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Jan de Jonge

Expert Opinion: How Emotionally Intelligent are you?

Have you ever encountered the self-confident individual in the workplace who appears to ooze assertiveness, optimism, natural leadership and, just to top it all, appears eternally contented? You quite enjoy their company, albeit begrudgingly, and envy pours out of every pore in your body.

Can you make decisions? Or do you fluster around the room in a mild panic, asking rhetorical questions, hoping that all the collective information you gain will lead you to the correct decision, not realising that apart from confusing colleagues with your indirect, vague blubbering, you will end up hyperventilating in the corner with a brain more addled than before – you only wanted to suggest that you all stop for lunch!

There are other people who can make a snap decision with absolutely no consideration of the implications for those around them. Not considering others can cause endless anxieties and sometimes venomous repercussions rebounding back on the decision maker. Learning to just pause and ‘put yourself in the other person’s shoes’ can prevent unnecessary conflict.

Out of the three extreme examples mentioned above, you can imagine which behaviour shows the highest Emotional Intelligence and which would make a happy, productive workplace.

In both our private lives and at work, our emotions, thoughts and feelings are important. Being aware of and able to manage our self-perceptions, our thoughts and how we express ourselves to the outside world affects how we cope with the challenges of our jobs, our daily tasks, our colleagues and clients.

Our social skills influence how we perceive others around us and how we are perceived by others – colleagues, friends, family – everyone.

Our emotions impact on our ability to lead healthy lives. Emotional Intelligence is about optimism, self-regard, assertiveness, empathy, stress management, decision making and impulse control.

Behaviour that is emotionally intelligent can be trained and exercised. The crucial first step in developing emotional intelligence (apart from a dose of willingness) is increasing awareness of one’s Emotional Intelligence.

This will create room for increased effectiveness and well-being of individual people, the teams they are a member of, and the organisations they work in.

People Business Psychology Ltd offers support in this development process. For more information about the role of Emotional Intelligence in business, and how to develop it, contact us at 02034 783 253 and visit

with thanks to Debbie Southerton