Working With Emotional Intelligence


Words: Paribha VASHIST

Most of us think that being intelligent guarantees success in life. There is, ironically, a hazy ambiguity in the idea, yes, because it isn’t easy to define ‘intelligence’ and ‘success.’

When we talk of intelligence, it is generally keyed to intelligence quotient [IQ] — the ‘measured’ credo of our reasoning ability. However, in so doing, we end up disregarding yet another important determinant —emotional quotient [EQ], or our ability to manage emotions.

Having emotional balance is so important that without it we may not be able to realise our intellectual potential. Constant negative thoughts, or the inability to cope with stress and communication barriers, likewise, act as impediments in exercising our mental faculties.

Now, consider the term, ‘success,’ or accomplishment, of a certain aim, or purpose. Without the right approach and mental fortitude, we wouldn’t be able to relish success when we achieve it. The inference is simple. It is only when our mind, body and soul are contented, can we flourish, in the truest sense, while making this ‘happy trinity’ our most accurate description of success.

Dr Daniel Goleman, PhD, the noted psychologist and best-selling author, who pioneered the idea of emotional intelligence Emotional Intelligence (EI), also illuminated its importance in achieving excellence. He contends that Emotional Intelligence (EI) competencies, such as self-awareness, self-management, empathy and relationship management, make us able practitioners of the art of living.


When we are self-aware, we understand our strengths and limitations well enough, and we are also cognisant of our inner and outer feelings. Having this competency helps us to optimally deal with our emotions. To get started, we should SWOT-analyse ourselves — in other words, assess our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Socrates’ timeless aphorism, ‘Know Thyself,’ ought to, therefore, be our guiding light in this process. We should note too that when we are fully aware of ourselves, would we be able to feel more confident about our actions and make the most appropriate decisions — in word and deed.


Remember that it is only when we don’t melt under pressure and are calm in crises would it be possible for us to deftly handle challenges and control distressful feelings. A corollary to this is possessing a good time management habit — adhering to deadlines and not piling up work till the last moment prevents stress. So, it’s always best, also convenient, to list down pending tasks and make a ‘to-do’ list on a priority basis. Moreover, it is imperative to also optimally regulate our feelings and spend some time considering the consequences of our actions. This helps us to build strong interpersonal relations.


Picture this important snippet from a conversation in Harper Lee’s milestone novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” What does this connote? That it’s essential to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes in order to look at problems from their perspective. In this way, we can ‘read’ situations appropriately and gauge the actions of other individuals — at home, or the workplace.

It’s customary for us to criticise others for what they do, but we never consider the circumstances driving them. Looking at their actions from a macro-level makes us realise the inconsequential nature of our worries, or preconceived notions; also, bias. Practicing the art of listening to their concerns, with empathy, can sure help us to avoid common misconceptions and also misunderstandings. 

Relationship Management 

This is also known as ‘friendliness with a purpose,’ or getting the desired responses when working with others. Relationship management can be used to influence those around us too — to make a good decision. By accurately sensing others’ reactions to a situation and by fine-tuning our own response to their reactions ensures too that the interaction moves in a positive direction. This acquired skill enables us, no less, to resolve conflicts effectively. The moment we sense a conflict is forming, we can either pre-empt it, or take the right step to turn the situation into a more affable, responsive framework.

This isn’t all. When we actively take into account the emotions of others, while working in a team, we can get the desired results without sweating the big stuff, as it were. However, we ought to make sure that the one critical determinant of our success, in this regard, is having clear channels of communication.

It is imperative to underline the fact that when Dr Goleman quantified the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) competencies in the context of one becoming a more “emotionally intelligent person,” he also laid just as much emphasis on our committed effort and active involvement — whatever our position be in terms of hierarchy.

The bottom line is simple, also profound. The onus is on us to initiate the process of developing our EI abilities, in the best manner possible. This is the best way to commence our journey, surmount obstacles, and achieve what we want to — for a higher purpose in life and also career.

PARIBHA VASHIST is a first-year Bachelor of Economics student at Gargi College, University of Delhi, New Delhi. A voracious reader and a naturally gifted writer, Vashist is zealously passionate about international economics, environmental policy and sustainable development. She wishes to effectively disseminate, in her own simple, yet profound way, scientific knowledge and policy tools to bringing about a positive, healthy change in our increasingly madding world.

4 thoughts on “Working With Emotional Intelligence

  1. Subhash Sharma says:

    I enjoyed reading your interesting, well-articulated and informative article. It is, indeed, true that the path to ultimate happiness requires a holistic approach, along with a fine balance of mind, body and heart. Kudos!

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