Emotional Intelligence

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IQ or EI?

In a Fortune cover article in 1999 headed “Why CEOs Fail”, the authors demonstrated that successful CEOs shine, not in the arena of planning or finance (IQ), but in the arena of emotional intelligence (EI). Successful CEOs show integrity, people acumen, assertiveness, effective communication and trust-building behaviour. In other words they put people before strategy. Coming hot on the heals of Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ” in 1995, such thinking generated a flood of interest in the role that emotional intelligence plays in our lives.

So, what is EI?

It’s the uncommon ability we call “common sense”; its “street smarts”; but it’s so much more than that. It’s about how well we know and understand ourselves, how we relate to others, how we see and relate to the world around us, how we deal with stress and react to situations, and about how content we are with our lot and how positive we feel about it.

Sounds simple? Not so perhaps, but get it right and it is immensely powerful. Get it wrong and it is the reason why otherwise intelligent people don’t fulfil their potential either in their personal or working lives.

One of the great things about emotional intelligence is that it can be measured (EQi) and, better again, it can be improved by means of training, coaching and experience.

EQi was developed by psychologist Reuven Bar-On in the 1980s. It measures EI over five scales: Intrapersonal; Interpersonal; Adaptability; Stress Management; General Mood. These scales are further subdivided into 15 subscales measuring factors such as assertiveness, independence, problem solving, reality testing, empathy, impulse control, self regard and more.