Emotional Intelligence: What is it and why do you need to know about it?

I participated in a workshop offered by Dov Baron who said, “If you aren’t actively learning, then you are passively dying.  In the coming months, my goal  is to invite and inspire you to grow your emotional intelligence skills; and therefore your leadership.
Each week in this series of blogs, I will explore an EQ competency or composite with an opening that explains its importance and impact on leadership, coupled with an exercise to help you expand that particular composite or competency.  I encourage you to buy a journal for the walk into your greatness, to do the work thoughtfully, and share your discoveries and challenges with me – either through the comments section of this blog or at trudy@simplymore.ca. But first, what is Emotional Intelligence?
Defining Emotional Intelligence…
Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that:

    1. Influence the way we perceive and express ourselves
    2. Make it possible to develop mutually satisfying relationships
    3. Enable us to deal with challenges
    4. Allow us to use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way

Why Emotional Intelligence Matters…
The bulk of issues confronting organizations are directly correlated to:

  1. Faulty communication
  2. People’s inability to understand how they and others function
  3. Failure to see matters from someone else’s perspective
  4. Blindness to the impact our own actions have on others

Aristotle said “Anyone can get angry – that is easy.  But to be angry at the right person at the right time and for the right purpose and the right reason in the right way – that is not within everyone’s power; and that is not easy!!” 
Emotions make smart people stupid! 
All of us have had the experience of being hijacked by our emotions or dealing with someone who has been hijacked by emotional reaction.  The impact of the hijack is often distance between us and others; as well as an experience of loss of control, righteousness, or the opposite being embarrassment.  Emotional Intelligence gives us access to being responsive in and to life.  Said another way, rather than living at the effect of circumstances and people, we are being deliberate in our approach and responses to circumstances and people.
Success…
is a personal definition; yet it can be defined in a generic way for all human beings.   I invite you to accept that a global definition for success is “the ability to set and achieve your own goals”. That said, what is required to fulfill on this definition of success is directly correlated to the 5 core composites of Emotional Intelligence – Self-Perception – how you see and think about yourself, Self-Expression – capacity to be expressed and engaged in communication, Interpersonal – the way in which you interact with people, Decision Making – the ability to produce desired results from decision making factors; and finally Stress Management – the power to be effective and in action in the face of challenges.  Good relationships and coping strategies are keys to our success and happiness.
Automaticity of being human
Our brain is wired to conserve energy and pattern the way we behave, listen, think and act.  Today, neuroscience is saying that 80% of what we see is determined by the patterns of our brain rather than seeing the reality in front of us objectively.  It takes an ever expanding level of personal mastery founded on the suite of emotional intelligence competencies to confront the automaticity of being human.  Simply said, Personal Mastery is the ability to manage oneself effectively in any circumstance.
The Science
Scientific knowledge about emotional intelligence exists as a result of research that relies on tests and measurements.  It is a level “B” psychometric assessment that measures exactly what it is designed to measure.  It is proven this is a valid measure to assess and predict success which has been verified to cross race, culture and genders.  Furthermore, it shows that regardless of age, these competencies and skills can be developed which is why there is a version of EQ-i for youths.
Distinguishing IQ from EQ
IQ is in the domain of intellect which includes analytical, logical and rational abilities.  The IQ domain contains verbal, spatial, visual, and mathematical skills; and consists of how we retain and use information, how we learn and utilize reasoning, manipulate numbers and solve problems as examples. This article by Daniel Goldman defines what it is to be emotionally intelligent.
“Emotional Intelligence is an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures.”                 
Dr. Reuven Bar-On, 1997
Performance Lies in the Health of the Team Members’ Relationships! 
Emotions create connection or separation.  Emotions strengthen or weaken relationships.  Further to that, emotions affect teams, families, communities and immune systems.  Emotions impact thoughts, words and actions – on all levels.  Emotional Intelligence is the suite of competencies giving us the ability to manage our own emotions, be aware of another’s emotional state and deal with the emotional climate in the relationship (space in between us).
 Join me next week as I explain the EQ Assessments.