Sometimes, EQ is more important than
Emotional intelligence a good predictor
of leadership skills
Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Why do some people always seem to succeed
at work, while others of equal -- or higher -- intelligence
Is it luck? Looks? Nepotism? More than likely it's the emotional
intelligence factor. Emotional intelligence, often referred
to as EQ, is a set of abilities that lets you form optimal
relationships with yourself and others. And research shows
it can be a far better predictor of life success than IQ.
"In the fields I have studied, emotional intelligence
is much more powerful than IQ in determining who emerges as
a leader," says William Bennis, an internationally renowned
author and leadership expert. "IQ is a threshold competence.
It might get you into a certain field, but it doesn't make
you a star. Emotional intelligence can."
In his book "Working with Emotional Intelligence,"
Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and CEO of Emotional Intelligence
Services, contends that among the pool of people smart enough
to handle the most cognitively demanding fields, IQ has the
least power in predicting success.
The higher the intelligence barriers for entry into a field,
the greater the impact emotional intelligence has on success.
Portland, Oregon-based human resources expert Lori Kocon
says she has seen this phenomenon play out repeatedly -- especially
over the past four years. "During the '80s and '90s an
unprecedented number of people went on to get MBAs and postgraduate
degrees," she says.
"While in the past, this helped them advance in their
careers, today with so many people having the same high levels
of knowledge and technical expertise, this route has reached
"What sets people apart now are their abilities to manage
themselves and develop productive relationships with others.
It all boils down to being emotionally intelligent."
At its simplest, emotional intelligence encompasses
1. Self-awareness: Recognizing your emotions
and their effects; knowing your strengths and limitations;
and having a strong sense of your capabilities and self-worth.
2. Self-regulation: Managing your moods
by keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check; and
channeling your feelings and resources to enhance your performance
3. Self-motivation: Knowing how to use your
emotions to propel yourself into action toward a desired goal
and to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks.
4. Empathy: Your ability to sense others'
feelings and perspectives; read and understand the dynamics
of relationships; and anticipate, recognize and meet key constituents'
5. Social skills: Your adeptness at inducing
desirable responses in others through communication, collaboration,
influence and relationship-building.
"In the new workplace, with its emphasis on flexibility,
teams and a strong customer orientation, this crucial set
of emotional competencies is becoming increasingly essential
for excellence in every job in every part of the world,"
Unlike IQ, which is pretty much established at birth, EQ
can be learned, implemented and improved upon at any age.
In fact, studies show our emotional intelligence increases
as we get older -- peaking between 50 and 59.
What's the best way to raise your EQ, short of hiring a personal
Psychologist Dr. Hendrie Weisinger, author of "Emotional
Intelligence at Work" and "The Emotionally Intelligent
Financial Advisor," advocates increasing your self-awareness.
He advises taking a reading of your emotions several times
throughout the day and keeping a journal. After a week, access
what you're feeling, how you're channeling your feelings and
how it affects your workday.
If you're sending yourself negative messages, plant positive
ones in their place. For example, if you find you're telling
yourself "I'm stupid" after making a mistake, replace
that message with "What can I do differently next time?"
It also helps to have an EQ role model. Identify people you
know who excel as individuals and also maximize a team's potential
through building bonds, collaboration and creating group synergy
in pursuit of collective goals.
Watch how they sell their ideas, handle criticism from others,
and deal with setbacks. Then apply those skills in your own
life and see what a difference it makes!
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