Daniel Goleman, a former brain sciences editor of The New York Times, has written a follow-up book to his enormously popular, Emotional Intelligence. The sequel, Working with Emotional Intelligence, is based on studies done by dozens of experts in 500 corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. An examination of these studies asserts that emotional intelligence is twice as important as either IQ or technical expertise in predicting career success.
Here’s good news for all of us with average IQ scores: Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence continues to grow with life experiences. Since emotional intelligence is essential to career success and leadership potential, let’s look at those areas that define emotional intelligence:
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand our moods, emotions, and motivations and their effect on others.
Knowing our emotional strengths and weaknesses can help us develop our talents while minimizing our defects. We can fully use our talents while working on improving our weakness.
Here are some suggestions:
- Make a list of five strengths and develop them; make a list of five weaknesses and change them. Don't use the excuse, "Well, that's just the way I am."
- Because we don't know what we don't know, we would do well to ask our best and most trusted friend to analyze our strengths and weaknesses.
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
Those with high emotional intelligence have the ability to control or redirect disturbing impulses and unproductive moods and to suspend judgment by thinking before acting. Self-regulation is marked by the following characteristics:
- Trustworthiness and integrity. Trustworthy individuals follow the Golden Rule---they do unto others as they would have others do unto them.
- Doing the right thing the right way.
- Emotional flexibility and open mindedness.
- Being comfortable with ambiguity. We must be able to make decisions based on the best evidence and understand that the only constant if life is change.
- Life-long learning.
- The ability to manage disruptive emotions. We can improve our frustration tolerance and control our impulses.
We have control over one factor—our minds. We are unable to control other people or events, but we can change our belief about people and events.
Events in our lives are not as important as our beliefs about events.
When storms flood our homes we can believe that we will never recover or we can choose to believe that we can overcome.
MOVED BY ACTION
Motivation is a passion to work and to pursue goals with energy and persistence for reasons that go beyond money or status. Motivation comes from the following traits:
- A strong drive to achieve that comes from the desire to do our best with the talents and skills we have been given.
- Optimism comes from the ability to view failure as a learning experience. Viewing failure as an opportunity to learn what doesn't work enables optimists to persist despite adversity.
- The most successful individuals are able to subordinate their ego to the overall good of the entire team.
Many talented people waste their abilities because they remain inactive. If we keep the bat on our shoulders we will never hit a home run.
Empathy is the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people and skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions. Those with empathy possess the following skills:
- The ability to help others feel important by listening carefully to what they say and by praising desired behavior.
- The ability to relate to all races and nationalities and to understand cultural differences.
- Giving respect and affection to others.
WINNING WITH PEOPLE
Rapport comes from proficiency in building relationships by finding common ground marked by the following:
- Inspiring others to do what they don't want to do so they will become what they always wanted to be.
- Encouraging others by catching people doing something right.
- Finding what others want and then helping them achieve their goals.
- Believing that just about everyone has something to teach each of us.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie first published in 1936 remains the absolute best book for developing social skills.
Some people can jump higher and run faster than others. Some have better minds than others. Some have more musical talent than others. Not everyone will win. We will not receive equal prizes. Doing our best with our emotional intelligence is the best we can expect of ourselves.