Before starting my MBA program at LBS, I heard people talk about emotional intelligence. However, I rarely understood its full meaning or how to manage and utilize it. Learning from our brush-up classes in our MBA has enabled me to understand the importance and essence of emotional intelligence and how to utilize it for my personal, professional, and career development.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to perceive, analyze, regulate, and manage one’s emotions and those of others. I used to find it difficult to manage my emotions, especially when I was hurt or negatively complimented. I usually respond by showing my feelings immediately and sometimes engage at the same level as the person involved. But now I know better. I have learned all the skills of emotional intelligence, which include but are not limited to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Self-awareness helps me perceive my emotions now and understand my tendencies across situations. Self-management enables me to use my awareness of my emotions to stay flexible and direct my behavior. Social awareness helps me pick up emotions in others and understand what is happening, while Relationship management shows me how to use self and social awareness to manage interactions.
Presently, I see things differently. I understand the importance of listening and paying attention to people’s points of view and contributions. The need for me to organize and process my thoughts before speaking. The essence of staying focused and composed. These have helped me get along well with others, express ideas, and information clearly, and manage interactions successfully. I can relate this to an encounter I recently had with a colleague when she called my phone for work-related issues and when we later met in the office. My new approach, response, and handling of issues made her give a surprising response to me; “Blessing, this MBA is doing wonders for you.” I now understand that most criticisms should be taken as feedback and ways of getting better.
Emotional intelligence is a major driving force in today’s modern organizations. It is the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence. It has been shown that leaders with high EI are better leaders, and this is reflected in their management styles. The “Miracle of the Hudson River” by Dr. K.N. Jacob is one such story where the captain of a plane saved 155 passengers from an emergency landing. His composure saved the day. People with positive emotions (EI) produce a higher level of engagement and get more people engaged and productive.
As humans, we need and use emotional intelligence in several aspects of our lives. Workers, managers, directors, and so on are hired for their skills and experience but fired for low or lack of emotional intelligence. A team can have everything going for it—the brightest and most qualified people, access to resources, and a clear mission—and still fail due to the leader’s or team members’ low EI. EI determines how far one can go in life.