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Is Emotional Intelligence Just the Fad du Jour?
10/15/2008 - Previous | Next | Issues Home
Susan Dunn -- Emotional intelligence EQ and EI) isn’t a new concept. Most recognize it right away, or parts of it anyway. It’s what used to be called “social skills,” “people skills,” “common sense,” or “gut feeling.” And it’s spreading around the world like wildfire.

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“I’ve been doing this for 15 years,” Annette told me. “It just wasn’t called this.” I was explaining to a counselor in Australia about the field of emotional intelligence, and she was sure she’d found it first. Likely you'll feel the same way.

“Oh, I know what you’re talking about,” James tells me, as I present a proposal to coach his staff on EQ. “Team building, leadership, getting along, cutting down on the politics. Why didn’t you say so?”

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ (and EI) isn’t a new concept. Most people recognize it right away, or parts of it anyway. It’s what used to be called “social skills,” or “people skills,” or “common sense,” or “gut feeling.” And it’s spreading around the world like wildfire.

“Let me leave you with the million Ringgit question,” writes a Malaysian consultant. “Is it imperative to measure our emotional intelligence and take appropriate steps to bridge our EI gaps? Only you can decide. I rest the case with you.”

An Australian reporter writes, “Top leaders are getting in touch with their emotions and those of their staff as intuition and emotional intelligence become the hottest management buzzwords.” And international EQ conferences are planned this summer in the UK and Canada.

Emotional intelligence is spreading around the world because it's needed, and it's far from a buzz word or the fad-du-jour. According to Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., whose book Emotional Intelligence popularized the concept some years ago, non-cognitive factors account for about 80% of adult success.

Researchers such as Martin Seligman, Ph.D., Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., Peter Salovey, Ph.D., Reuven Bar-on, Ph.D., Con Stough, Ph.D. wanted to find out what factors besides IQ contributed to our success and happiness. They’ve named the competencies (or qualities, or skills), designed assessments, developed individual and business programs, and made some complex behaviors (like “people skills”) understandable and teachable. Yes, unlike IQ, EQ can be improved over the lifetime and according to Goleman, it’s 2-4 times as important to our success and happiness.

What competencies are involved?

Things like self-awareness, managing our own emotions and those of others, team building, leadership, negotiation and communication, constructive discontent, recognizing nonverbal signs and emotional content in poetry and art, personal power, integrity, focus, being self- motivated and able to set priorities, flexibility, creativity, trust, and good intuition.

What does this look like in real life?

Tomorrow, what skills will you need to have at work besides your degree to forge 10 people from 5 different cultures, 4 religions, 2 generations, 6 ethnic backgrounds, 2 sexes, and 4 departments, with 3 learning styles, 5 communication styles, and 4 occupations, 1 of whom is introverted, 1/3rd of whom are left-brained, 1 of whom is hearing-impaired, 4 of whom are depressed, half of whom are single, 3 of whom you’ve never met before, and 3 of whom are speaking a second-language, whose IQs range from 110-150, into a team able to produce a work product to specification, on time, and within budget?

And then pick up your mother from eldercare, and go home to a loving relationship in a strong marriage that nurtures two children?

You'll need emotional intelligence!

What happens when EQ is low?

It’s expensive in terms of lost money, opportunity, time, relationships, promotions, careers, projects, goals, accomplishments, self-esteem, marriages, physical and emotional health, and even lives.

-- 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies
-- 70% of the reasons why customers and clients are lost are EQ-related
-- 50% of time wasted in business is due to lack of trust
-- Seniors get worse in hospitals when the physical therapists don’t engage with them
-- Counseling clients fail to change because their counselors lack empathy or optimism
-- 50% of marriages fail
-- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youths aged 15-24 in the US.
-- Think this is a result of industrialized society? Think again. Samoa has the highest suicide rate in the world.
-- Impulsive boys are 3-6x as likely to be violent adolescents.
-- Low levels of empathy predict poor school performance.
-- Gifted children suffer from not being able to read social cues which leaves them isolated in childhood.
-- Doctors with poor EQ skills get sued more.
-- 75-90% of visits to primary care physicians in the US & Canada are due to stress-related problems.
-- Pessimists live shorter, unhealthier, unhappier, lives, and are less likely to achieve their potential than optimists.
-- College students in a study with the same IQ and GPA who did not write down their career goals with intentionality were 50% less successful 15 years later.
-- Perfectionists produce, succeed, and have a markedly higher suicide rate.

What can you do to improve your EQ?

-- Let me or one of our trained coaches coach you in emotional intelligence.
-- Browse my Web site for resources to investigate.
-- Take The EQ Foundation Course© or one of the mini-courses.
-- Subscribe to “It’s About My Personal & Professional Development” and “EQ in the Workplace” ezines.
-- Look at eiconsortium.org for some of the latest writings, and also research data confirming the positive results EQ training can bring to an individual and also to an organization.
-- Become curious about learning something foundational that's very different. After all, if you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting.
-- You know there's more involved in success and happiness than cognitive skills alone. Why not investigate the possibilities!

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, Global EQ. Emotional intelligence coaching to enhance all areas of your life -- career, relationships, midlife transition, resilience, self-esteem, parenting. EQ Alive! -- excellent, accelerated, affordable EQ coach certification. Susan is the author of numerous ebooks, is widely published on the Internet, and is a regular speaker for cruise lines. For more details, visit: http://www.susandunn.cc.

© 2008 Susan Dunn

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.

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