What is Emotional Intelligence, and why is it important? My name is George Harrison and I’m a Senior Compliance Analyst in the AT&T Global Supply Chain. Whether it’s been during my 10 years here at AT&T, my involvement in countless community organizations, or through the passion I feel working with youth for decades… there are a few key skills I find to be priceless.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) has been instrumental in the success of my journey.  One definition of EI/EQ is, “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. While some of these component characteristics may sound easy enough to show, that isn’t always the case. In our professional and personal lives, we are often under constant and/or sustained pressure. We all have deadlines to meet, expectations to exceed, and targets to surpass. We want to do our best to please people, produce positive results, and bring value to what we do. It’s important for us to keep a few things in mind. What is the overall goal? Maybe you have a project to complete for work. Perhaps you’re coordinating a large-scale community event. Remember that there are some things which you can control, and others you just can’t. You know your strengths and skills; but you may not know what your business partners’ workloads and priorities are.  What if that “perfect venue” you booked for your high-profile event is now scheduled to undergo a 6-month renovation? Expecting the unexpected will help you to better handle those unexpected hiccups that inevitably arise. Even though you know that you’re going to deliver on time no matter what, stay flexible and be ready to make the necessary adjustments.   Never let them see you sweat.

Another example of EI or EQ is empathizing with others. At the end of the day, we are all human beings trying to do and give our best. While we are laser focused on what we must do and what we need from others, we sometimes forget that those same people have things to accomplish which are important to them. What is considered a key deliverable for the Sales team may not be on the radar of the Compliance group. What’s number one for you may not even make the top 5 for the folks you’re counting on to support your efforts. Communicating the interlinked objectives gives us the chance to all get on the same page, and to understand the agendas of our collaborators. Realizing the stress your colleagues are under allows you to see the bigger picture and get another perspective of how to be the best partner you can be. We all have a job to get done, and we all want to deliver the best results to our boss, team, community, and family. Taking the time to try and understand how your needs and my needs can best fit together can result in some amazing success stories and develop an on-going network of supporters and partnerships. Try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask how you can help create a Win/Win situation.