Emotional Intelligence, yes, it’s a “thing” and more importantly, it’s something that good leaders tend to have in spades. Do you have strong EI? How do you find out?
A gentleman named Daniel Goleman first brought the term Emotional Intelligence to a wide audience with his 1995 book of that name. Goleman found the traditional qualities that are associated with leadership, such as intelligence, vision, impact, etc., were not the only characteristics that separated good leaders from great leaders. He put forth that there are other qualities inherent in high performing leaders.
The qualities of EI are:
Self Awareness – knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, emotions, values
Self Regulation – having the ability to manage your emotions and impulses
Motivation – having the drive to do the job because you love it, not just for the sake of achievement, money or recognition
Empathy – taking others’ feelings into account when making decisions
Social Skills – having strong management and persuasive skills – others want to follow your direction
While these characteristics may sound “soft” to some, Goleman found a real connection between people who had strong levels of EI and the business results they are able to achieve. And this is definitely still true today.
Are people born with high levels of Emotional Intelligence or can one develop their EI? Well, actually the truth is a little bit of both. For example, there are people who are naturally more empathetic, more outgoing, and more aware of their emotions. But there are others who don’t have these qualities naturally.
The good news is the EI can be learned. How? Well, it takes enthusiasm, strong desire and commitment. Think about going to the gym. Not everyone is born with a tremendous physique. But with effort, practice, and accountability, you’re able to develop new muscles.
For some, working with a coach is helpful. A good coach provides input, perspective and feedback. Similar to a trainer at the gym who works with you to develop physical muscles, a good coach or mentor can help you develop your emotional muscles.
If you want to learn more about EI and get a sense of how to assess and develop yours, feel free to email me: [email protected].