In Tune With Your Team: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership
From the evolutionary perspective, emotions are a tool that helps people make decisions. When you are choosing between a steak and a vegan dish, you are able to pick quite quickly, depending on what you like more.
But in reality, not many people masterly use this tool and some cannot handle it at all. You surely have around you people who are called ‘easy-going’: they correctly understand others’ emotions and appropriately react in response, which allows them building relationships. Also, there are individuals who turn any situation into a conflict and defend their opinion every time as if the future of the universe depends on it.
Nowadays the former would be referred to as ‘people with high emotional intelligence, or EQ’.
IQ gets you hired but EQ gets you promoted
This phrase became very popular among American HR professionals at the beginning of the 2000s. Research by the Center for Creative Leadership (2007) has shown that empathy, one of the EQ components, is a factor of success at an executive position.
Managers who show more empathy toward direct reports are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses.
Surely, the meaning of IQ should not be undervalued, as it measures people’s cognitive abilities, in particular the ability to think abstractly and analytically. Still, people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. Everyone knows really intelligent ladies and gentlemen, who are unsuccessful and unhappy at work and private life. The main problem of those people is the lack of emotional abilities.
The result of interviewing 733 US multimillionaires, published in “The Millionaire Mind” by Thomas J. Stanley, demonstrates the practical importance of EQ and shows a strong impact of emotional intelligence on individual achievements. The participants were proposed to range thirty factors which had the main impact on their success. Let’s take a look at the results.
As we can see, the first five positions were given to factors representing emotional intelligence. And IQ took just the 21st place, moreover, only 20% of millionaires included it into the list. Thus, solid leaders’ high EQ helps them attract smart people and use their genius.
Here is how the classical scheme of EQ looks like. As we can see, it includes the skills of influencing both the self and others.
In the 1970s, David McClelland developed a series of tests to assess the EQ level. His EQ model was simpler and included more general competencies such as empathy, self-discipline and initiative. One of his clients was the USA Ministry of Foreign Affairs. McClelland made a very interesting experiment to identify the best diplomats.
The participants had to watch a video of dialogues between people in various stressful situations (such as divorce or professional dispute). The electronic filter changed soundtrack – and the output sound didn’t consist of the words, but rather shades of voices, emotional tones and intonation, which expressed the feelings of these people.
“Stars” unmistakably recognized the characters’ emotions, regardless of the language they spoke.
To be effective, leaders should have a solid understanding of how their emotions and actions affect the people around them. The better a leader builds relationships and works with others, the more successful they will be.