The concept ‘emotional intelligence’ was originally discussed in the 1980’s by Mayer and Salovey but it was catapulted into the public arena by Daniel Goldman in his 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ’. This book generated a flood of interest and resulted in ‘soft skills’ being taken more seriously in education and businesses alike.
So what is emotional intelligence? There have been many descriptions by various leaders in this field. To take it to its simplest definition it is how you manage your own emotions and the emotions of those around you and your environment in order to be successful in your chosen life.
At the same time as Goldman’s book was published, a psychologist, Dr Reuven Bar-On had his own questions that he wanted answered. They were:
- Why do some people possess greater emotional wellbeing?
- Why are some people better able to achieve success in life? and
- Why do some people who are blessed with superior intellectual ability fail in life while others with gifts that are more modest succeed?
In order to answer these, Bar-On developed a measure and instrument called ‘Emotional Quotient Inventory’(EQi). This is made of 5 scales broken down into 15 sub-skills as follows:
|Intrapersonal||Interpersonal||Adaptability||Stress Management||General Mood|
Emotional Self Awareness
So, did his questions get answered? Well, interestingly it has now been claimed that only 20% of success is based on IQ. The remaining 80% is based on softer skills – motivation, persistence, being able to delay gratification and being able to regulate your moods – all based in emotional intelligence (EQ).
So what is the importance in knowing how you perform in these sub scales? It is not so much the numerical value of each one that is the insight but more the shape of the profile and how each subscale links with each other. There may only be one subscale that is effectively dragging down your overall profile. Awareness of these ‘drag factors’ in your profile can focus you to build a development plan that will address this first. Once the ‘drag factor’ has been improved, your overall profile will improve.
For example, let’s think about a senior manager in a service environment. He had high targets to meet using a team of experienced professionals. The EQi results showed a healthy profile, but three sub scales were out of synch – assertiveness was high, whereas impulse, control and flexibility were low and considered ‘drag factors’. During feedback with the senior manager, he explained how he had superseded all targets this year, but at the same time was finding the team dynamics hard to manage (basically getting good results but alienating his team along the way – so how sustainable was this?). He committed to a coaching programme focused around how he reacts and speaks to his team (impulse control) and ways to incorporate his team’s ideas (flexibility). The results were an improvement in both these subscales (‘drag factors’) and an increase across the profile (in particular emotional self-awareness, empathy and interpersonal skills).
The great point about the above and EQ is that it can all be learnt, unlike IQ, which is relatively inelastic. The key is to know where to focus your learning and development as EQ is a range of skills that can be improved!
Should you want to understand your own EQ in more depth, please get in touch. Coaching Direct are licensed to administer, score and interpret the ‘Bar-On EQi’ reports.