Emotional Intelligence

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By Deborah Mackin

We are being judged by

a new yardstick. It’s not
n the workplace, success seems to hinge on our intelligence,
logical capabilities, and job-related skills, rather than on
ow smart you are
anything we do with our emotions. Or does it?
ut how you are smart!

he technical skills or
New research in the 90s confirmed that there is an emotional
the business expertise
brain: a place called the limbic system where our emotions
that so often propelled
originate. It is separated from the rational brain (the neocortex)
people to the top are
but the two are connected and develop together. This means
not the abilities that
that our power to reason and our feelings are intended to be
make you effective in
used together. Because of the brain’s design, all information
goes into our emotional center first and then to our thinking
inspiring people, in
center. Emotions come before thought and behavior. What
guiding people, in
scientists discovered is that we need our emotions; our feelings
coaching, developing
fire up the motor in us that drives energy and creativity. If we
and motivating people.
block or ignore emotions in the workplace, we stifle motivation.

—Daniel Goleman,
As a result of these findings, it’s become important to
Emotional Intelligence
understand what we’re feeling, what others are feeling, how to

manage our own feelings and how to manage relationships with others. This is the
core of Emotional Intelligence: a term used to describe the complex ability to
regulate our impulses, empathize with others and be resilient in the face of
difficulties. Therefore, emotional intelligence is a product of the amount of
communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain. This
article will examine the history, data and components of Emotional Intelligence.

The History of EQ
Charles Darwin was the first to recognize the value of emotions. He noted that the
emotional system energizes behavior needed to stay alive. Emotions cannot be
stopped, they happen instinctually and immediately in response to situations and
people. In the 1920s E.I. Thorndike identified “social intelligence” as the ability to act
©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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Emotional Intelligence
wisely in human relations. In 1988, Reuven Bar-On coined the term emotional
intelligence in his doctoral dissertation. In 1990, John Mayer and Peter Salovey did
groundbreaking research on emotional intelligence, pointing to the importance of
knowing yourself as well as understanding others. In 1995, Daniel Goleman
introduced the important of EQ in the workplace, noting that IQ is a less powerful
predictor of outstanding leadership than EQ.

Data Findings
The highest estimate of how much difference IQ (intellectual
quotient) accounts for in how well people perform in their careers
is no higher than 10% and perhaps as low as 4% (Sternberg,
1997). IQ is considered a threshold competence, a minimum
capability that all must have. Once you’re in a group of similar
IQs, IQ will no longer distinguish you in the group.

EQ (emotional intelligence) data suggests that older groups score significantly higher
than younger groups in most EQ scales. Respondents in their late 40s obtained the
highest mean scores.

On the North American sample, females appear to have stronger interpersonal skills
than males, but males have higher intrapersonal capacity, are better at managing
emotions, and are more adaptable. Women are more aware of emotions,
demonstrate more empathy towards others, and are more socially responsible. Men
have better self-regard, are more self-reliant, cope better with stress, and are more
optimistic than women in the studies conducted. No significant differences in
emotional intelligence were found between various ethnic groups in North America.

Higher-level employees are more likely to have inflated views of their emotional
intelligence and less congruence with the perceptions of others than lower-level
employees. Data shows that when there is no easy right or wrong answer to a
problem or decision, people usually decide one direction or another based on

There is a moderate yet significant relationship between EQ and physical health and
significant differences in psychological health and a moderate, yet statistically
significant relationship between EQ and performance at school. However, EQ is not
something we have been taught to improve since childhood. So, it makes sense that
most people have an average EQ score.

©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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Emotional Intelligence
1 STEP 1: Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the first skill set in building Emotional Intelligence. High self-
awareness is “tuning in” to the sensations you feel and being able to name which
emotion is happening at any given time. People experience an average of 27
emotions every waking hour! Rather than ignoring a feeling, the goal is to move
toward it, into it, and eventually through it. Leaning into your discomfort is the only
way to change.

The skill sets associated with Self-Awareness include:

Emotional Awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects
Know which emotions you feel and why
Realize the links between feelings and what you do, say, and think
Recognize how feelings affect performance
Have a guiding awareness of personal values and goals

Accurate Self-Assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits
Aware of personal strengths and weaknesses
Reflective and able to learn from experience
Open to candid feedback, new perspectives and self-development
Able to show a sense of humor and perspective about oneself

Able to have a “presence” and be self-assured
Able to voice views that are different and/or unpopular
Able to be decisive and make decisions despite uncertainties

For many of us, when we feel emotional reactions to situations, we
People experience
don’t always recognize what’s behind the reaction. It’s important to “aew
n average of 27
stop and ask “why do I feel so tense?” and to identify the feeling
motions every
behind it. For example, when you get a lot of emails, or a project
aking hour!
team member doesn’t complete an assignment on time, or you have
to make a presentation to an important group of people — what are the emotions that
these situations elicit in you. Sometimes it is helpful to maintain a journal over a
period of a month to record your emotional state at various points during the day or

when you are in difficult circumstances. The journal will help you become more
attuned to your body and cues it gives you about your emotional state.
©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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Emotional Intelligence
STEP 2: Self-Management

Self-management is your ability to use the awareness of your emotions to stay
flexible and direct behavior positively. This second step is to regulate feelings and
manage them so they do more good, both to yourself and others, than harm. Our
passions can be contagious and energize others, but our ranting and raving can
damage work relations beyond repair. When we get mad, we often sound more upset
than we really are because we’re allowing raw emotions to surface unchecked.
Checking those emotions is what self-regulation is all about. It’s giving the rational
side of the brain time to catch up and temper our feelings when needed.

The goal is to learn how to act intentionally, rather than reactively.
When we strive to be intentional, we mean what we say rather than
spouting off without thinking and later regretting the impulsive act.
When emotions run strong, it is best to slow down and think before
moving forward.

Here are the components of Self-Management:

Self-Control: Managing disruptive emotions and impulses
Manage impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well
Stay composed, positive and unflappable even in difficult moments
Think clearly and stay focused under pressure

Trustworthiness: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity
Act ethically and above reproach even when faced with conflicting emotions
Build trust through reliability and authenticity
Admit mistakes and confront actions in others

Conscientiousness: Taking responsibility for personal performance
Meet commitments and keep promises
Hold oneself accountable for meeting objectives

Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change
Smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities and rapid change
Flexible in how the person sees events

More than two-thirds of people tested have great difficulty admitting their
shortcomings. I saw this personally last week when a highly skilled professional could
not stop playing the “victim” when discussing her inability to get along with others in
©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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Emotional Intelligence
her group. None of it was her fault; all of it was because others were out to get her.
Self-managing skills help us to move beyond this victim perspective and “reframe”
stressful situations into ones that are challenging and doable. Knowing and
managing our own “emotional triggers” is critical to this step.

One important thing to remember in the self-managing step is the effect of self-talk.
The manner in which we talk to ourselves during emotional issues is very revealing.
What we tell ourselves goes immediately into our subconscious where it increases or
decreases our anger and other emotions. Repeated negative self-talk leads to
exaggerated and irrational thinking. Some people benefit from using positive
affirmations to counter the negative self-talk in their heads.

STEP 3: Social Awareness

Once we have become honest and intentional with our emotions, it is time to look
outward. After all, nobody in life will listen to us unless they feel we have listened to
them. Emotional intelligence is both tuning into your own feelings and tuning into
the feelings of those around us. Empathy is being able to see from another’s
perspective. Empathy begins with listening. Individuals who lack empathy are more
focused on their needs and issues and pay little attention to anyone else’s. No
connection is made.

When we meet
Research has proven that when we meet someone, we determine
someone, we
whether we like them and trust them within 3–5 seconds. It’s
“dw etermine whether that fast for our emotional brain to form a first impression. The
e like them and
rational brain has no time to get involved and deliver intellectual
trust them within
proof until later.
3–5 seconds ”.
Here are the components of Social Awareness:

Empathy: Sensing others’ feelings and perspective and taking an active interest in
their concerns
Attentive to emotional cues and listen well
Show sensitivity and understand others’ perspectives
Help out based on understanding other people’s needs and feelings

Service Orientation: Anticipating, recognizing and meeting needs
Respond to people’s needs and try to match response to need
Seek ways to increase others’ satisfaction and loyalty
©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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Emotional Intelligence
Offer appropriate assistance
Grasp the other person’s perspective

Political Awareness: Reading a group’s emotional current and power relationships
Accurately read key power relationships
Detect crucial social networks
Understand the forces that shape views and actions
Accurately read situations and organizational realities

There are four levels of communication: superficial, fact, thought and feelings. With
some people, we never get past the first two levels. To increase your EQ, you want to
reach the last level and share your feelings and hear others’ feelings.

STEP 4: Relationship Management

Mastering the abilities of self-awareness, self management, and social awareness
pave the way for more effective relationships. This fourth component, relationship
management, is about interacting with people and being adept at managing
emotions in others. Here are the components:

Influence: Using effective tactics of persuasion
Skilled at persuasion
Fine-tune presentations to appeal to the listener
Use complex strategies like indirect influence to build consensus and support
Orchestrate dramatic events to effectively make a point

Communication: Sending clear and convincing messages
Effective in give-and-take, registering emotional cues in attuning message
Deal with difficult issues straightforwardly
Listen well, seek mutual understanding, and welcome sharing information fully

Foster open communication and stay receptive to bad news

Conflict Management: Negotiating and resolving disagreements
Handle difficult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact
Spot potential conflicts, bring disagreement into the
open, and help de-escalate them
Encourage debate and open discussion
Orchestrate win-win solutions

©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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Emotional Intelligence
Collaboration and Cooperation: Working well with others toward shared goals
Balance a focus on tasks with attention to relationships
Share plans, information and resources freely
Promote a friendly, cooperative climate
Spot and nurture opportunities for collaboration

The Effect of EQ on a Team
Team emotional intelligence is made up of four skills: emotional awareness,
emotional management, internal relationship management and external relationship
management. Team emotion management requires a group of people who are able
to work together to spot when emotions (rather than facts) are influencing their
progress. Team members who manage relationships with the rest of the group, both
during and outside meetings, will minimize the challenges that come up when
emotions are strong. A team with effective emotional management skills has at least
one or two members who are able to pull the group out of the doldrums and get
everyone back on track. The team’s performance is enhanced when team members
take responsibility for being aware of their own emotions. A team that can proactively
welcome the advice and concerns of another group that has the power to make a
go/no go decision is using external relationships management skills to its benefit.
Teams that score low in the assessment of EQ under-perform when compared to
their counterparts with high EQ. When a group is uncomfortable with something, it is
important for a member to ask, “Why is this so hard for us to discuss?”

Based on a decade of research with more than 500,000 people,
Emotional Intelligence
experts are clear that emotional intelligence plays a key role in the
is not about being
success of individuals in the workplace. Interestingly, CEOs and top “embeiem
otional; it’s about
executives were found to have next to the lowest EQ scores (the
ng smart with your
lowest were the unemployed). Middle management and those
working in customer service had the highest EQ scores. EQ is not,
however, just about scores and results. It’s about our ability to
understand what we’re feeling and manage those feelings so they don’t negatively
affect employees. It’s also about understanding what is going on in others — the
antennae we have for how others are reacting — and using that knowledge to

manage situations effectively. Emotional intelligence is not about being nice all the
time; it’s about being honest. It’s not about being touchy-feely but about being aware
of your feelings and those of others. Emotional intelligence is not about being
emotional; it’s about being smart with your emotions.
©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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Emotional Intelligence


Emotional Intelligence in Action. Marcia Hughes, L. Bonita Patterson, and James
Bradford Terrell. Pfeiffer, 2005.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (10th Anniversary Ed.). Daniel
Goleman. Bantman Books, 2005.

The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. Fireside,

The EQ Difference: A Powerful Plan for Putting Emotional Intelligence to Work. Adele
B. Lynn. Amacom, 2004.

Raising Your Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide. Jeanne S. Segal. Henry Holt &
Company, 1997.

©2006 New Directions Consulting, Inc.
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