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We have all heard about highly intelligent individuals being promoted into leadership positions, only to fail. Conversely, there are those with solid, but not astonishing, acumen promoted into similar positions that thrive. Their success is due to their soft skills, specifically emotional intelligence (EI/EQ). This is not to say that technical ability and intelligence are unimportant. Psychologists say a person’s EI must also be taken into consideration.
The EI theory was developed by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, but further researched by Daniel Goleman. Goleman said those with the highest EI measure are likely to rise to the top. Analyses of studies of around 500 firms globally, reviewed by Goleman, point to the importance of EI in job excellence. He identified five components of EI at work:
• Self-awareness – The ability to develop and mentor your own emotional state, recognizing personal moods, emotions and drives.
• Self-regulation – The ability to control negative moods or impulses, suspend judgment and think before acting. People high on self-regulation are more comfortable with ambiguity and open to change.
• Internal motivation – A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status such as a ''flow'' that comes with being immersed in an activity, an inner vision of what is important in life or a curiosity in learning. Goleman said people that score high in this are more likely to show optimism and have a strong desire to achieve.
• Empathy – The capability of understanding the emotional makeup of others. Empathetic leaders are more likely to build and retain talent, show cross-cultural sensitivity and good service to clients.
• Social skills – Strong at managing relationships, building networks and finding a common ground. Leaders with strong social skills show proficiency in leading change and teams, and being persuasive.
EI can be learned with the right state of mind, time and commitment.
• Make sure to consider emotional intelligence when hiring
• Include soft skills and technical training in succession planning
• Individuals with the highest EI measure are likely to rise to top
Find out how to try to kick and squirm under challenges
Source: Nicola Turner, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Organizational Psychologist, HRI&C