Why is emotional intelligence important?

Did you know that studies have shown that EQ can account for 85% of your financial success (as opposed to IQ)? IQ is important, of course. but many consider that to be a baseline quality where EQ is a distinguishing quality.

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85% of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” (EQ) your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead.  Shockingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge (IQ).

  -“Intelligence Is Overrated,” Forbes, 2012

It may be obvious that the more you work with people (e.g. manager, customer-facing role, etc.), the more your EQ will determine your effectiveness and, thus, success. Yet EQ has been found to be important even in highly technical roles. The fact is, no matter what role you have, you must work together well with teammates, managers, internal and external customers, and various other stakeholders.

What determines who you are as a person?

Personality, IQ and EQ are distinct and complementary qualities that determine who you are, how you think, and how you act.

Components of Emotional Intelligence

EQ has four core components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness (empathy), and relationship management. According to Meng Tan, NYT best-selling author and founder of Search Inside Yourself at Google, "The aim of developing emotional intelligence is to help you optimize yourself and function at an even higher level than what you are already capable of.” Raise your hand if you'd like to optimize yourself!

Why is self-management so difficult sometimes?

This poster says it all...?!

The neuroscience of emotional hijacking

We can get emotionally hijacked because of how our brains developed from an evolutionary perspective. All stimuli enter our brain through the base and pass through our limbic system first. That's the part of the brain that detects threats and tells you to fight, flee, or freeze. It's also the seat of your emotions. The signal first goes to the amgydala and then to the pre-frontal cortex where you have rational thought and reasoning.

When the stimulus is really strong, the amygdala can literally "hijack" the brain and shut down the centers for rational thought in order to execute an  instant, visceral reaction. Fight or flight hormones are secreted, and it can take 6 to 10 seconds for the pre-frontal cortex to come back online. That was great for escaping from saber-tooth tigers on the Savannah...but not so great for responding to your boss when they say something you don't like. That's why you need to learn to manage your emotions in a healthy and productive way!

What one quality denotes high EQ and separates great leaders from average ones?

According to Daniel Goleman, the highest form of emotional intelligence is empathic concern, also known as compassion. When all the EQ skills come together, this is the result. It's benefits you, and it benefits the people around you.

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