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Emotional Intelligence

from: Tori Sutton - Guest Contributor

Many people assume the smartest guy in the room is always the most successful. Though having a high IQ never hurt anyone, intellect may not be the key achievement indicator. An increasing number of studies show those with emotional intelligence - often referred to as emotional quotient or EQ - outperform their colleagues in just about every setting. Simply put, how we manage our emotions plays a critical role in our success.

In fact, it can be more powerful than experience in the field. Recruiting firm Egon Zehnder International found executives with strong emotional intelligence were three times more likely to succeed than those without. The study was conducted in three distinct cultures - Japan, Germany and Latin America - and all yielded the same results.

So what is emotional intelligence? Since the theory was introduced to the mainstream in the 1990s, over 3,000 scientific papers have been written on the subject, and more companies are adopting the model in human resources practices every day.

What having emotional intelligence looks like is that you're confident, good at working towards your goals, adaptable and flexible, author Daniel Goleman told the Huffington Post. You recover quickly from stress and you're resilient. Life goes much more smoothly if you have good emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence can be a complex subject since it draws from a number of emotional, behavioral and communications theories. At its core, emotional intelligence could be described as the difference between book smarts and street smarts. Those with high EQs are confident, and have the ability to control their own emotions and the emotions of others around them. They also have fewer unresolved personal issues.

Goleman's 1995 book Emotional Intelligence outlines the five main domains of EQ as follows:

1. Self-awareness, or being able to identify and understand moods, emotions and drives, and their effect on others. Those who are confident, realistic and have a self-deprecating sense of humor are generally self aware.

2. Self-regulation, or being able to control moods and think before acting. Those good at self-regulation usually embrace change.

3. Internal motivation, or those who work for more than just money or status. People with internal motivation are curious, persistent and optimistic.

4. Empathy, or being able to understand people by their emotional reactions. Those with empathy tend to make good recruiters or customer service representatives.

5. Social skills, or the ability to build rapport and lasting relationships with people.

Hiring those with strong emotional intelligence has paid off for many companies. When beauty giant L'Oreal introduced emotional competency to its hiring process, it discovered sales people with high EQs sold over $90,000 more each year than their less in-tune colleagues, netting $2.5 million annually in additional sales. The employee turnover rate also dropped 63 percent.

What steps can you take to increase your own emotional intelligence, or that of your employees? Business psychology professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic points out your EQ is firm, but not rigid. This means if you're willing to focus, change is possible. The good news is coaching programs do work, though receiving accurate feedback is a must. Keep in mind some people are naturally introverted, shy or pessimistic. Your personality will dictate your emotional growth.

And there's a bonus: research also shows that the benefits of EQ-coaching are not just confined to the workplace - they produce higher levels of happiness, mental and physical health, improved social and marital relationships, and decreased levels of cortisol, said Chamorro-Premuzic.

About the Author

Tori Sutton is the Communications Director for Schooley Mitchell, the largest independent telecom consulting company in North America with offices from coast to coast. She writes articles of interest on telecom, tech and business-related issues.

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