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Top Five Emotional Intelligence Moments of 2013

In honor of our fifth consecutive year of compiling this video list, the bright minds behind TalentSmart have narrowed down 2013's five most memorable displays of emotional intelligence (EQ). Some are shining examples of EQ in action, while others illustrate how quickly trouble can find those who lack this critical skill.

#5 - Emotional Baby

Ten-month-old Mary's passionate response to her mother singing Rod Stewart's "My Heart Can't Tell You No," took the Internet by storm this year, and has gained over 26 million views since October. Mary's overwhelming reaction to her mother's emotional rendition reminds us how directly our mirror neurons mimic the emotional states of those around us, especially for children, who soak up their parents' emotions like sponges.

#4 - Traveler's Rage Caught on Tape

Air travel can make you feel like you want to explode, but the rare individuals who do typically play some part in creating the situation that sends them over the edge. Such was the case for Yan Linkun, a mining company executive and Chinese government official who went ballistic after missing his second flight in two days. The reason? He and his family had left the gate to eat breakfast, only to miss the boarding announcement for their 1 p.m. flight. His frightening emotional hijacking drew a crowd and we hope was something he will long regret.

#3 - Colombian Orphan Steals the Pope's Thunder

In this video, Good Morning America anchor Lara Spencer shares the story of a little boy's hilarious interaction with the Pope. We found the Pope's patience and understanding remarkable, and given that the occasion was The Meeting of the Families, it was only appropriate that the Pope made the wayward boy feel right at home.

#2 - Skateboarder Crashes into Child, Gets Punched in the Face

Professional skateboarder Leland Goldberg was shooting a video segment at a skate park in California when a little boy wandered into his path and was knocked to the ground. The boy's mother returned Goldberg's sincere concern with a push and a punch in the face. Her motherly instincts contributed to an emotional hijacking that only made a bad situation worse.

#1 - CEO of AOL Fires Man in Front of 1,000 of his Coworkers

When AOL CEO Tim Armstrong crowded into a conference room last August with more than a hundred employees of his news subsidiary Patch (and several hundred more joining the meeting via telephone), people knew that he was going to deliver serious news. Armstrong presented a message of commitment in the face of consolidation, but then sullied his speech by impulsively firing Patch's creative director, Abel Lenz, for taking a photograph. To make matters worse, when Business Insider played the clip for a former AOL employee, he said the speech wasn't even the worst behavior he'd seen from Armstrong.

As a leader, your actions set an emotional tone for your organization. Unfortunately for Armstrong, his rash firing of Lenz completely undermined the commitment he hoped to inspire in Patch employees. As Maya Angelou said, "People will forget what you said and did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."