Friday, July 10, 2009

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (or "EQ", short for Emotional Intelligence Quotient) is a much-talked-about if seldom-understood topic. Simply put, EQ is the ability to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. I like to think about it as applied empathy, the ability to not only put yourself in someone else's shoes, but to react appropriately given your empathic understanding of their situation. The Center for Creative Leadership conducted a study that yielded some interesting findings regarding the usefulness of EQ in the workplace. They found that higher levels of emotional intelligence are associated with better performance in the following areas:

Participative Management
Putting people at ease
Work-life balance
Building and mending relationships
Doing whatever it takes to achieve results
Confronting problem employees
Change management

On the flipside, low EQ was associated with significant career derailers such as difficulty changing and adapting and difficulty forming positive professional relationships. Once again, the research shows that "soft skills" have cold, hard business impact.

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