Emotional intelligence – a blessing or a curse?

I don’t profess to have an extraordinarily high IQ, but I do believe I have quite a high EQ, or emotional intelligence quota. This is both useful and at times a cross to bear.

Certainly having an awareness of how someone is truly feeling and more importantly to pick up on this before they need to verbalise this can be useful. If there is a need to be insightful in a social situation and know how to handle it without causing further issues then it’s a great attribute to have. The problem comes when you can’t turn this Spidey sense off.

During my career I have worked for the most part in an office environment. As anyone who is in the working world knows, companies have their ups and downs. The ups are often suddenly announced and big things are made of them, rightly so. The less celebratory down events are not shouted about quite so loudly. Its more likely that an attempt to keep a lid on the bad news for as long as possible is the standard course of corporate action in this instance.

Having a reasonable high EQ means that I pick up on the brewing storm way before the thunder and lighting and heavy rain turns up. This has been a very useful trait which has enabled me to take effective action to either offer help to alleviate the impact, or if the problem looks beyond help, to take evasive action before it causes serious collateral damage.

Sometimes I am so surprised at the look on most people’s faces when a serious  bad news event materialises in the work space. Most people seem genuinely oblivious to the fact that it has been looming for some time. Although this is seemingly a very good self-preservation ability to have, it does have the potential to spawn anxiety and concern with things that are often beyond my control. The majority of people in the workplace seem to simply roll-up to their job, head down and don’t surface for air until the circa five o’clock barrier is lifted. I must admit, I am rather envious at times to the apparent worry free life this must bring.

I do think having an ability to tune-in to one’s surroundings is not a bad feature, especially when faced with a business scenario and trying to assess an unknown quantity, or even someone you may have known for some time, but just need to second guess their next move.

We know judging a book by its cover is not always a wise move when it comes to first impressions. Sometimes I have made a bad choice relying on my Spidey insights and I get it wrong, but for the most part it has kept me out of trouble. The only thing I do wish for is the ability to adjust the sensitivity of my EQ.

Opening up to the vibes around us requires sensitivity which I believe is a little lacking this day and age. Being sensitive means messages are magnified, sometimes this is useful, but when a blunt message is targeted directly at you, this amplification can cause irreparable damage. My long term goal is locate the volume control and turn it down from time to time. That’s got to be the best long term strategy.

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