Emotional Intelligence [EI] in Corporates: The Simplified Explanation, Relevance and Downside
Nitin Balyan

The modern-day information overflow ensures a short life for most buzzwords. As a result, many fade away, and others merely stick around without practical utility. Only a few manage to capture our imaginations for a sustained period. Emotional Intelligence [EI], sometimes used interchangeably with Emotional Quotient [EQ], has stood the test of time as arguably the most talked-about set of words that separates great from good and average performers at all workplaces, including corporate setups.

“9 out of 10-star performers have high Emotional Intelligence, and those with strong Emotional Quotient but average IQ end up outperforming the ones with better IQ nearly 70 per cent of the time.”

One can certainly indulge in fascinating debates about EI’s origins, from ancient history to the 70s or 90s, starting from Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences to Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. However, such academic discussions serve little purpose unless they focus on contemporary real-world professional scenarios.

With no dearth of self-proclaimed management gurus or resources on the net to help dig deeper into the subject, how many amongst the corporate workforce are able to cut the clutter, explore beyond the jargon, grasp various nuances, extract the benefits of intangible Emotional Intelligence, and realise its pitfalls?

The current global IT news cycle revolves around ChatGPT, AI tools with enhanced human intelligence, and their potential impact on our ability to use Emotional Intelligence. Therefore, it made sense to collate all there is to know about EI, summarise, and concisely present it in a structured manner leading to significant value-additions for corporate aspirants and insiders.

Emotional Intelligence Basics: Feelings Meet Thoughtfulness

  • Emotional Intelligence or EI, at its core, starts with employees’ and corporate entities’ self-awareness or self-perception of their emotions.
  • It is the ability to recognise, understand, regulate, manage, train, appropriately handle, express, and use one’s feelings.
  • The capability to identify, read, interpret, evaluate, motivate and influence one’s own, co-workers’, stakeholders’, or customers’ emotions.
  • Reasonably demonstrate and skilfully communicate messages.
  • Empathetically and strategically navigate professional conversations, relationships and transactions.

Emotional Quotient: A Measure of Emotional Intelligence

  • Emotional Quotient, or EQ, measures one’s Emotional Intelligence.
  • Reveals skills for managing the beneficial and harmful effects of emotions.
  • Implies the ability to nurture healthy thoughts, communication and behaviour patterns.

4 Prominent EI and EQ Focus Domains for Corporates

  • Self-awareness, to know and understand one’s own feelings.
  • Self-management to sufficiently regulate and express emotions.
  • Social awareness, to read emotional cues from team members, direct reports, supervisors or leadership, and adapt/adjust own behaviour.
  • Relationship-management to establish trust, build confidence, resolve conflicts, and encourage others.

Top Emotional Intelligence Competencies for Professional Success

  • Emotional self-knowledge and self-control.
  • Positive outlook, flexibility, adaptability and teamwork.
  • Achievement orientation and organisational awareness.
  • Coaching, mentoring, empathy and conflict management.
  • Influence and inspirational leadership.

EI and EQ for Improving Business Communications

  • Emotional Intelligence points out the direct link between one’s feelings and how he/she communicates at any given time.
  • It lets you keep an adequate check on emotions.
  • Allows calmness, listening, patience and reflection under pressure or during difficult conversations with co-workers.
  • Makes you acknowledge, affirm and empathise with employees.
  • Adds to self-restraint before responding and diplomatic skills while being calculatingly assertive.
  • Prepares you for asking open-ended questions.
  • Translates into a collaborative rapport with teams, stakeholders and senior management.
  • Stops you from taking things personally.
  • Develops long-lasting, fruitful working relationships.

Emotional Intelligence Toolbox: A Must for Corporate Workplaces

Emotions leave footprints on every individual’s thought process and decision-making abilities, and those with corporate jobs, management responsibilities or leadership duties are no different. Considering their competitive and critical functions, mastering EI is no longer a choice.

  • Emotional Intelligence leads to vigorous impulse control.
  • Provides an advanced understanding of the psychological states of others and specific emotions guiding decision-making processes.
  • Encourages active listening and timely self-regulation and reiterates optimism.
  • Refines interactions with others.
  • Boosts productivity, interpersonal relationships and team/organisational performance.
  • Expands networking opportunities.
  • Rewards with promotions, lucrative earnings and growth opportunities.
  • Increases workforce engagement and reduces employee attrition.

EI and EQ’s Undesirable Aspects

Every human trait brings its fair share of grey areas and drawbacks. Overall, Emotional Intelligence can undoubtedly be described as a force for good. However, obsessive attention to it may create the following challenges for corporates across sectors:

  • Less-than-necessary levels of nonconformity and unconventional outlook.
  • Unwillingness to challenge the status quo or established norms and drive change.
  • Lower creativity and declining innovation capabilities.
  • Complexities in giving and receiving negative feedback because of elevated interpersonal sensitivity.
  • Reluctance to make unpopular choices.
  • Exaggerated reliance on emotional aspects of communication at the expense of logical factors.

Remember, fostering a cohesive, emotionally intelligent corporate environment or culture often starts from the top, and it is maintained by strategically communicated insightful team-building practices.

About the Author

Nitin Balyan is a seasoned thought leader and a noted ‘Sales, Marketing and Skill-development Evangelist’ with almost two decades of global exposure to supply-chain, retail, project and certified technology service management. Nitin is an articulate and tactical high-performance people manager, presently shaping Vinsys’ worldwide B2C, B2B and Federal Businesses as a Strategic Director.

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