families forced to spend time together and makeup with cranky kids who couldn’t go out and play but had to study before computer screens, elderly parents who were forced to stay indoors amidst fear of the virus, and an overwhelmed you, working from home, managing the house, and yet putting up a steely façade.
Wasn’t that a test of your emotional intelligence? Many of my friends confessed to feeling like running away from the chaos. That they felt vulnerable, anxious, angry, helpless, frustrated, overwhelmed, irritated, and lost. All of these and much more, perhaps.
It is here that emotional intelligence comes to the picture. It plays a pivotal role in enabling us to:
- Being stress-free
- Communicating with those around us better
- Enjoying life to its fullest
Then what happens when we have a low emotional intelligence?
- Snapping up at people
- Feeling vulnerable at small things
- Experiencing anger, hatred, jealousy and competition about colleagues, classmates or friends and relatives
- Not being able to contain negative emotions in time at the required place
- Work getting affected because your emotions overpower your performance
- Inability to gel with people and form relationships that require to have an open attitude
- Having few friends and acquaintances owing to your emotional immaturity
If you’ve been following with the recent trends, you know well that companies today gauge a person not by his/her educational qualifications but more for emotional intelligence and skills. Having a high Emotional Quotient implies that you care suitable to work in diverse areas under all kinds of circumstances. When you are emotionally not strong, it can lead to several problems that affect your
Physical health – emotional outbursts mean you are unable to handle any adverse situation. This leads to stress that impacts your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and can suppress the immune system and lead to heart attacks or stroke. People who frequently feel angry and jealous, fearful or guilty develop stomach ailments like ulcers and liver disorders.
Mental health – problems like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem can directly impact work and life. The inability to get along with people with different temperaments, to understand people, and to form healthy relationships means that you are left out of social groups that otherwise help in developing a healthy personality.
The new era post the covid lockdown will demand us to be stronger in terms of emotional intelligence, lest it impacts our lives in an adverse way. It is pertinent to understand what this is all about
What Emotional intelligence entails
- Strong self-awareness- not just about the way we think, behave and feel, but also the way we interact with other people and go about our everyday work. We need to seek help from others, delegate tasks that we cannot do or which others can do better, and at the same time, ensure that we help others and are efficient in getting things done.
- Social awareness is the ability to gel well with people around you, in your close circle of family, friends, and colleagues, and with others beyond that- like clients, staff, and acquaintances. Initiating to help must come naturally and not something deliberately done. Empathy is an asset for a leader who understands his team well.
- Self-management is crucial, in that it requires a person to identify, label, and control emotions that are not socially appreciated in specific situations, in the order of priority. Adapting to change, keeping that upbeat attitude and leaving your wayward emotions on a leash helps a long way
- Leveraging social awareness for your benefit ensures you work with teams and let them grow as you do too. Learn to manage conflicts and bring harmony. That is a true sign of a leader.
A lot hinges on the way you allow yourself to respond to stimuli. People resort to reacting rather than responding and that aggravates problems. The lockdown has brought several people to the brink of tolerance and hence they snap, get irritable, and cranky. Reacting to people’s negative emotions leaves a negative spiral along the way and helps none. Rather, understanding the root cause and first identifying that people don’t behave the way they do because they love to be that way, and responding before reacting, salvages many a troubled relationship.
Communication is another key to strong emotional intelligence. One must consciously develop a positive vocabulary so that when you want to criticize also, you will use phrases like ‘Can we see if it can be done better’ when all you want to say would have been ‘I just hate what you did’. Rephrasing sentences yield great outcomes because you have already identified your emotions and controlled them through words that you use. Lest the other person picks up your negativity and reacts badly, it helps to alter your phrases instead.
Oftentimes we behave and feel based on our past experiences. We are wired to react rather than pause to ponder and respond. Saying or doing something that would lead us to repent later is a lost case. As humans, we must be aware of how our psyche is shaped. We can rise beyond our personality types and try and change ourselves to serve us better. An emotionally weak person will soon find himself sidelined from the circle of friends and his workplace because his emotions overpower his performance. No one would want to be in such a situation, ever, would they?
Additional reading: Do glance through some seminal works by Daniel Goleman who brought the subject of Emotional Intelligence in focus through his books. You can check his works here
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