I want to share about a topic and concept that physicians and healthcare administrators use daily without even realizing it, and that is emotional intelligence. So what is emotional intelligence, and why does it matter in the field of healthcare?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. The Harvard Business School published research that determined that emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) counts for twice as much as IQ and technical skills combined in determining who will be successful.
That’s an interesting statistic. Now that I’ve defined emotional intelligence, in what scenario would you need to use it or already use it? Here are a few topics that come to mind, but I imagine the complete list would be much longer.
- Giving and receiving feedback. During clinical rotations, you will always be in situations where you will receive feedback and sometimes asked for feedback. Feedback can be tough to receive, even when it is constructive and polite.
- Challenging relationships. On rotations, chances are there might be one rotation or two where you don’t get along or see eye-to-eye with every resident, attending, or even fellow peer. That can be challenging.
- Meeting firm deadlines. If you’re leading a student group/organization, and if you’ve got deadlines to meet set by the parent organization or specialty department, that can be really stressful especially if everyone on the team isn’t bringing their “A” game. EI is extremely important in this case.
- Change. Change is hard. It’s hard for everyone. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. However, change can be good. You learn to become stronger, flexible, and adaptable.
- Setbacks and failures. This is also extremely difficult. If you’ve made it to medical school, chances are there are very few times you’ve ever failed or never for that matter. Failures are just tough all around, but you learn resiliency and grit—both invaluable to building EI.
Do you agree with Harvard Business School’s research statistics? What are your thoughts on EI?