Do you have low EQ?

By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

People with low EQ often struggle to understand and control their emotions. They might lash out reactively without understanding what they are really feeling or why they are so upset. A person who lacks EQ might also have unexpected emotional outbursts that seem overblown and uncontrollable.” – Google Dictionary definition.

Now and again, my wife has remarked that I have low EQ. On occasion, I get angry with my kids before understanding what has transpired. I often jump to conclusions and blame them for something which ends up being an accident. Of course, I would then have to apologise and have to make it up to them with an ice-cream or some other treat. In the workplace, I have been known to become quite defensive. Whilst I gladly accept constructive feedback and criticism, I often end up trying to defend my decisions when it is not really necessary.

‘With great power comes great responsibility’ – a line from one of my favourite movies, Spiderman. Being a leader in the community means one has to be accountable and responsible not only for one’s actions, but also for the actions of those around you. One is constantly under the microscope and judged for everything one does. It’s not that I take things personally however because I take such immense pride in my work, I try to ensure that everything goes to plan. So even when an event may experience technical issues beyond my control, I still feel as though I am being judged for something going wrong. Hence the defensive stance.

Back to the point around having low EQ. I think that much is based on circumstance. I seem to respond differently to my family compared with staff, suppliers, partners and clients (community members). I may often snap at my kids which I know is wrong. However, when a supplier messes up, I don’t react in the same way – I try to understand what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what the solution is to rectifying the error. Why do I not use this same approach with my kids? This is an interesting question, and perhaps the answer is that my kids will always love me and accept my apologies. If I scream at a supplier or if I am rude to a member of the community then – well we all know how ferribles can go. It will take a lot more than an ice-cream to patch things up.

I definitely don’t have emotional outbursts as per the above definition. To the contrary, I tend to remain calm and not show my emotions all that often. Come to think of it, the only time you will hear me screaming at the laptop for freezing, ranting at the television whilst watching Manchester United or cursing something when I stub my toe, is around people who I am comfortable with. Which is why my family bear the brunt of any outbursts, as well as some of my friends and my team at the Board.

Do I have low EQ? I think that is a difficult question to answer and I will disagree with my wife. I hope she neglects to read this article otherwise I may need to buy a double scoop of cookies and cream ice-cream! There will always be times when we cannot control our emotions. There will always be an instance where we jump to conclusions and assume the other person has done something wrong. The important thing is that we admit we are wrong and apologise to those who were offended. Next time someone does that to me, remember, I like chocolate ice-cream.

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