What Is Emotional intelligence And Who Cares Anyway?

Have you ever noticed how every few years a new ‘latest thing’ or trend appears in the world of leadership and performance-management. We take a look at some of these concepts and see if emotional intelligence stacks up.

In the 80’s and 90’s TQM was a big hit – a ‘new’ concept established to provide a systemic approach to managing organisational quality. Yet it wasn’t new – it had its roots in statistical and scientific management theory born in US industry in the 1920’s

Then there’s our old friend NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) or as its detractors like to refer to it – (Nothing Like Psychology). This again was a ‘new’ process popular in the last 20 years – a suite of tools developed to aid the understanding of how people organise their thinking, feeling, language and behaviour to produce the results they do – but again it wasn’t new – it was developed in the early 1970’s

And let’s not forget Kaizen or CIP (Continuous Improvement Theory) – a common-sense, low-cost approach to management, to reassert the importance of the shop floor in bringing about continual improvement in an organisation – developed by Masaaki Imai in Japan in the 1980’s.

Add to the growing list above the plethora of psychometric instrument – widely used by tens of millions of people today – yet developed almost 100 years ago (DISC and MBTI in particular) and the first question you have to ask yourself is….

Is Emotional Intelligence new?…. and is it a fad?

Well the answer is that it is certainly not new – even in ancient Greek texts such as the lliad – Aristotle refers to the power of both ‘pity’ and ‘fear’ as powerful tools to be used to sway the minds of Judges in law.

But is it a Fad?

Well in these times of being more socially aware of our colleagues and being more focused on creating environments that benefit all – not just ourselves – and in times where our feelings are something we can at last speak about openly and seek help with without shame or recrimination, then Emotional Intelligence certainly has its place firmly secured at the corporate ‘table’. So the answer is definitively NO it is not a Fad!

So what is Emotional Intelligence and why does it matter?

The creators of the term Emotional Intelligence – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer and the popular author on the subject ‘Dan Goleman’ characterise emotional intelligence as:

“the ability to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions and to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others”

In other words – The more you can create connection with people through demonstrating understanding, acceptance and ‘empathy’ of their personal fears, frustrations, delights, excitements and the more you can regulate your own emotions so as to not alienate or frustrate or scare others – the more they will follow you, support you, move mountains for you.

10 ‘TOP TIPS’ for finding Emotional Intelligence

  1. Understand you own strengths and weaknesses and prepared to be vulnerable and accept failure occasionally.
  2. Be curious about other people – find out about them show an interest in them and actually mean it!
  3. Don’t just think about other people – try and think like them – understand where they are coming from and what drives them. What’s it like to be them?
  4. Don’t press send! – think before you act – be cool – rationalise your own emotions and seek advice from a friend or colleague before sending or delivering that message that will ultimately only hurt you!
  5. Look at what you have – not what you don’t have or what other people haven – be happy and grateful and be positive.
  6. In corporate plumbing speak – be a radiator not a drain! Enthuse and share and help others and don’t be the one to always find a reason why something can’t work.
  7. Give not to receive. Helping others with no agenda other than to help them has a much greater ROI both emotionally and physically than a calculated kindness.
  8. Plan – having a plan B and C and even D in any business deal, process or negotiation will help you avoid feelings of rejection and will ensure that you feel motivated and prepared for any eventuality.
  9. Be realistic. No one is perfect and being human means also being emotional. Just make sure the emotion is justified and appropriate
  10. Practice. You can change how emotionally intelligent you are by practicing those things you find challenging. Don’t try and become something or someone you are not – simply aim to become the exceptional best version of you than you can be.


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