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Emotional Intelligence
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Emotional Intelligence
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Expert Opinion

Intelligence testing is a form of psychological testing of an individual's capacity to learn and deal effectively with his/her environment. The IQ (intelligence quotient) is the score of an intelligence test, and is a statistically derived number that indicates the score of an individual on a particular intelligence test, often compared to their age-group. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is the most widely used individually administered IQ test for adults and comprises of 11 subtests made up of six verbal subtests and five performance subtests. The test yields three IQ scores: Verbal Scale IQ, Performance Scale IQ, and Full Scale IQ.

We have been led to believe that our IQ is the best measure of human potential. In the past 10 years, however, researchers have found that this isn't necessarily the case and that a persons emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) in actuality, is a greater predictor of success in life and work.

In the early 1990s, Dr. John Mayer, Ph.D., and Dr. Peter Salovey, Ph.D., introduced the term "emotional intelligence" in the Journal of Personality Assessment. They used this term to describe a person's ability to understand his or her own emotions and the emotions of others and to act appropriately based on this understanding. In 1995, psychologist Daniel Goleman popularised this term with his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

Daniel Goleman, is co-director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organisations at Rutgers University. His research, case studies, and examples provide a strong case for the critical importance of (and potential for further developing), a specific set of emotional competencies that we all have. Goleman's research concludes, "EI competencies are not innate talents, but learned abilities..." In his most recent book 'Primal Leadership: Realising the Power of Emotional Intelligence" he contends that there are 4 major domains (and clusters of competencies within these domains) that contribute to EQ. The four domains and their associated competencies are:

  • Self-awareness: which includes the major elements of emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence;
  • Self management: and the competencies of emotional self-control, transparency adaptability, achievement, initiative and optimism;
  • Social awareness: empathy, organisational awareness and service; and
  • Relationship management: inspirational leadership, influence, developing others, change catalyst, conflict management, building bonds and teamwork, and collaboration.

Bachman, Stein, Campbell and Sitarenios (2000), in their study of EI in debt collection, see EI as pertaining to "the emotional, personal, social and survival dimensions of intelligence, rather than the strictly cognitive skills related to learning, memory, recall, thinking, and reasoning". These experts also see an EI score (gained from being tested), as a predictor of success in life and that it can also "reflect one's current coping skills, ability to deal with daily environmental demands, degree of 'common sense' and ultimately, overall mental health".

An individual's IQ (or cognitive ability) is considered to remain relatively fixed throughout life. On the other hand, EQ is considered to develop with age and experience, and through effort can be improved at any age. For most people EQ increases with advancing maturity, particularly as people learn to become more aware of their emotions, become more empathetic with others and learn how to handle difficult relationships and social situations.

It is considered that how well an individual (and the organisation they work for) achieves in life is determined by both IQ and EQ. However, Michael Akers and Grover Porter (2003), professors in accounting state that "In fact psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else - including EQ". In a study they cite of Harvard University business, law, medicine, and teaching graduates it was shown that a negative correlation exists between an IQ indicator (entrance exam score) and subsequent career success". They also consider that "As individuals our success and the success of the profession today depend on our ability to read other people's signals and react appropriately to them. Therefore, each one of us must develop the mature EI skills required to better understand, empathise and negotiate with other people - particularly as the economy has become more global. Otherwise success will elude us in our lives and careers".

Other writers have taken the essence of Goleman's work with many specifically focusing on the domains and their competencies in relation to organisational leadership. Katie Dearborn (2002) a personnel analyst in the Human Resources Department at the City of Gresham noted that "In the last ten years, the emergence of the emotional intelligence (EI) phenomenon has jolted traditional views of what it takes to be an effective leader". Janet Macaluso (2003) the founder of Learning2LEAD sees the best leaders as those who possess EI and tap into this in others - "They discern feelings in themselves and in others, and use this knowledge to positively impact business outcomes "High EQ leaders attend to both the business and emotional needs...Typically leaders who learn to judge the person's emotion...are more successful in their business and personal relationships". Dearborn refers to this differentiating factor in leaders as the EI 'smarts'.

Other writers focus on the EQ skills in industry. John Tomer (2003) of the Department of Economics and Finance at Manhattan College in New York notes that "...different kinds of emotional competence are required by different industries, organizations and jobs. Thus individuals who improve their EI and emotional competence in ways that match the demand of their work situation can be expected to raise their job performance". He further writes "Each and every occupation has a unique profile of emotional competencies that along with cognitive intelligence, education, training, mentoring, and supervising, would be necessary for excellent performance", and "Because of the relative importance of emotional competencies in successful job performance, it makes sense for companies to assess jobs to determine their emotional competence requirements and to recruit employees with these competencies or to help existing organization members develop the needed competencies".

Whether you are a leader or an employee of an organisation, the advantages that are to be gained from practicing and further developing EQ competencies include:

  • The recognition of the EQ skills that are required within the organisation for it to be successful, and supportive of stakeholders and staff
  • A better understanding by staff of their emotional competencies and an ability to align their competencies with those needed by the organisation
  • Increased trust from, and between, internal and external stakeholders
  • Increased employee satisfaction and communication
  • A more open-minded organisational culture in which the interests of the employer, employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders are enhanced.

EQ can have more explicit applications in the following areas:

  • Communication between and among staff members
  • Conflict resolution
  • Customer service
  • Hiring, placement and staff turnover
  • Training and development;
  • The development of a corporate culture or climate;
  • Productivity
  • Leadership development.

For example, entrepreneurs or those involved in innovative business ventures, may need to develop additional skill in the major domain of 'Self Management' and the competencies of emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement, initiative, and optimism. An organisation whose focus is on the sale of consumer items using a force of sales representatives may determine the need for staff to develop increased skill in the domain of 'Relationship Management' and the competencies of inspirational leadership, influence, conflict management, building bonds and teamwork, and collaboration.

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