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Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Regular Rotary eClub One contributor Chuck Gallozzi gives ideas for practical application of emotional intelligence

How Intelligent Are You?

by Chuck Gallozzi

If we were asked how intelligent we are, we would probably think about our intellectual prowess or our ability to reason and tackle logic. But how helpful is a high I.Q. if we know what to do but can't do it because of fear? How useful is a superior intellect if we can't get along with people? A good example is chess master Bobby Fisher, who had an extremely high I.Q. (he scored 187 compared to the 160 of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking). Yet, because of his inferior social skills, Fisher led a tragic life (

In contrast to I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient), there is E.Q. (Emotional Quotient), which measures our ability to use, comprehend, and control our emotions in positive and productive ways. It also measures our understanding of the feelings and needs of others. Although Bobby Fisher was truly a giant among intellectuals, he was a dwarf among the emotionally well-adjusted.

Perhaps the best explanation of the difference between I.Q. and E.Q. is the saying, "A high I.Q. guarantees your success in school while a high E.Q. guarantees your success in life." Another difference between E.Q. and I.Q. is that we can always increase our E.Q., but our I.Q., more or less, remains constant throughout our life.

"Anyone can become angry, that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way, this is not easy." Yes, Aristotle was right; managing our emotions is not easy. Yet, this skill is critical for maximizing our busines ssuccess. For as Dr. Daniel Goleman explains, managing our emotions and the emotions of others accounts for 80 percent of leadership success in organizations.

You now can see that the answer to my opening question ("How intelligent are you?") depends on what type of intelligence we are referring to (I.Q. or E.Q.). You probably have already heard about Emotional Intelligence because of the large number of books that are appearing in bookstores everywhere. Yet, some are still unfamiliar with Emotional Intelligence as it takes quite a bit of time for new ideas to reach the masses. Here is a brief history of emotional intelligence:

1930's- Edward Thorndike defines social intelligence as the ability to get along with others.

1940's- David Wechsler indicates that emotional components of intelligence may be necessary for success in life.

1950's- Abraham Maslow and other humanistic psychologists teach how to build emotional strength.

1975- Howard Gardner's book The Shattered Mind, introduced the concept of multiple intelligences.

1985- Wayne Payne uses the term emotional intelligence in his doctoral dissertation.

1987- Keith Beasley uses the term emotional quotient in an article published in Mensa Magazine.

1990- Peter Salovey and John Mayer publish their groundbreaking article, Emotional Intelligence in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality.

1995- Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ popularizes the concept of emotional intelligence.

Although the term Emotional Intelligence wasn't used until relatively recently, the practical applications of it were taught since ancient times. Examples of ancient teachers include Buddha, the Greek philosophers, and Christ.

More and more psychologists are considering the theory of multiple intelligences. Besides E.Q., the most popular new intelligence is probably A.Q. (Adversity Quotient or Adversity Intelligence), which measures our resilience, or our ability to overcome adversity. Also being discussed is Moral Intelligence. But now let's return to today's subject, which is Emotional Intelligence.

Why Is Emotional Intelligence so Important?

Today, people's workload and expenses have increased while their income has decreased. At the same time, technology is introducing many changes. So it is not surprising that workers are under a great deal of stress. This makes people irritable and introduces friction among coworkers. So, in addition to coping with their heavy workload, workers must try to win the cooperation of their team mates, who are often rude. Not surprisingly, Daniel Goleman wrote "Emotional-intelligence-based capabilities are twice as important for star performance as IQ and technical skills combined."

A large cosmetics company decided to choose new salespeople based on emotional intelligence. The result was that the new salespeople sold, on average, $91,000 more than those who were selected under the old system. There has also been a noticeably lower staff turnover among the new salespeople.

Emotional Intelligence Partial Skill Set

  • Ability to be flexible.
  • Ability to be optimistic.
  • Ability to be empathetic.
  • Ability to resolve conflicts.
  • Ability to use humor to lessen stress.
  • Ability to recognize and manage one's emotions.
  • Ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication.

Examples of the Practical Application of Emotional Intelligence Skills

1. Ability to be flexible. To avoid stalemates, during intense negotiations one must remain flexible. That is, one must be prepared for the unexpected. Those with low emotional intelligence are uncomfortable with change and panic in the face of the unexpected. Those with high E.Q. use the challenge of the unexpected to arrive at creative solutions. .

2. Ability to be optimistic. When faced with relentless pressure and little chance for success, the average person gives up in despair. Yet, giving up is not an option for world class champions, master negotiators, or business magnates. Because of their optimism, emotionally intelligent leaders are always hopeful and, therefore, willing to face the challenges that await them.

3. Ability to be empathetic. Empathy, or the ability to place oneself in the shoes of another, is a major component of emotional intelligence.

4. Ability to resolve conflicts. The emotionally intelligent can resolve conflicts because they always think in terms of win-win, unlike the "I win, you lose" philosophy of those with little emotional intelligence.

5. Ability to use humor to lessen stress.  Stress wears heavily on our bodies, reducing clarity of mind, and alertness, both of which are critical in a crisis.

6. Ability to recognize and manage one's emotions. To be successful, one must manage, or control, emotions.

7.Ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication. During negotiations, it is critical that both sides understand one another. Negotiations often fail because one side, or both, doesn't understand that 85% of communication is nonverbal. That is, the meanings of the words we use merely represent 15% of the message we convey. The other 85% is expressed by body language and the tone and volume of our voice. Emotionally intelligent people not only are aware of their emotions, but of the emotions of those they are dealing with. A firm grasp of the ability to read others by their body language is essential for successful negotiations.

Do you know the remarkable story of Monty Roberts, the "Horse Whisperer"? Wild horses were usually tamed by breaking their spirit, showing them who is boss, and making them submissive. But when still a teen, Monty Roberts studied horses in the wild for countless hours and learned their body language and behavior. Applying what he learned, he can mount a wild horse in 15 minutes without being violent.

The reason I bring up Monty is if you are looking for a noble New Year's resolution, do with people what Monty does with horses. Become a 'People Whisperer.' That is, without being aggressive or intimidating, learn to 'tame' people, win their confidence, and make them your friends. How do you do that? With emotional intelligence!

 "If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far." (Daniel Goleman)


© Chuck Gallozzi
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