Be logical, rational, and structured – we often hear these words from people around us. These words, over the course of time, have become synonymous with being successful at work/career. And in this attempt at becoming successful at every stage of our career what we often dismiss from our minds are the emotions. To run a successful organization, it is imperative for the leaders to have Emotional Intelligence (EI) – and EI is what differentiates a great leader from a good one.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills – Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others; The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving; The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.
How important is Emotional Intelligence at workplace? And is it necessary to be guided by feelings when it comes to taking vital decisions? Neeta Mohla, a certified Emotional Intelligence coach and facilitator thinks it is hugely important for leaders to develop their EI. Neeta is also the author of the book Human Drama Inc which categorically talks about this issue. And in a tête-à-tête with Neeta, we tried to decipher the reasons for writing a book on EI, and also how things can become better if we apply EI at work.
What is the relevance of EI for business organisations and leaders? Organisations are reluctant to adapt EI. How do we compel them to use EI?
Leadership is all about leading people, and people are not devoid of emotions. To engage your employees who are humans, you need to understand that they are guided by feelings. And sometimes these feelings are suppressed in order to logically think and work. This is where Emotional Intelligence of a leader comes in handy. S/He will know that suppressing feelings will impact on the productivity. People need to ‘feel’ right about their leader, and without emotional engagement between the leader and the employees, it becomes difficult to demand extraordinary results.
Just using data to come to a conclusion is not the way forward. When you are dealing with human emotions, it is imperative to include EI in it as well. Organizations are reluctant since we all see work as structured and devoid of any emotional connection. And that is where organizations lack. They fail to see that keeping emotions as part of work life will essentially unleash the true potential of an individual – talent-wise. What is important is leaders need to consciously use this powerful emotion and create that space where they can inspire people more.
You have written a book on EI in a story-telling format. Could you tell us the idea behind the way the book has been written? And why did you name it ‘Human Drama Inc’?
The best way to trigger your mind is through story-telling. It brings back memories and also establishes emotional connection between the writer and the reader. That’s why I chose to write in this manner with anecdotes – the Act 1, Scene 1 format is taken from the theatre since it’s where emotions are played out in open and on stage! People will be able to react and then there will be an impact.
Our lives are dramatic, and our workplace is not devoid of it. But we don’t relate drama with workplace because we always think it’s structured, rational and logical. When there are people involved, there has to be drama – and that’s why the name Human Drama, and the ‘Inc’ is because it’s in the context of corporate life.
What made you write this book?
The area of Emotional Intelligence is important and is not getting the required space since it’s not easy to measure. Decision-making is taken by just adding a few data which doesn’t take care of the emotions. And so many times, intuition or gut-feel is dismissed only because you do not have the quantitative data to prove your ‘feeling’. But essentially those intuitions can work wonders for your work. It helps in listening better to what people are actually saying, not become judgmental, better problem solving capabilities, dealing with complexity become much easier. In the emotional whirlpool that we create around us, it is crucial to express feelings maturely – and that is the way forward for organizations. That’s how the need to write this book came to my mind.
How can EI be a significant capability to address some of the current societal issues?
In so many ways. Today, it’s all about being forceful – it’s unreasonable most of the time. Being emotionally connected with each other, we can listen to more differences. We might not agree with all but it gives us the strength in our character to accept other views. There is a beautiful saying in Africa which us ‘Ubuntu’ – it’s a philosophy that considers the success of the group than that of an individual. And it says, ‘I exist because you do’. It’s a wonderful thought and that’s what emotional connection can achieve.