Emotional Intelligence: Do you have enough to be successful?

You may have heard of Emotional Intelligence, but do you really know what it is and why it’s important? And do you have enough emotional intelligence to be successful in all aspects of your life?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence, also known as Emotional Quotient (EQ) can be defined as a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.

David Caruso, the actor, described EQ thoughtfully “It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.”

If you still aren’t sure what it is, Dr. Robert Tett from the University of Tulsa explains EQ in this short 8-minute video (check it out later, you’ll want to keep reading).

What is important about Emotional Intelligence?

There are many important reasons to have EQ, as it can apply to every aspect of your life. I’d like to focus on the 3 reasons that are most relevant for the job market:

  1. Success at work
  2. Staying relevant
  3. Managing stress better

1. Success at work

People with high EQ are better leaders.

Rutgers psychologist Daniel Goleman first introduced his research on this in 1998, and it has consistently been reaffirmed through subsequent studies. Goleman put it best by stating,

The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of… emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions… Emotional intelligence is the sine qua non [absolute necessity] of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he [she] still won’t make a great leader.

Another study (Accenture, 2006) of 251 executives in six countries concluded that social awareness, self-awareness, and interpersonal competence, which are all aspects of emotional intelligence, were found to better predictors of success than IQ.

Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves of TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence, alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs. The study also found that people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence.

So, if you want to increase your potential for long-term career success and higher earnings, focus on increasing your EQ.

2. Staying relevant

According to Megan Beck, a researcher at Wharton, the rise of artificial intelligence makes emotional intelligence even more important. (https://hbr.org/2017/02/the-rise-of-ai-makes-emotional-intelligence-more-important)

Beck states that as artificial intelligence continues to get even more sophisticated, it is allowing computers to replace some jobs that humans currently hold. Those that want to stay relevant in their professions will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating — understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings. 

A computer can diagnose an illness and even recommend treatment better than a doctor.  But, it takes a person with high EQ to sit with a patient, understand their life situation (finances, family, quality of life, personal beliefs, etc.), and help determine what treatment plan is optimal considering all of the other factors.

Likewise, a business problem can be diagnosed by a computer but it takes a person with high EQ to lead a team to action, and also to identify and mentor high potential individuals and pass along the values and beliefs needed by our next leaders.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top job skills by 2020.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that a person with high EQ will have more job security and relevance in future job markets.

3. Managing stress

A high EQ person has:

Deep self-awareness. Steven Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People emphasized that self-awareness empowers us to choose our own destiny and live based on our goals, not simply by default.

Social-awareness, and the capability to look objectively at a situation from another person’s perspective to try to understand their behavior. By harnessing and managing their emotions, a high EQ person will better communicate, manage conflict, inspire, and influence.

The ability to handle pressure and stress in a healthy manner. This includes having coping mechanisms and a healthy support system.

As globalization increases, there will be an increase in diversity, which means an increase in differing ideas, which often results in conflict. Individuals that are able to manage this conflict (for self and others) will be happier and more engaged, both at work and home.

Where are you on the Emotional Intelligence scale?

There are several assessment tools that claim to measure your EQ, but most don’t go deep enough to give an accurate picture.

For accurate results, ensure that the assessment is scientifically validated, and for a rounded perspective, a 360-degree assessment (which includes people you interact with in all aspects of life) is ideal.

The good news is that your emotional intelligence can be developed with intentional work.

If you want to take a scientifically validated emotional intelligence assessment and start working on increasing your emotional intelligence, reach out to me, I'm a certified EQ coach.