We post about emotional intelligence all the time.
It is an HR buzzword and that’s because it is so important in the world of business.
The good thing is, with some good management training and coaching, anyone can improve their emotional intelligence.
So what is emotional intelligence?
It didn’t become popular until Daniel Goleman wrote his book Emotional Intelligence back in 1995, but the original definition comes from Peter Salovey and John Mayer:
Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the collection of abilities used to identify, understand, control and assess the emotions of the self and others.
What is the difference between EQ and IQ?
Well IQ, or intelligence quotient, is a score based on a standardised test that looks at a range of skills including abstract reasoning, spatial reasoning, arithmetic, vocabulary, or general knowledge.
In the business world, you might be thinking that this is surely more important than understanding the touchy feely emotions of others?
Take a look around you, at all the people you work with. Chances are they are all as smart as you. Also, consider that some of the skills measured in IQ tests may not even be relevant in the workplace!
Emotional intelligence, however, is something that sets people apart from the rest and if you have a team of emotionally intelligent individuals, well you are laughing.
You don’t have to take my word for it; there are plenty of numbers to back up my claims. Research performed by the Carnegie Institute of Technology found that 85% of financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. The other 15% is due to technical knowledge.
Bet you didn’t expect that!
So what exactly constitutes emotional intelligence?
In Goleman’s book, he talks about five specific components of emotional intelligence associated with different abilities to do with managing emotions.
- Self-awareness – This is essentially the ability to identify and understand your own emotions and how they affect the people around you. Leaders with good self-awareness are capable of identifying their own strengths and weaknesses and behave with humility.
- Self-Regulation – This is the ability to think before you act and also manage negative mentalities. According to Goleman, this covers a leader’s flexibility and commitment to personal accountability as well. They rarely clash with others, make rash decisions, and stick to their values.
- Internal Motivation – Self-motivated leaders work consistently toward their goals and have extremely high work standards. Best of all, they do it with a positive, chipper attitude.
- Empathy – This is the ability to recognise the feelings of others and how they affect their behaviour. Leaders with empathy can put themselves in someone else’s shoes meaning they can help develop and challenge their team, give constructive feedback, and are good listeners.
- Social skills – These skills are your day-to-day things like working in teams, managing difficult people and situations, and forming relationships. Leaders with good social skills are great communicators, open to good and bad feedback, and are great at motivating their team and gaining support from them. They are good at diplomacy and tend to set an example with their own behaviour.
Having read all the above it is obvious that these skills are incredibly desirable and you want these kinds of people in your team.
The good thing is that emotional intelligence isn’t necessarily innate. You can upskill the team you have and develop their emotional intelligence, through some good management training.