Leadership’s Link to Emotional Intelligence

“More than anyone else, the boss creates the conditions that directly determine people’s ability to work well.” – Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership

Have you ever wondered why many brilliant, well-educated people aren’t promoted, while those with fewer obvious skills quickly climb the professional ladder? You can chalk it up to emotional intelligence (EI).

When the concept first emerged in 1995, EI helped explain why some people with average IQs outperformed those with higher IQs more than two-thirds of the time. I often see this in the work I do coaching leaders. Some of the brightest intellectually seem to be lacking when it comes to emotions.

In the United States, experts always assumed that high IQ was the key to high performance. Today, decades of research point to EI rather than IQ as the critical factor that separates star performers from the rest of the pack.

People have been talking about EI (also called EQ) ever since psychologist Daniel Goleman published the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence in 1995. Everyone agrees that emotional savvy is vital, but we’ve thus far been unable to harness its full power.

Many of us lack a full understanding of our emotions, let alone the emotions of others. We fail to appreciate how feelings fundamentally influence our everyday lives and careers.

Goleman published another work, The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, which expands on his original idea. It turns out that emotions are an integral part of decision-making. We don’t often realize how much of an influence they have over our everyday planning and interacting. You can see this in people with injuries in the emotional center of the brain. They retain their full IQ, but are unable to function well in society because they lack emotional connectivity.

Research by the TalentSmart consulting firm has shown that only 36% of people tested can accurately identify their emotions as they happen. Two-thirds of people are typically controlled by their emotions, but remain unskilled at using them in a beneficial way. This lack of emotional intelligence is a major reason people engage a coach.

Are you in touch with your emotions? Do they help or hinder you in your everyday life? I would love to hear your thoughts! Connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know.