Sometimes, EQ is more important than IQ
Emotional intelligence a good predictor of leadership skills
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Why do some people always seem to succeed at work, while others of equal -- or higher -- intelligence don't?
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 maximum effectiveness.
"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 five competencies:
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 and productivity.
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' needs.
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," Goleman says
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 coach?
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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