Talking Emotional Intelligence With Dr. Girija Mahale


The students of the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication (SCMC) hosted Dr. Girija Mahale, the head of the Symbiosis Centre for Emotional Wellbeing (SCEW), for a guest session on September 14th, 2022. Having worked for more than 12 years in the field with expertise in youth mental health, Dr. Mahale has conducted numerous workshops on emotional intelligence, suicide prevention, psychological first-aid training, parenting, mental health awareness and stress management.

Beginning the session by asking the students to weigh in on the concept of emotional quotient, Dr. Mahale made sure they understood the difference between IQ and EQ. “IQ can be debatable, but EQ in a workplace is of utmost importance,” she said, as she went on to ask the students the challenges they face while working in groups. She then divided them into groups, and asked them to play out various scenarios that would help tackle the problems. While one group tackled the issue of lack of motivation, another was looking at addressing the problem of creative burnout as a team.

Dr. Mahale showed students various methods that can help them build character in the workplace. In moments of distress, we must identify the negative emotion, categorise that and give it a name, such as anger or frustration, and then determine the intensity of the emotion on a scale of 1 to 10. This process helps build awareness over time, she pointed out. “Don’t let your emotions take charge of you,” she added. Endurance, perseverance and resilience are the three keys to building emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Pointing out that emotional awareness is vital to create personality, Dr. Mahale listed the components of emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, empathy, motivation, self-regulation and social skills. Statistics show that only 20% of kids our age show empathy during distress, and they either show apathy or resort to sympathy. “Empathy validates others and makes the person feel acknowledged,” she said.

While pointing out that the use of emotional quotient has been linked to a more significant outcome of success, Dr. Mahale also acknowledged that success itself is subjective, and is more of a journey rather than a destination.

The interactive session helped students reflect on both their personal and professional facets of life, and its learnings will prove to be helpful even in the long-run as they embark on their career journey.

Mudiganti Shalini
(Batch 2023)