Monday, September 8, 2008

Are you emotionally intelligent?

Over the weekend, my sister forwarded me a great article about Daniel Goleman. He's the former Harvard psychologist who created the concept of "emotional intelligence," which according to Wiki is "an ability, capacity, or skill to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups."

The concept has real relevance to coaches, in my opinion.

Goleman, who has written several books on the subject, contends that our "EQ" matters much more in life than our "IQ" (i.e., how smart we are).

According to Goleman, those with high EQ's recognize their emotions and effectively manage those emotions. They also recognize the emotions of others (i.e., they empathize with others).

In addition, people with high EQ's motivate themselves, channeling their emotions toward a goal. They also manage relationships effectively (i.e., have excellent social skills). Interestingly, people who are "emotionally intelligent" are also generally optimistic.

The article my sister sent me came from the most recent issue of Strategy + Business, a magazine published by the consulting firm Booz & Co. Here's an excellent quote from Goleman:

“Being a ‘tough guy’ is no longer a winning strat­egy in organizations. It works in the early days of a startup or when people don’t have other choices. But even then it doesn’t work all that well, and the reason is neurological.

Aggressiveness is not the optimal physical state for performance. Because emotional states are contagious and emanate from the boss outward, behavior that pitches people into a state of fear or anger also pushes them out of the zone for optimal cognitive efficacy.

There may be some sort of narcissist hit to be had in being a bully or a tyrant, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot.”