Emotional intelligence: The leadership differentiator
By Joe Mazzenga
Intelligence is measured in many ways. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is probably the first measurement that comes to mind. IQ and all of its measurements we encountered over the course of our lives can be primary markers of our success (or failure).
The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been around since 1995 when researcher Daniel Goleman introduced it to the world. The idea that “an ability to identify and manage emotions greatly increases our chances of success” quickly took off and has influenced the way people think about emotions and human behavior ever since.
Being more emotionally intelligent is not the same as being more emotional. The core idea behind EQ is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and to identify, understand, and manage yourself, while building more effective relationships. As leaders and professionals, we are conditioned to focus on technical skills and knowledge and to shy away from the squishiness of feelings.
According to Goleman emotional intelligence in practical terms, “means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively) and learning how to manage those emotions—both our own and others—especially when we are under pressure.”
You may recognize that someone with a low EQ, but high IQ as very bright, but extremely difficult with to work with.
Why Should You Care About Emotional Intelligence?
- 90% of top performers have high Emotional Intelligence.
- Emotional Intelligence is responsible for 58% of all job performance.
- Additional income made by high EQ individuals over their counterparts: $29,000/year
Your Most Important Discretionary Asset
Researchers have found that IQ alone does not explain out performance. “People with high levels of intelligence (IQ) outperform those with average IQ 20% of the time … people with average IQ outperform those with high IQs 70% of the time,” Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves said in their book EI 2.0.
Emotional awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects. People with this competence know which emotions they are feeling and why and understand the links between their feelings, and what they think, do and say.
Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits. People with this ability are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and are reflective—learning from experience. They are also open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning and self-development.
Self-confidence: Sureness about one’s self-worth and capabilities. People with this competence present themselves with self-assurance, have “presence” and can voice views that are unpopular. They can go out on a limb for what they believe is right.
This attribute is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others, even when they differ from your own. It is facilitated by listening and noticing.
Self-control: Managing disruptive emotions and impulses. People with this competence manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well. They stay composed, positive, and collected even in challenging moments.
Trustworthiness: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity. People with this competence act ethically and are above reproach. They build trust through their reliability and authenticity, admit their own mistakes and confront unethical actions in others.
Conscientiousness: Taking responsibility for personal performance. People with this competence meet commitments and keep promises. They hold themselves accountable for meeting their objectives.
Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change. People with this competence smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities and rapid change. They adapt their responses and tactics to fit fluid circumstances.
Innovativeness: Being comfortable with and open to novel ideas and new information. People with this competence seek out fresh ideas from a wide variety of sources. They entertain original solutions to problems, generate new ideas, and take fresh perspectives and risks in their thinking.
Sometimes, It’s Not Easy
The book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith provides a list of behavioral tics that may to derail our best efforts. Take a look at the list and make a note of those you may exhibit.
- Winning too much
- Adding too much value
- Passing judgment
- Making destructive comments
- Telling the world how smart we are
- Speaking when angry
- Withholding information
- Failing to give proper recognition
- Claiming credit we don’t deserve
- Starting with no, but, or however
- Making excuses
- Clinging to the past
- Playing favorites
- Refusing to express regret
- Failing to express gratitude
- Punishing the messenger
- Passing the buck
- An excessive need to be me
- Not listening
- How aware are you of engaging in these behaviors?
- Do you promote and encourage candid feedback to point out your behavior?
- How could you improve your effectiveness in Results or Relationships by practicing self-management to handle some of the behavior above?
At the end of the day, Emotional Intelligence is important.
It benefits us as individuals and as leaders in many ways—from building trust with our families and teams to earning a fatter paycheck, it obviously pays to improve your EQ. It’s also an excellent safeguard against self-absorption and drives us toward achieving our goals by building powerful relationships that help us gain allies, and those allies can come back to help us in ways we can’t begin to imagine.
About the author
Joe Mazzenga has a strong history as a consultant in building effective executive teams through leadership development and assessment, executive team performance, talent management, succession planning, and talent alignment amid organizational and cultural change. He has more than 30 years of experience in leadership development and strategy implementation, helping Fortune 500 clients optimize their talent. Joe serves as an executive consultant and coach to board members, CEOs, physician chairs, and C-suite executives on matters pertaining to board relations, leadership development, talent management, and enterprise-wide change.