Neuroscience of Emotional Intelligence (EI)

It’s very likely that you have come across the term ‘EI’ or even ‘EQ’ quite frequently in recent times, especially as part of corporate soft skills training calendars. What exactly is EI / EQ or Emotional Intelligence / Emotional Quotient, and why is it much hyped of late? Read on to find out.

Consider this real life scenario: A sudden change at the top management level resulted in ‘nil appraisal’ (read zero increments) for all the team members at ABC Corporation. In the absence of lucrative alternate job options, most team members were forced to continue working, albeit grudgingly. As for the team managers, it was business as usual and pressure to achieve organizational goals was at its peak. Stuck between junior teammates who were not bothered and the top management that didn’t care, the managers had no choice but to deliver results, come what may.

There are two popular ideologies to tide over such situations –

I. “Shape Up or Ship Out!” Announce that those who don’t perform may simply resign

II. “Don’t Burn Bridges!” Reason with the junior team in all earnestness about the need to perform as long as they are employed and ease out the transition process

How do you think a team manager with comparatively higher EI would respond? (Hint: Tactful is the way to be)

Ponder over the following 5 characteristics of Emotional Intelligence that would be covered during any standard business soft skills training program to enhance Emotional Intelligence:

1. Self-awareness: Be able to accurately recognize your true emotions, strengths, limitations, and how these affect others around you.

2. Self-regulation: Harness the power of Positive Imaging; look at the positive side of things and conduct yourself accordingly.

3. Empathy: Attempt to feel the emotions that those around you are experiencing.

4. Motivation: Do whatever it takes to keep those around you pepped up and putting their best foot forward.

5. Social Skills: Be known as an accommodating and adaptive person, as against being ‘stuck-up’.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is closely interlinked with a fair understanding of how the brain works and the neuroscience behind it. An interesting analogy equates the following:

Brain = Management | Body = Workforce | Heart = Workforce Representative

Earlier, human behaviour was described only in terms of stimulus and response. However, with advancements in psychology and neuroscience, it has been inferred that there are several stages of information being filtered, by way of our Attitude before being processed as Feelings, Emotions and Thoughts. Factors such as Knowledge and Action being controlled by mutually exclusive parts of the brain namely Neocortex and Limbic region, have provided clarity as to why forming good habits take diligent effort despite having the best intent.

Simply put,
• EI is about Attitude
• EI is about Relationships
• EI is about Awareness
• EI is about Practice
• EI is about Self-Management

Clearly, Emotional Intelligence is not an optional ‘extra’ for leaders, considering the fact that it unlocks one’s untapped potential and helps translate it into effective performance. By identifying the underlying attitudes that underpin an individual’s thought process, it is possible to help them make sustainable behavioural change.

Effective Leadership skills training guarantees outstanding results; enroll for one today!

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