I might start by explaining what EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EI) is and why it is important. It is often talked about as a bit of a buzz word however it is incredibly important to how we function.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is a term created by two researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – and popularized by Dan Goleman. Basically EI is a person’s ability to feel an emotion, identify and label it, then know how to manage it. Big call right! Typically, we have learned this valuable skill in our youth when it was modelled to us by our family and loved ones. So, in true developmental stages, a young child will start to form some level of EI, which means that they can identify and label their emotions correctly. They will start to form these ideas by seeing, feeling and hearing what their parents do and how their parents narrate their behaviours and feelings. Babies get a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card and are allowed to scream with pleasure or howl with anger. However, hopefully, as we develop and mature, we learn to curb these extreme emotional responses. Thus allowing us to blend into our environment a bit more.
Everyone is usually aware of the term IQ, which stands for your intellectual quotient and that’s our ability to learn, and it remains relatively stable over time, believe it or not. EI is different to IQ, because it’s not about our intellect but rather, it’s our capacity to recognise and understand our own emotions and those of others. Unlike IQ, EI is not set in stone; it is flexible and can be developed. It’s a set of skills that can be acquired and improved on with a bit of practice, which is why it is useful to see a professional if your emotional intelligence is lacking or if you don’t think you do emotional intelligence well. There’s no known connection between your IQ and your EI. You simply can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. Although I firmly believe that some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others.
So the burning question is how much impact does EI have on someone’s professional success. The short answer is A LOT! The reason being that this skill has been researched and tested in conjunction with other psychometrics that predict and assist performance. The results are that EI is the strongest predictor of success and performance in the workplace. The reason is that it holds the foundation of the core skills that we do (or should do) every day. Things such as Decision-Making, Time Management, Stress Tolerance, Anger Management, Empathy, the ability to work within a team, your ability to communicate well hence effecting Team Work and Social Skills. It is also responsible for Assertiveness and the ability to motivate yourself and persist in the face of failure or rejection. The statistics state that 90% of top performers in business have solid EI and this result remains true across all industries.
As mentioned EI is a skill that can be strengthened by training your brain to build those neural pathways by identifying and labelling emotions and feelings in the body and in those around you. Start practicing you may get a promotion out of it!