s040163 400x265Why bother with Emotional Intelligence?

Who do you think of when asked about great leaders from the past?  Nelson?  Churchill?  These leaders were bold, brave and tough.  They showed a great sense of purpose and resolve.  There was no messing with them!  But I imagine that they were quite difficult to get along with.

Today the qualities required of leaders are very different.  They are required to lead a workforce that expects to be empowered and consulted.  They must provide opportunities for growth, challenge and development.  All the while, leaders must be ready to take full responsibility when things go wrong.

Clearly success requires more than traditional skills & intelligence (IQ).  This is true of leaders, managers and every member of the workforce.  Each person needs to deal with the emotions related to their work, both their own and others.

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others & influence their actions.” – John Hancock

This is where the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) comes in.  Originally coined by two American psychologists, John Mayer & Peter Salovey, they defined Emotional Intelligence as:

The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.

According to Daniel Goleman, competency research in over 200 companies and organizations worldwide suggests that about one third of the difference in job performance is due to technical skill and cognitive ability while the remaining two thirds is due to emotional competence.  In top leadership positions, over four fifths of the difference is due to emotional competence.

There are 4 main elements of Emotional Intelligence:

  • Perceiving emotions – the ability to perceive emotions in oneself & others as well as in objects, art & events.
  • Using emotions – the ability to generate, use and feel emotion to communicate feelings or employ them in thinking or creating.
  • Understanding emotions – the ability to understand emotional information, how emotions combine and progress and to reason about such emotional meanings.
  • Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in oneself and others so as to promote personal understanding and growth.

The key thing is that each of these elements can be developed.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses now enables you to decide which areas need further work.  You have the ability to improve your EQ.