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Emotional Intelligence: Why It Is More Important Than Ever

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Is More Important Than Ever

By Julia Henderson, CFO

Our world has never felt more uncertain. Every facet of our lives feel fraught with emotional discord. We miss connections with family and friends and a sense of normalcy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have witnessed social injustice in our country and the subsequent protests and riots. Political views vary widely and people have become overly emotional with the presidential election looming. It’s become more important than ever to recognize emotional intelligence and make sure it is present in our daily lives.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use and manage our emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Easier said than done, right?

In order to achieve emotional intelligence we have to understand our emotions and manage them in positive ways. We should take time throughout the day to check in on how we are feeling. Are there situations occurring that are causing feelings of anger, anxiety or stress? If so, it’s important to stop and recognize those emotions and how they are affecting our daily interactions. Once we are aware of them and how they are affecting us, the emotions are easier to control.

When emotions control us instead of us controlling them, situations can escalate into conflict. The likelihood of a good outcome when we get to this point is nil. Find ways to relieve the stress and avoid the conflict by taking a break and give yourself time to process the emotions until you can resume your activities in a calmer frame of mind. Most importantly, don’t answer that email, make that phone call or respond to that social media post until you reach this point.

Once we understand our emotions and how to control them, we are better able to communicate with others. We all know communication is the key to strong relationships, whether at work or in our personal life. So when we are able to communicate effectively without the emotions driving the narrative, we can defuse the conflict and forge stronger relationships.

Another aspect of emotional intelligence is being able to empathize with others. It is the ability to put yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage not just your own emotions, but the emotions of others as well. Empathy allows us to further develop relationships and solidifies a connection to the other person, which is very important these days.

When all the pieces of emotional intelligence come together, challenges are overcome and problems are resolved. Conflict is a normal part of our lives, now more than ever, but if we manage it in an emotionally intelligent way, it will allow us all to grow as people and strengthen the bonds that hold us all together.