Yes, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a real thing and not just a “soft skill”. When people have a high level of EI it may go unnoticed but when it is missing it certainly has a big impact.
The term has been around since the early 60s but when Daniel Goleman first wrote about it in 1995 it started to gain popularity. In his book Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ he defined EI as the main array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance.
Today, Emotional Intelligence is seen as a critical trait for success in a corporate environment especially in leadership roles. Goleman purports that emotionally intelligent leaders handle difficult situations better than those without EI competencies. EI is often likened to Empathy and whilst empathy is a critical component of EI it is not the only one.
The four domains of Emotional Intelligence are:
o When you are conscious of your own feelings and, perhaps more importantly, why you are feeling a certain way, you demonstrate self-awareness. You sense how others see you and know your strengths, your limitations, your values and your needs – giving you a realistic self-confidence.
With self-awareness you notice when your emotions have a negative impact on your relationships or your work.
Research from Cornell University in 2019 focused on the question “What predicts executive success?” and resulted in the article “New study shows Nice Guys Finish First” and highlighted just how important self-awareness is for success.
Self-Management or Self Control
o The ability to “choose” how to respond or react is your next step to stronger emotional intelligence. Using your emotions to make constructive decisions about your behaviour, especially if you have a tendency to emotional outbursts, will benefit both you and those around you when you master this skill. This ability is also crucial when adapting to changing circumstances.
Recognizing emotions in others (Empathy)
o Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see a situation from their perspective. You can then better acknowledge and respond, however, this does not necessarily mean agreeing with them. Respect for diversity and being aware of different perspectives is a vital aspect of empathy.
o Another element of EI is knowing how to develop and maintain solid relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team and manage conflict.
A first step you could use; become more self-aware of using nonverbal communication, e.g. facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc.. Try to recognize the nonverbal messages you send to others. Perhaps adapting them could play a huge part in improving your relationships.
If you place yourself on a scale from 0 to 10 (0=low and 10=high) how would you rate your Emotional Intelligence? What do you want to try to improve your score?
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