Ever since the 1995 release of Daniel Goleman’s much-noticed book on emotional intelligence, the issue has been a hot topic and the subject of growing research. Emotional intelligence, often referred to as EQ, is the ability to recognize and manage our emotions and the emotions of others. While IQ and technical competence are usually necessary for leadership effectiveness, they alone are often not enough. Research has found that executives and managers who fail in their leadership positions often do so not because of the lack of cognitive ability or technical competence, but the lack of EQ.
EQ is often expressed in five dimensions:
— Self-awareness: Being aware of what you are feeling.
— Self-management: The ability to manage your own emotions and impulses.
— Self-motivation: The ability to persist in the face of setbacks and failures.
— Empathy: The ability to sense and understand how others are feeling.
— Social skills: The ability to handle the emotions of others and manage relationships.
Several studies appear to show that EQ plays an important role in job performance and leadership effectiveness. For example, a study at Lucent Technologies found that engineers who were rated as high performers by their peers were found to be better at relating to others. Thus, it was EQ rather than IQ that differentiated these star performers.
Here’s good news: While IQ remains fairly constant throughout our lives, we can continue to develop our EQ as we learn from new experiences.
How important do you think EQ is in determining leadership effectiveness?