Management & Organization

The most important indication of an executive’s success: Emotional intelligence

Your abilities as a leader is said to be the most important thing when considering your employees' satisfaction on the job. That's why there are great advantages from working on your EQ, or your emotional intelligence.

Daniel Goleman, who is the pioneer within the research field of emotional intelligence, wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review about emotional intelligence, which is now sort of a classic, and his conclusion was clear: Emotional intelligence is by far the biggest indicator of an executive’s success.

When comparing average executives and the top-performers he claims that up to 90 % of the difference in their profiles can be linked to their level of emotional intelligence. He claims furthermore that the level of technical knowhow, IQ, analytical abilities and good ideas does not make that big a difference. Goleman sees these abilities more as the minimum requirement. And the higher the executive finds himself in the organizational hierarchy, the less significant the technical abilities are.

But what exactly is emotional intelligence and how do you know if you or anyone else has it?

What is emotional intelligence?

Goleman sorts emotional intelligence into five components: Self-awareness, self-control, motivation, social skills and empathy. We all have these components within us, but the difference lies in our ability to use them. People with a high EQ scores high on all five.

The five components of emotional intelligence

  1. Self-awareness. The ability to recognize and understand your own mood, feelings and underlying causes and the effect these have on other people. Confidence, realistic self-judgement, self-effacing sense of humor.
  2. Self-control. The ability to control or redirect disturbing impulses and moods. Tendency to postpone judgement – to think before you act. Credibility and integrity, confident with ambiguous, openness to change.
  3. Motivation. A passion for working with causes that are greater than money or status. Driven to perform, optimistic in the brink of defeat, engaged in the organization.
  4. Empathy. The ability to understand the emotional state of others. The ability to interact with people based on their emotional reactions. Expert in creating and keeping talent, multicultural sensitivity, servicing clients and customers.
  5. Social skills. Good at administrating relations and building a network. An ability to find common ground and build close relationships, good at being persuasive.

14 signs of a high EQ

It can be difficult to know whether you are emotionally intelligent or not. Here are 14 signs for you to consider – do you have them and in which degree?

  1. You are interested in people you do not know.
  2. You know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.
  3. You are a good leader.
  4. You are attentive.
  5. You get along with most people.
  6. It's important for you to be a good and moral person.
  7. You take the time to help other people.
  8. You are good at reading the facial expressions of others.
  9. You are resilient – you pick yourself up when you fall.
  10. You are good at judging the personality of others.
  11. You have always been self-motivated.
  12. You are able to say no and show great self-control towards temptations.
  13. You know exactly what makes you angry.
  14. You trust your intuition.