As a school, we believe that it is our responsibility to prepare you for what lies ahead. Whether its regarding your grades, your class presence, your university situation, or your potential career choice; we play a big role in getting you to your desired destination. This is primarily why most of your teachers and counsellors are constantly urging you to give your best and realize your potential. They want to help secure your future by pointing you in the right direction during your time at Cedar.

As you grow older, and graduate from university, you will realize that you are still on the path of learning. It doesn’t matter whether you are 16 years old, or 36 years old — the learning never stops! However, during your teen years, there is always this constant pressure to do exceptionally well. What we don’t realise is that this pressure can be toxic, and can sometimes even result in demotivation. Why? Mainly because every individual responds differently to a stimuli. While some may feel more pumped and perform better, there will be others who can’t handle pressure and in turn, their performance levels start declining.

So we just need you to remember this: do well in your life and career, and your IQ will undoubtedly play a vital role. What we don’t realise is that your IQ alone is not enough; sometimes, possessing EQ matters more than IQ. In today’s digital age, everyone has immediate access to technical knowledge. Information is on everyone’s fingertips, and anyone who wants to acquire knowledge or learn will do so. What you cannot acquire through books and all resources available online is people skills. ‘People skills’ are even more important now because you need to possess a high EQ to better understand, empathize and negotiate with others.

Your people skills officially translate into “Social Skills” : often the final piece of the emotional jigsaw. Social competence takes many forms — more than just being ‘chatty’. These abilities range from being able to tune into another person’s feelings in order to understand how they think about things and to collaborate with them. The problem is that these skills are not taught in any subject or course books, but in fact are skills that you pick up on over the years.

The term ‘Social Skills’ covers a wide range of skills which include:

Persuasion and Influencing Skills

Persuasion is an art of enthusing others and winning them over to your ideas or proposed course of action. People who are persuasive, or have influence, read the emotional currents in a situation and fine-tune what they are saying to appeal to those involved. Successful persuaders are individuals who have high self-esteem and really believe that they will succeed. Additionally, they understand how their audience thinks and have very strong communication skills.

Communication Skills

Communication skills are vital to high emotional intelligence. The ability to communicate information accurately, clearly and as intended, is an important life skill and something that should not be overlooked. You need to be able to listen to others, and also convey your own thoughts, and perhaps more importantly, feelings. Good communicators make sure they understand what is said, and seek full and open sharing of information. They are prepared to hear about problems and tackle these issues straight away. Communication includes interpersonal communication, verbal, non-verbal, listening and writing skills.

Conflict Management Skills

Conflicts and disagreements can arise at any time. The art of managing and resolving conflict is crucial in every walk of life. It starts with being aware of the importance of ‘tact’ and ‘diplomacy’, and how these can be helped to diffuse difficult situations. Good conflict managers are able to bring disagreements into the open, and resolve them. They use sharing of information to encourage debate and open discussion, helping each party to recognize each other’s feelings as well las logical position. You need to learn to resolve conflicts in a way that does not increase your stress levels.

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills and emotional intelligence are inseparably linked. As we discussed earlier, only those who are tuned into their own and others’ emotions can hope to influence. Perhaps the key aspect of good leadership is influence, and being able to take others along with you. Good leaders do not need to be in a formal leadership role to provide leadership. They support and guide the performance of their peers while holding them accountable; and more importantly, they lead by example. But you should know that there is not one right way to lead in all circumstances and one of the main characteristics of good leaders is their flexibility and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Change Management Skills

Everybody reacts differently to change. But more often than not, change can be quite stressful for some individuals. Effective change managers make change seem like an exciting opportunity rather than a threat. Those who adapt well to change tend to have higher emotional intelligence, and in particular, are resilient and motivated. They are able to accept change as an opportunity and view it positively. The idea is to keep challenging the status quo and then champion the change.

Building Bonds

It is important to be able to build and maintain relationships with others. In other words, build a rapport with people. Rapport is essentially getting along with another person, or group of people, by having things in common. This makes the communication process easier and usually, more effective. Sometime rapport happens naturally when you ‘hit it off’ or ‘get on well’ with somebody else without having to try. However, rapport can also be built and developed by finding common ground. People who are good at this are great networkers. It is very much about valuing others and being interested in them and wanting to know more about them.

Collaboration and Cooperation

This is a crucial skill for emotional intelligence. People who work well with others tend to see relationship as at least as important as the task in hand; they value people as much or more as the activity in hand. You should learn to actively collaborate, share plans and ideas and work together to deliver great results. In doing so, you will be promoting a cooperative climate in which everyone is invited to contribute. When good team-workers are in a team, the team performs better. They build a team identity and therefore foster commitment. Having people like this in a team is crucial to success.

This last piece completes our EQ jigsaw. Now, hopefully, you have a clearer idea of how important Emotional Intelligence is, and more importantly that it can be learned and acquired overtime. Life success is a result of many factors, but along with IQ and EQ there are other factors as well which influence your overall success such as health, wellness and happiness. So just continue working on and improving the skills that you already have and be happy and stay healthy!