Let’s face it. We’ve all met someone who was “smart as a whip” but lacked certain social graces or was “clueless” when it comes to understanding how his words or behavior impacts others.
You know: the scholarly neighbor who bombs out at cocktail parties due to
off-color remarks or jokes told in poor taste, to the alienation of others.
Or the successful business executive who publicly berates his restaurant waiter for his order, not recognizing that what he could potentially be “served” once his plate is returned from the back kitchen might be even less appetizing.
Or the writer whose published blog rants come across as immature, irrational and irrelevant to his readership.
Truth is, although Emotional Intelligence is a very important type of “aptitude” it’s sorely lacking in far too many folks. Which is why learning to cultivate it can give you a competitive edge in your career, solidify relationships, and help you to make “smarter” choices to enhance your quality of life.
WHAT IS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE?
The concept was introduced by psychologists Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey in the early 1990’s. Essentially it involves, “recognizing, understanding, and influencing the emotion of others.”
It also entails recognizing and governing our own individual emotions.
The English Oxford Living Dictionary Defines it as : “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically: emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.”
Whether we realize it or not, Emotional Intelligence impacts many areas of our life and ultimately our bottom line. In fact, research from Harvard Business School demonstrated that EQ counts for twice as much as IQ and Technical Skills in determining who will be successful!
WHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE MATTERS
With all the advancements and advantages technology brings, it can’t compensate for poor manners, bad choices, or lessen “the fallout” from not knowing how our actions impact others. And there’s no “app” for that!
Emotional Intelligence, therefore serves as an important footstool to elevate our social standing and enhance our personal and professional relationships.
Accordingly, here are a few practices and principles to consider:
THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK…
While most of us would agree that complete candor is a really cute quality in children, we typically expect grown folks to possess the maturity and emotional intelligence to know better, demonstrate proper discernment, and observe some type of respectful boundaries.
But, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. For some people, what comes up comes out; they say exactly what they feel.
Be forewarned: saying anything that comes to mind can brand us grown-ups as uncouth, unkind, and even cause irreparable damage to our relationships.
Even the Good Book tells us that “the power of life and death is in the tongue.”
With this in mind, here are a few tips to becoming a classier communicator, to preserve your relationships and good image:
*Consider the nature of the relationshipIn law there’s a term referred to as “standing” that applies equally well here. In other words, what right do you have to say what you have on your mind? Is your relationship a close one that merits getting “personal” with the other person? For example, my friend Lil and I share things in the spirit of “sisterhood” that I wouldn’t typically share with all my other girlfriends–based upon a long friendship and trust.
*Consider the timing
Say for instance, a friend is dealing with the devastation of a recent split with someone she truly cared for. Is this really the right time to confess her man once tried to hit on you?
*Consider the setting
Whenever possible, avoid criticizing and correcting others in a public forum. It’s rude and potentially embarrassing.
*Consider the consequences
Though the “truth may set you free” it may also “liberate” long-term friendships. Proceed with caution.
*Consider the usefulness of the information
Is it something the other person has control over? If not, “mum’s the word.”
Remember, although we are privileged to live in a country that enjoys freedom of speech as an unalienable right, freedom ain’t always “free.” Choose wisely.
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is an award-winning blogger, relationship columnist and author of the Ebook, “Get Smart”– How to use Emotional Intelligence in a Technological World.”
Learn more at her top blog for writers: Penandprosper.blogspot.com