The Idea: According to author and psychologist Daniel Goleman, “emotional intelligence (EQ) accounts for 80 percent of career success.” Do you know without a shadow of a doubt that your interpersonal communications are effective, and do you believe you have an accurate self-assessment of how you show up with others? Life, business, family and friendships are a juggling act of varied emotions, and one’s emotional intelligence is the glue keeping it all together.
How often are you in meetings encountering colleagues who prematurely jump to conclusions, demonstrate defensiveness, and assume the worst in others? It’s demoralizing to sit with know-it-all’s who hijack discussions and struggle to receive constructive critique from others.
People with high EQ rarely monopolize conversations nor do they interrupt others in mid-sentence; inspiring openness and trust. They embrace collaboration and demand constructive feedback. Individuals with high emotional intelligence infrequently sabotage relationships. They are skilled at knowing “when” and “how” to speak to others and are in control of their internal emotions.
Recent research by The Economist Executive Education Navigator showed that most executives don’t see themselves like their employees see them. Ironically, these executives are constantly seeking self-improvement, but they are focusing on the wrong areas. Executives regularly cited that technology and finance are two themes they most wanted to improve, while employees ranked leadership, emotional intelligence, and other softer skills as the attributes that need special attention.
Why is emotional intelligence misunderstood, and what is it?
Emotional intelligence or EQ is an idea introduced by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and brought to the mainstream by science journalist Dan Goleman in his groundbreaking 1996 book Emotional Intelligence.
EQ is defined as the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, and constructively assessing and influencing the emotions of others. Essentially, it is how you manage your own emotions and how you impact others in your life.
Goleman’s work has uncovered five streams of emotional intelligence characteristics that allow us to thrive and engage with others effectively:
- Self-Awareness: We must understand how we affect others, and if we are sending mixed signals or seem disengaged. Honestly assess your own interpersonal behaviors so you know when you’re overstepping or under performing in a relationship.
- Self-Regulation: Leaders must practice self-management and impulse control, monitoring what, how and when they say things. People want predictability, not chaos, from leadership.
- Motivation: Organizations need trustworthiness, clear standards, honesty, and integrity to thrive. Leaders who bring authentic inspiration create an atmosphere for growth and creativity. They motivate because they eliminate fear of failure (and negative repercussions) within their teams.
- Empathy: Being conscientious of other’s internal emotions and stretching them to new heights is a pillar of a leader with high EQ. The ability to put yourself in the shoes of another person and accurately anticipate their hidden emotional needs is tantamount to a superpower.
- Social Skills: In a high stress environment, listening, developing relationships, solving problems and building trust is essential to cultivating a high performing team. Good “people skills” are the glue that holds organizations together. If you don’t have great people skills, you are more than likely not optimizing your team’s performance.
Every time we don’t demonstrate self-control, we distance ourselves from our most valuable relationships. High EQ is the understanding that we build relationships by being present with others, while embracing our own insecurities. When we pay attention to our own (and others) emotions the more we increase our influence, and depth of relationships.
When has your emotional intelligence recently failed you?