The Power of Emotional Intelligence

alibrandoI had the opportunity to attend a human resources event in southern California recently. The speaker was Dr. Sam Alibrando and his topic was Emotional Intelligence. Many of us in the HR community have heard this term bounced around for years. It was first popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence. According to Goleman, IQ is not the sole measure of one’s abilities…nor of one’s success. But, exactly what is Emotional Intelligence or, as it is commonly referred to, EQ?

Simply defined, it is a person’s ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotions and feelings. It is generally thought to include the following 3 abilities:

  • ability to identify your own emotions and those of others around you
  • ability to harness those emotions and apply them to the tasks of thinking and problem solving
  • ability to manage emotions including the ability to cheer up or calm down another

The way in which we do this effectively enables us to “navigate our interpersonal relationships with empathy and intelligence.” says Dr. Alibrando. And, as it turns out, a high EQ quotient is a very valuable tool in the workplace. It can have a big impact on effective leadership.

Brent Gleeson, a former Navy Seal and entrepreneur in the digital marketing field, speaks about a high EQ quotient’s effect on leadership. “I have experienced many emotions and become very aware of how those emotions can have a positive or negative effect on my ability to inspire and lead a team.”  In a series of articles on global leadership, Harvard Business Professor and former Medtronic CEO Bill George spoke about new approaches for developing global leaders including a “greater focus on emotional intelligence…”

Emotional Intelligence is also a hot topic in education now. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University conducts research and teaches people of all ages how to develop their emotional intelligence. Alan Shusterman, Founder and Head of School for Tomorrow, spoke about education’s responsibility to better prepare students for the jobs of the future.  “That future will require workers to think creatively, work collaboratively, deepen their emotional IQ and integrate technology into everything they do.

So instead of employers focusing on a candidate’s IQ, maybe it’s time to focus on hiring those candidates with the highest EQ!