Emotional Intelligence A Foundation of Leadership
First coined in 1990 by Salovey and Mayer, Emotional Intelligence is described as a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. In 1995, the concept of emotional intelligence is popularized after publication of psychologist and new york times science writer Daniel Goleman’s book – ‘Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ’.
Daniel Goleman puts it this way: “emotional intelligence is a master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them”. He argues that: “emotional intelligence is much importance than academic intelligence”. According to Goleman, “emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”. Emotional Intelligence is the foundation for successful leadership. Emotional intelligence (or EQ) is the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions.
Emotional intelligence is increasingly relevant to organizational development and developing people, because the EQ principles provide a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential. Research shows that for jobs of all kinds, emotional intelligence is twice as important as IQ plus technical skills. According to a study of more than 100,000 executives, emotional intelligence is a better predictor of performance than technical skill, experience, or intellect. As more and more people accept that emotional intelligence is just as important to professional success as technical ability, organizations are increasingly using EQ when they hire and promote.
In a nutshell emotional intelligence is both having enough self awareness of your own feelings, emotions and how you manage those reactions, and as a leader being able to pick up on others emotional responses and work with them productively. While opinions differ on whether emotional intelligence is a skill, an ability, or a competency, most who study EQ agree that an emotionally intelligent person is able to understand and manage their own emotions, and they are able to use this information to manage their relationships with others.
Intellect and functional skills are important, but research shows that emotional intelligence is the most important factor in effective leadership. High emotional intelligence is also associated with a better work approach that is goal directed and achievement oriented. Thus, emotional intelligence is a master aptitude, a capacity affecting all other abilities by either facilitating or interfering with them. Emotional intelligence is based on the competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The good thing about emotional intelligence is that it is not fixed at birth. Since we want to raise children to be successful and fulfilled, emotional intelligence is an important aspect of this vision.
Not to be confused with our IQ or cognitive intelligence, which is pretty much set by age 17, emotional intelligence is something we can bank on improving as we get older. One great characteristic of people who have attained emotional intelligence is that they are responsible for what they feel and they use these feelings to help them make wise decisions. Thus, emotional intelligence is one of the characteristics of a successful leader in any arena of life.