We have all heard of IQ (intelligence quotient) which measures our intellectual ability and often predicts school performance. However, the idea of Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is not as well known or understood. Do you know that EI may determine as much as 80% of your life success? EI determines only about 20%.
The idea of Emotional Intelligence was proposed in the early 1980’s. Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence (1995) popularized the idea in the U.S. Since that time, many books have been written about what it is, why it is important, and how we can improve our EI.
This is what we know about EI:
- It is not set or innate like IQ which represents cognitive ability.
- The need for EI increases with increased levels of responsibility.
- It influences success in 4 areas of life – performance or productivity, health, relationships and quality of life.
- It determines who excels in any given job and is the basis for outstanding leadership.
Very simply, EI looks at how you handle yourself and your relationships. Goleman noted in a later book, Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998), that while IQ has been steadily rising over the years, EI has been declining. In his book Primal Leadership (202), he looks at the impact EI has on leadership and relationships.
Lately, there is a concern that children and young adults are more emotionally troubled than previous generations. Soon they will be entering the workforce without basic competence in personal and social areas of their lives. Goleman has written more about the the new science of human relationships in his book Social Intelligence (2006) and how it affects EI.
Also, negative emotions and distress erode mental abilities and decrease EI. The percentage of time individuals feel negative emotions at work is one of the strongest predictors of dissatisfaction and how likely they are to quit. In addition, dissonance or lack of harmony in an environment lowers productivity and achievement.
Moods influence how effective people are – adults or children. Upbeat moods are contagious and boost cooperation, fairness and performance in the work place or at home. Scientific research indicates that your emotional center (the limbic system) in the brain functions as an open-loop which depends on external sources to manage itself.
Of all emotional signals, smiles are the most contagious. Genuine laughter instantly interlocks limbic systems between people. It signals trust, comfort, and a shared sense of the world. When people feel good, they work at their best. An environment that is full and vibrant cultivates an atmosphere of trust and cooperation which leads to increased effectiveness.
The premise of EI is that since emotions are at the heart of effectiveness, the key to being effective or an effective leader lies in learning to handle yourself and your relationships in a positive manner.
Action step: What is one simple thing you can begin to do to create a more trusting or cooperative environment? You can learn more about your EI by choosing Option 2 or 3 on http://pattencoaching.com.
To your success,