The Power of Emotional Intelligence

For years people assumed that IQ was more predictive of life and occupational success than any other variable. After all, doesn’t it stand to reason that the smartest people will outperform others most of the time? It’s logical, but not true. In fact, recent research has found that people of average IQ will outperform those of high IQ 70% of the time. An amazing fact, which prompted social scientists to search for some other variable to explain success.

After years of research and countless studies, the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ) emerged as the missing link. Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and manage your own emotions and the ability to understand and manage your relationships with others. Furthermore, it has been found that emotional intelligence accounts for about 60% of your success on the job and is the biggest predictor of workplace performance, leadership, personal excellence, as well as positive relationships.

According to research from TalentSmart, a company that studies and teaches emotional intelligence, 90% of high performers are high in emotional  intelligence. People who develop their EQ tend to be more successful on the job and also make more money (average of $29,000 per year more than people low in EQ). This holds true across industries, al all levels of the organization, and all regions of the world (Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves).

Here is why emotional intelligence is important. We are both emotional and rational beings. We have the ability to think and reason and yet we’re continually impacted by emotions. When in challenging or threatening situations (key moments as I like to call them) these emotions can be very strong. And our brains are hard-wired to give our emotions the upper hand.

It works like this. Our sensory experience (sight, sounds, touch, etc.) travels through our bodies in the form of electrical signals to the base of the brain where it enters the limbic system. The limbic system has often been called the “old, reptilian brain” and is the place where feelings are produced. So our experience is translated into feelings before entering the cortex of the brain where reasoning begins to take over. The rational brain can’t stop the emotions produced by the limbic system, at least initially. It’s too late. The horse is already out of the barn, so to speak.

However, the two areas do influence each other through constant communication. This communication between the emotional and rational brains is the source of emotional intelligence.

I would say that the objective of emotional intelligence is not to suppress or eliminate our emotions. Can you imagine no emotion? We’d be nothing more than robots, the richness of our lives gone. The objective is to manage these emotions in such a way that they serve us, and help us find success, purpose, and meaning in our personal lives and connection (love) with others.

Look around and see if you would agree that the most successful and happiest people are high in emotional intelligence. Certainly, there are plenty of people in key positions, managers, co-workers, etc., who are low in emotional intelligence and their overall impact on others is more toxic than beneficial. The most effective people are self-aware and successfully manage their emotions. They are also socially aware and good at managing relationships with others.

One of the best ways to learn about emotional intelligence is to observe such people in action. Who do you know that you consider emotionally intelligent? How do they manage themselves, particularly during conflict or life challenges? What do they do? Not do? How do they handle their relationships?

Leave a short comment telling us about that person. What do you appreciate about him/her? How has this person impacted your life? What have you learned from him or her?


About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit www.rogerkallen.com>.

2 responses to “The Power of Emotional Intelligence”

  1. Melinda says:

    People I know with high emotional intelligence are balanced. They are able to place things in a proper perspective and not over react to situations. They do the best they can given what they can control and let go of what they cannot.

    • Roger Allen says:

      Good thoughts, Melinda. I think you’ve captured a good part of what it means to be emotionally intelligent.

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