The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

7 May
Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

I recently found a link online to UC Berkeley’s online quiz, part of their Greater Good project. It is a test of how one reads other people, as a way to gauge one’s emotional intelligence. And I have been thinking a lot about emotional intelligence lately, as I ponder which skills and abilities I have that would lend themselves to the right career.

I had a moment at my job a couple of weeks ago where I was asked to help construct chairs. It involved using tools and being handy, and it was not exactly up my alley. While I was attempting to be of some assistance, I noticed that our new secretary was sitting at her desk with tears rolling down her face. I promptly invited her to go out to get coffee, and she agreed, and as we left the office she told me what was bothering her. In that moment I thought to myself,this really reveals my stengths and weaknesses. The prospect of working with my hands, being handy, makes me nervous, simply because it has never been my forte. Yet I believe that emotional intelligence- recognizing the emotions of others and responding appropriately- is a strength, one that frankly I think is more important in life than many others.

Note in the post below that I try to figure out what happened to the company morale at my former employer, and there was a realization that my own emotional intelligence would not be rewarded.  You look around and see the qualities being rewarded, and they are not qualities that you have, or would want to have. In professional and personal settings, emotional intelligence is of the utmost importance; luckily there is a growing body of research supporting this. I admit that I could improve, especially since I only scored 15 out of 20 on the quiz. Sometimes it is difficult to know not what others are feeling, but how to respond to them. Someone starts to cry- do you hug? Let them cry it out? Different people respond different ways. I try to recognize what others want in the moment. Sometimes you can just tell when someone wants to be alone.

This last weekend I was with a friend and her three year old daughter at a children’s birthday party, and it gave me great satisfaction that I was able to calm her down when she geot fussy and turn her cries into giggles. These little victories reinforce how satisfying and necessary it is to comfort others. Let’s all endeavor to improve our emotional intelligence and respond better to others so that they may respond better to us.

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