Monthly Archives: December 2016

5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

It used to be that the leadership traits and skills we valued most were left-brain functions: intelligence, analysis, vision, focus. For mose of the twentieth century, IQ was placed on a high pedestal and was considered to be one of the most important factors of success. This perspective was uprooted in 1995 when Daniel Goleman published his landmark book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ. He wrote, “At best, IQ contributes about 20 percent to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80 percent to other forces.” Primary among these “other forces” is emotional intelligence: “abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulses and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swimming the ability to think; to empathize and to hope.” In a January 2004 Harvard Business Review article entitled, “What Makes a Leader,” Goleman reveled that most effective leaders have a high degree of emotional intelligence. IQ and technical skills matter, he says, but only as basic requirements for executive positions. But without emotional intelligence, as the research shows, “a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.” After performing exhaustive research with top executives, Goleman found that intellect was important for executive performance, including cognitive skills like big picture thinking and vision. But calculations proved emotional intelligence to be twice as important as other skills for jobs at all levels. Furthermore, the higher the company position, the more important emotional intelligence is to performers. “When I compared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions,” Goleman wrote, “nearly 90 percent of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities.” According to Goleman, emotional intelligence includes five components:
  1. Self-awareness: having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives.
  2. Self-regulation: Self-regulation, which is like an ongoing inner conversation, is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoners of our feelings. People engaged in such a conversation feel bad moods and emotional impulses just as everyone else does, but they find ways to control them and even to channel them in useful ways.
  3. Motivation: Plenty of people are motivated by external factors, such as a big salary or the status that comes from having an impressive title or being part of a prestigious company. By contrast, those with leadership potential are motivated b y a deeply embedded desire to achieve for the sake of achievement.
  4. Empathy: For a leader, empathy means thoughtfully considering employees’ feelings – along with other factors – in the process of making intelligent decisions.
  5. Social skills: Social skill is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire, whether that’s agreement on a new marketing strategy or enthusiasm about a new product.
The more emotional intelligence we develop, the greater our ability to reverse our senses – in this case, use our intellect to make wiser, more objective decisions.