I have one employee who bleeds drama. I have another who is the picture of self composure. What’s the difference? Emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman wrote the book, Emotional Competence. After analyzing 181 competence models from 121 organizations worldwide, he found that 67% (two out of three) of the abilities deemed essential for effective performance were emotional competencies. Compared to IQ and expertise, emotional competence mattered twice as much.
In my business experience, observing emotional intelligence, or lack thereof, has been fascinating for me. Effective leaders are alike in one crucial way; they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Goleman believes there are five components of emotional intelligence at work:
Self-awareness – The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others.
Self-regulation – The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods.
Motivation – A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status.
Empathy – The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. Skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.
Social skills – Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport.
I believe emotional intelligence can be learned. It takes time, and most of all commitment. The benefits that come from having a well-developed emotional intelligence, both for the individual and for the organization, make it worth it.