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LEADERSHIP | Why smart people sometimes look stupid

LEADERSHIP | Recent behavioural research has shown that emotional intelligence is an important determinant of success in both our personal and professional lives.

Emotionally intelligent people are adept at handling their emotions – strong mental or instinctive feelings such as love, fear, hope, anger and sadness – in ways that enhance their work productivity and quality of life around them. They use their emotions intelligently to guide their thinking and behaviour to attain the desired results.

On the other hand, there are numerous cases of smart people with high IQ who behave stupidly in emotionally-charged situations. The lack of emotional intelligence often results in their emotions working against them with unproductive outcomes. In the words of Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and a leading authority on emotional intelligence, “Out-of-control emotions can make smart people stupid.”

I once worked under a boss who often shouted abusive and vulgar words at his subordinates when overwhelmed with anger. He was also unappreciative and had poor interpersonal skills. Due to his low emotional intelligence, he was greatly disliked by most people in the organisation.

Fortunately, our level of emotional intelligence is not fixed at birth. It can be learnt and enhanced. One can become more emotionally intelligent by learning and practising the skills of...

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