NEW DELHI: Building, maintaining and sustaining good relationships is very important because in our personal as well as professional life, we need to continually influence and persuade others. We do not work in isolation and need the support and cooperation of others as much as they need ours. While it is critical for our personal and professional success, building strong interpersonal relationships is very challenging for many of us.
Emotional intelligence, however, can help us in forging strong interpersonal relationships. According to Daniel Goleman, “Emotional intelligence is the capacity of recognising our own feelings and of others for motivating ourselves and managing emotions well.”
Emotional intelligence begins with understanding our own self — our feelings and emotions. It is important to be aware of our emotions and correctly identify which ones we are feeling. Along with this we also need to understand the cause of those emotions. This is important because until and unless we do this, we cannot deal with them intelligently. Also, we must be aware of our strengths and weaknesses because only then will we be able to make appropriate responses.
The second aspect obviously is about dealing with our emotions. Feeling in a particular way is natural and normal — what is important is for them to be channelised and managed positively. This can be done through positive thoughts and self-talk. Taking responsibility of our emotions and not blaming others for them helps achieve this. With patience and resilience, it is possible to exercise restraint at the critical moment and to then channelise the emotions in a positive manner.
Another very critical dimension of this second aspect is our ability to motivate ourselves despite all challenges and setbacks that we face. Again this becomes possible only when we look within for solutions as well as inspiration. Most relationships are adversely affected by emotional reactions. Practicing the above ensures positive responses even in the most stressful situations, thereby leading to better relationships.
Emotional intelligence has a third dimension as well — that of being able to understand the feelings and emotions of others. Understanding the situation and difficulties of others works in more than one way — it helps us get a clearer picture, makes us more tolerant and builds confidence in the other person that we care for them. The more we remember that everybody is different with different response mechanisms, the more realistic our expectations from others will be. The more we look at things from the other person’s perspective, the greater the compassion we feel for others. Listening to others helps a great deal.
However, until and unless we are aware of our own self and emotions, we cannot be aware of the emotions and feelings of others. Self-awareness facilitates empathy and compassion, which in turn facilitates strong interpersonal relationships and better social competence. Working with emotional intelligence leads to a win-win situation for all.
(The author is learning and development professional and the chief synergist of Kiai Peoplez Solutions at Delhi. She can be reached at email@example.com)