Emotional Intelligence, a different way of being smart, is a key to high performance at all levels, particularly for outstanding leadership.
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others, and to manage emotions effectively in ourselves and our relationships. It is about much more than just having empathy or being “sensitive” – that’s a common misconception about EI.
Emotional and social competencies are each a learned capacity, based on Emotional Intelligence, which contributes to effective performance at work – and often greater satisfaction in life as well.
There are four parts, or domains, to Daniel Goleman’s Emotional and Social Intelligence Model:
Within each of these four domains nest learned competencies based on the underlying ability that make people outstanding performers in the workplace. These are skills that can be developed, just as you can improve upon anything that you practice regularly.
Richard Boyatzis, a business professor at Case Western Reserve University, and Daniel Goleman analyzed the range of competencies that companies identified in their outstanding leaders. They distilled them down to twelve generic competencies that embody the core of distinguishing abilities of leaders in organizations across a broad spectrum of industries.
The twelve competencies and their brief definitions are below. For more in-depth information, see Crucial Competence, our new video series with Daniel Goleman and fellow thought-leaders in research and Emotional Intelligence, or explore our latest competency-based primers.
Emotional Self-Awareness: The ability to understand our own emotions and their effects on our performance.
Emotional Self-Control: The ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check and maintain our effectiveness under stressful or hostile conditions.
Achievement Orientation: Striving to meet or exceed a standard of excellence; looking for ways to do things better, set challenging goals and take calculated risks.
Positive Outlook: The ability to see the positive in people, situations, and events and persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.
Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change, juggling multiple demands, and adapting our ideas or approaches.
Empathy: The ability to sense others’ feelings and perspectives, taking an active interest in their concerns and picking up cues about what others feel and think.
Organizational Awareness: The ability to read a group’s emotional currents and power relationships, identifying influencers, networks, and organizational dynamics.
Influence: The ability to have a positive impact on others, persuading or convincing others in order to gain their support.
Coach and Mentor: The ability to foster the long-term learning or development of others by giving feedback, guidance, and support.
Conflict Management: The ability to help others through emotional or tense situations, tactfully bringing disagreements into the open and finding solutions all can endorse.
Inspirational Leadership: The ability to inspire and guide individuals and groups towards a meaningful vision of excellence, and to bring out the best in others.
Teamwork: The ability to work with others towards a shared goal; participating actively, sharing responsibility and rewards, and contributing to the capability of the team.
Based on their findings, Goleman and Boyatzis developed a 360-degree rating instrument called the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI). A 360-degree assessment instrument has leaders rate themselves, and also be rated by the people whom they trust and whose opinions they value. This gives the fullest picture, combining a self-assessment with the same evaluations by other people.
Their conversation centered on the twelve emotional intelligence competencies many organizations recognize as being essential for effective leadership. Each competency focuses on a specific aspect of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, or relationship management.
Positive Outlook is a competency in the self-management domain. During their conversation, Professor Kohlrieser stressed the importance of positivity, saying leaders must be able to find and convey to others what is positive in any situation. Dr. Goleman described research that highlights ways leaders can learn to be more positive. Here is a brief section of that conversation:
If there is one constant in life and the work world, it is change. Along with being positive, effective leaders must be able to adjust to the changes they face each day. In this brief video clip, George Kohlrieser talks about positivity as an essential precursor to another emotional intelligence competency, Adaptability.
Positive Outlook and Adaptability are just two of the twelve emotional intelligence competencies of leaders who perform better than their peers. Research shows that leaders who score high in six or more of the emotional intelligence competencies are better able to create the conditions needed to improve performance in the groups they lead.
Oftentimes the result isn’t just better performance, but happier and less stressed teams. And who doesn’t want that?
Want to learn more about leadership and emotional intelligence?
Leaders who want to succeed at any level of an organization must be emotionally intelligent. That’s the message I take away from reviewing decades of studies done by researchers and businesses across the world. What do I mean by emotional intelligence? What does the research say about why it matters? How can you develop your skills at emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart: how you manage yourself and your relationships. To find out whether someone has intellectual smarts, you test their IQ. To find out if someone is emotionally intelligent, you must look at their skill at handling emotional tasks. How aware are they of their own emotions? How well do they manage their emotions? How tuned in are they to the feelings of the people around them? How do they interact with others?
These questions about skill are based on a competence model for determining what makes someone truly capable of exceptional leadership. In a competence model, you do a systematic analysis and determine the abilities, or competencies, that you find in the high performers that you don’t see in the average.
Today, every organization with a high-quality Human Resources operation uses a competence model for their key positions. They use it to hire people, to promote people. And, it tells them what to help people develop in order to become star leaders.
After I wrote Emotional Intelligence, I asked about 100 organizations to let me look at their competence models, including the distinguishing competencies that set apart their outstanding performers from the normal at a given job. I aggregated all of these and looked at the composite with one question in mind: how many of the distinguishing competencies these organizations independently arrived at are based on IQ, purely cognitive abilities, and how many are based on emotional intelligence?
What I found was quite revealing:
For jobs of all kinds, at all levels, on average, emotional intelligence was twice as important as cognitive ability in terms of the distinguishing competencies. The higher you go in the organization, the more it matters.
If you look at top leadership positions, C-suite positions, you’ll see that 80 to 90%, sometimes 100%, of the competencies that organizations independently have determined are the ones that set their star leaders apart are based on emotional intelligence.
What does this mean for you? Developing these competencies could help you become a better leader. One who is more adaptable, more focused on achievement, has better conflict management, and is generally more successful.
There are four parts to my emotional intelligence model: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Within each of these domains, there are learned competencies based on the underlying ability that make people outstanding in the workplace. My colleagues and I identified 12 emotional intelligence competencies spread across the four domains. Crucial Competence explores in depth each of those 12 competencies.
In this brief video clip, Daniel Goleman and Daniel Siegel discuss the value of understanding brain science behind effective leadership.
Understanding equals power – the power to recognize ineffective behavior and to choose actions that work. For leaders, this means having access to a range of styles suitable for different situations. Coaches and other leadership development professionals can use knowledge of brain science to target their work, and enhance their credibility.
The Key to Understanding Brain Science: Brains Can Change
A key message from neuroscientific research is that the brain is plastic, changing with repeated experiences, practice, and learning. In Brainpower, Dr. Goleman and Dr. Siegel share insights from leading researchers about how to change your brain through specific training programs.
SuperSoul Sunday with Daniel Goleman and Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey uses what she has learned from Daniel Goleman every day. And, she thinks everyone can learn from Dr. Goleman’s work. That’s why she sat down with Dr. Goleman for an interview on SuperSoul Sunday. Here’s a taste of what they covered in their wide-ranging conversation:
What is the difference between IQ and emotional intelligence?
Technical and intellectual knowledge can get you in the door for a job, but emotional intelligence is what keeps you there and successful. Oprah shares examples of how she has seen the power of emotional intelligence.
Oprah asks Dr. Goleman about his book, A Force for Good,his friendship with the Dalai Lama, and his work to help spread the Dalai Lama’s vision for the world. In the face of what seem like overwhelming challenges, we can each take steps to be a force for good. Dr. Goleman shares the greatest lesson the Dalai Lama has taught him.
Why does the media focus on negative news?
Dr. Goleman explains the brain science behind our fascination with news that is threatening or scary and how the media capitalizes on that fascination. Oprah and Dr. Goleman discuss how to manage the barrage of negative news.
What is the impact of the stories we tell ourselves?
Emotional intelligence allows us to change our relationship with our own thoughts and feelings and have more choice.
Dr. Goleman looked at the fallacy that intelligence is a predictor of success and shared research that shows the importance of emotional intelligence. Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania has done extensive work on grit – the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. Duckworth and her colleagues have found that some students who don’t necessarily have the highest IQs in their classes get high grades because they keep plugging away despite setbacks.
A 30-year long longitudinal study of children in New Zealand found that the kids with the best cognitive control had the greatest financial success in their 30s. Cognitive control refers to the ability to delay gratification in pursuit of your goals, manage upsetting emotions well, and hold focus. Those skills mattered more to future success than the children’s IQ or family wealth.
Grit and cognitive control are examples of self-management, a key part of emotional intelligence. Self-management shows up in competence models – studies done by companies to identify the abilities of their top performers. Beyond grit and cognitive control, what sets apart stars from average workers are abilities across the emotional intelligence spectrum: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social effectiveness.
“IQ and technical skills matter, of course: they are crucial threshold abilities, what you need to get the job done. But everyone you compete with at work has those same skill sets. It’s the distinguishing competencies that are the crucial factor in workplace success: the variables that you find only in the star performers – and those are largely due to emotional intelligence.
These human skills include, for instance, confidence, striving for goals despite setbacks, staying cool under pressure, harmony and collaboration, persuasion and influence. Those are the competencies companies use to identify their star performers about twice as often as do purely cognitive skills (IQ or technical abilities) for jobs of all kinds.
The higher you go up the ladder, the more emotional intelligence matters: for top leadership positions they are about 80 to 90 percent of distinguishing competencies.”