Over the last couple of months I have been running a series of workshops on emotional intelligence and from them I am now running a further series of six workshops going deeper into different aspects of EI.
One of the interesting learnings for me has been the realisation that EI is one of those things you either get or you don’t.
Talking about it with someone who “gets it” is easy; talking with someone who doesn’t is not just difficult it’s impossible.
The people I’ve spoken to who don’t get it tend to have one of two reactions:
1.) They see it as a sign of weakness; that somehow the acknowledgement of emotions in their business life will sap their strength, a bit like Delilah cutting Samson’s hair.
2.) They see it as a personal affront, that somehow their social skills are being questioned.
And this leads to a bit of a quandary:
The people who need it the most tend to recognise it the least.
This can show up in the business world when business owners, directors and managers sign up their employees/staff to emotional intelligence programs because “…that’s what they need” but don’t sign up to it themselves.
You wouldn’t ask someone to file your business accounts who hadn’t trained to be an accountant. You wouldn’t ask someone to represent you legally who hadn’t trained as a solicitor; so why are some happy to take on the management of others without investing in the training and tools to do it effectively.
The irony for those who see EI as a weakness is that emotionally intelligent people are more assertive, exert more influence and appear to have a natural power that those who are less open to it or not naturally gifted with it, do not have. It is why people in positions of authority but without the awareness of EI can become aggressive and controlling, never developing the trust of those that work to them. And then they wonder why they have difficult management situations.
The irony for those who see EI as a personal affront is that that emotionally intelligent people are far more resilient and able to deal with challenge effectively creating better outcomes for all involved.
There is just too much research and evidence available nowadays for business owners and professional managers to ignore the benefits that accrue from understanding and developing a proficiency in emotional intelligence.
As we move ever deeper into a service based economy where the ability to make money comes from the ability to create and develop personal relationships, rather than producing things, understanding the driving force of relationships becomes a must have and not an optional extra.
Emotional Intelligence now has at least a 20 year history going back to Daniel Goleman’s original work and beyond that if you look at the work he followed. It is no surprise that many of the top business schools require their applicants to undertake emotional intelligence testing prior to acceptance.
Emotional Intelligence is now widely regarded as a more accurate predictor of success than core IQ.
So, with apologies to all the ladies reading this:
Man up and get to grips with your emotional intelligence.