This course intrigued me from the moment I saw it on the timetable because I wandered why it was to be discussed in class. Living in a traditional Nigerian society, the concept of emotional intelligence was foreign to me especially as a topic for discussion in class. One reason for that is because the course required a lot of self-reflection, to point out my inadequacies and that is never comfortable. However, I found the session really insightful and I learnt a lot about myself from the sessions.
All of my life the focus of almost all education I had received both formal and informal had focused on my IQ and it’s improvement or usage. Emotional intelligence, however, was developed in passing and rather poorly or slowly. Emotional Intelligence or EQ is the ability to manage your emotions in a positive way that brings ease to communication, builds relationships with people you interact with and helps you empathize with other when it is necessary. With this in mind and knowing that I had never consciously worked on my EQ before now, I guess I can proudly say, I communicate adequately and I have some degree of empathy. However, building and maintaining relationships is just too much work.
Now, especially after the self-evaluation exercise, I see the benefit and importance of EQ. I scored averagely in three of the four branches of EQ; self-awareness, self-management and social awareness. Even when I asked the people close to me to evaluate me, they all came up with similar scores. Some people rated self-awareness more than social awareness and others felt my strength was self-management. However, without exception, every person I gave the evaluation sheet rated relationship management as my weakest. Now that became a cause for concern.
When I started this MBA program, I never thought I would encounter a course that would essentially tell me, “you need to treat people better”. I had never been one to mince words, being blunt and direct was the most comfortable way for me to communicate. I say what I mean and mean what I say. There’s hardly ever the opportunity to misinterpret my words. This approach frequently got me into tense situations with my colleagues and frankly I was not much bothered by it, till now.
Needless to say, I have made a mental note to improve on my relationship management. What I have noticed is that I am very economical with words. Hence, I will fid the fewest possible words to say what I need to say. This approach may sometimes come off as rude or insensitive. I am now learning that there are ways to make the same point without outrightly sounding too blunt, rude or even timid. I have not yet had the opportunity to practice being direct without being rude but I am definitely looking forward to those tense moment I used to create with my words. I hope that when they come that I handle them differently.