By Shubika Bilkha
After my column that released a few weeks ago titled, ‘The Importance of Building Your EQ’, I received a number of messages/calls from concerned parents who expressed their displeasure with our educational system that they felt was doing little to build emotional intelligence (EQ) in their children. I also received messages from several executives and entrepreneurs, who at a later stage in their career realized that honing their EQ skillsets was a key determinant to their professional success.
In the recent weeks in India alone, the concept of EQ has garnered a fair amount of media attention with Tech Mahindra letting go of the Diversity and Inclusion (DNI) Head on account of discriminatory statements and demonstrably low EQ. In more recent local news, a school in Mumbai faced parental flack as they mandatorily introduced a unique program to assess students with a view to develop their emotional quotient. The parents felt that apart from additional fees, a low understanding of the system and the agency, assessment of a 4 year olds strengths and weaknesses seemed unreasonable.
In July this year, the Dalai Lama inaugurated the Happiness Curriculum initiative to be implemented across government schools in Delhi. The Happiness Curriculum is a form of value based learning expected to inculcate mindfulness, values and activities that help students manage their life better.
In my previous article, I emphasized that both ancient philosophiesand management theories talk about the importance of emotional intelligence as the intangible differentiator of success and happiness, over and above intelligence. Surveys conducted by the likes of TalentSmart support this argument with findings that EQ is the strongest predictor of performance explaining 58% of the success across job roles. A quick look into the YouTube channel of The School of Life with their 4 million+ subscribers tells you how their focus on improving emotional intelligence is met with great appreciation across their target audience. From Vedanta lectures, to the Art of Living, to Sadhguru’s discourses, and many more, the messaging around us is about improving our EQ to lead a better quality of life.
While the components of EQ seem fairly intuitive and not particularly novel in their approach, why is there a sudden buzz about its importance? And if we are low in EQ can this be inculcated and how and at what age or stage? And is building EQ the responsibility of parents, the school or the individual?
Six Seconds, a not-for-profit Emotional Intelligence Network, that tracks Emotional Intelligence levels in 100,000 people across 126 countries through an online test has in their 2016 annual report highlighted that EQ scores are on a decline across the world. Experts have attributed increased stress, anxiety, reliance on technology and the growing role of social media as some of the reasons for this decline.
At a recent lecture that I attended on EQ in the Workplace, it was highlighted that general behavior that was acceptable even at our father’s time would most likely be condoned in the world of work today. This is because as hierarchal organizational structures diminish, there increased sensitivity towards workplace equality, the digital medium gives people an increased voice and industries are constantly disrupted by newer left field players, the dynamics of the workplace has changed significantly.
If educational systems across the world have integrated EQ within their curriculum and the outcome of improved EQ leads to greater professional success, happiness and a better quality of life for the individual, it is only time that our school system wakes up to its relevance. If EQ building means improved resilience, empathy, self-awareness, time management, regularizing emotions and more, then perhaps parents, educators and all stakeholders need to be briefed about its pertinence to avoid resistance?
And for those of us who grew up without an EQ curriculum at school or for parents and recent graduates, it’s about time that we took a little effort to inculcate these skillsets in ourselves through the volume of ready resources available!
For more information on ‘Building Your EQ’, please feel free to reach out to me via my social media channels or on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author- Shubika Bilkha has an ideal blend of corporate experience and entrepreneurship in India and Internationally. Her experience of over 12 years spans the finance, technology, ecommerce, education and real estate sectors. As the managing Director of two early stage start-ups in technology and education, she has hands on experience in strategy, execution, operations management, marketing, sales and customer experience, HR, recruitment and finance.
Shubika is a published author and a prominent media spokesperson for the real estate and education sectors having contributed to publications, portals, panels/events, the radio and television channels in India. Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.