Emotional awareness determines one’s success | Sunday Observer

Emotional awareness determines one’s success

Do you know of people who seem to be in control of their circumstances? It looks as if they know what to say or do at the right time, and are good at understanding how others feel. Such people are not only able to manage their emotions for their benefit, but also to help others.

As a result, even when solutions are not found, their customers/clients leave their presence without being offended or upset, but hopeful and optimistic. This way, they create customer loyalty, a high performance culture and competitive advantage.

Daniel Goleman, a renowned psychologist called this ability ‘emotional intelligence’ (EI), and said 80% of adult success comes from being emotionally intelligent. People get hired for their IQ, skills and knowledge, yet, they get promoted for emotional intelligence and attitudes.

Statistics point out that 75% of career derailments are caused by lack of emotional competencies, inability to adapt to change, difficulty in eliciting trust and inability to lead teams during difficult or challenging times satisfactorily.

Goleman found out, the higher one climbs the corporate ladder, the greater the level of emotional intelligence that is required. Around 85% of leadership competencies are in this domain. He also identified that the skill that distinguished star performers in every discipline was not IQ or advanced degrees but emotional intelligence. So, what exactly is emotional intelligence and what can we do to improve our EQ?

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to recognize, manage and communicate our emotions and respond appropriately to accommodate the emotions of other people.

It has major domains such as: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy and motivation.

Researchers have found that more than IQ, our emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings is the factor that ultimately determines our success and happiness in every aspect of our lives.


Self-awareness is the ability to look at your own self honestly, identify the impact your emotions and feelings have on others and understand the limitation of your strengths and weaknesses. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback from others about your leadership skills and areas where you need improvement.

Respond effectively to such feedback, work on your areas of strengths and go for the low hanging fruits or easy wins. This will build your confidence and motivation.


People who are good at self-regulation are able to control their emotions in difficult situations. They demonstrate a positive, motivated and energized behaviour. They do not allow themselves to become discouraged with past failures or mistakes, but rather, learn from them. They continuously build their skills, keeping abreast with industry and market trends, motivating them to meet challenges head-on.They do not give in too much to emotions such as, anger, jealously, fear or sadness, but adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

To take control of disruptive emotions and impulsive decisions, apply reason and long term perspectives. Do not ruminate when you are sad or emotionally down. Reframe your thoughts to help overcome negative emotions.

Social skills

Our emotions and emotional filters are created by what we have been through in life. What our parents, peers and others might have said tend to affect our lives. Prejudice and bias are dislikes imparted by our family or upbringing based on their opinions.

We need to adjust our style, so that it fits well with others. Do not allow bias and prejudice to rule you. Instead, judge yourself and you will not be judged. It will help you to understand why you feel the way you do. It will help you to avoid stereotyping and judging others too quickly.


Empathy not only helps to identify ourselves with other folks, their needs, and perspectives, but also, respond effectively by helping and supporting them appropriately.

This will enable us to learn the art of valuing and appreciating people as they are and make an effort to understand their feelings, even when those emotions are not much obvious.Empathy will also help us to balance our desire for achievement with the need of others’ desire for accomplishment, by cultivating opportunities for others to enjoy the spotlight, giving them a chance to shine.

Acknowledge the view of others: if you have to offer criticism, be specific; offer a solution, do it face-to-face and be sensitive.

Use your emotional intelligence to inspire and develop others, to influence organizations, to create high performing cultures where people know they are in control and are cared for, valued, and motivated.

(The writer is an HRD & Business Psychology Practitioner) 


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