Brain and heart

“90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.”

This line in a article struck me, along with another line “people with average IQs outperform those with highest IQs 70 percent of the time.” When I thought deeply about these lines, it made a lot of sense. Intelligence isn’t the most important factor in determining success – that honour belongs to Emotional Intelligence. So what is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

The same article defined it as “the something in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.” The problem with EQ is that it is difficult to measure. If we can’t measure it, it’s hard to work on it. What can we do then?

The title of the article is actually “18 Behaviours of Emotionally Intelligent People” and it goes on to list the behaviours, complete with explanations. I won’t be doing justice to the article if I were to simply summarise these behaviours. I would strongly encourage you to read the article as it really quite insightful. My thoughts here are centred on what I believe we can do more of in order to adopt these behaviours of emotional intelligence.

First, know yourself – what I realise is that in order to know whether you exhibit any of these behaviours is to raise your level of self-awareness. You need to know yourself. There are many ways to do this for e.g. actively seek feedback from people you trust, be open to criticisms, or perhaps, take a reliable, valid psychometric instrument.

Second, know others – understand what makes them tick, in relation to what makes you tick. Understand what triggers them emotionally, in relation to what triggers you emotionally. Everyone is unique and it would be foolish to assume that we each have similar triggers and motivations.

Thirdly, don’t take yourself too seriously – everyone makes mistakes and everyone is imperfect. Don’t blame yourself and don’t blame others. When we decide not take things too personally and to accept that life isn’t perfect, we begin to learn, move on and grow.

Finally, take good care of yourself – I was just sharing with a friend today that health is an enabler of success. In itself, it isn’t a goal, but without it, we can’t do much else. For me, this final point is probably what I will need most work on and it’s something I’m aware of.

In these reflections, it is also wonderful to note that in the field of people and organisation development, there is an increasing spotlight on emotions, physical well-being, meaning and happiness as factors that define success, a big shift away from more traditional definitions of academic success and intelligence.

Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.”

Dale Carnegie

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