Last summer I had the incredible opportunity to speak at a retreat called Live Life for a Living, put on by Jesse Itzler and his team. During this extraordinary event I was privileged to hear Turney Duff, bestselling author of the book, The Buy Side, speak. I was riveted listening to his fascinating journey to success on Wall Street. He wasn’t the smartest guy at the firm, he didn’t go to the best college, but he “killed it at happy hour.” He credits much of his rapid rise to becoming one of the most successful healthcare traders on the Street to his high emotional intelligence, or EQ.
Emotional intelligence is a major buzzword in the corporate world, but it’s hardly a fleeting trend. The concept was popularized in 1995 by Daniel Goleman in his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goleman, a psychologist and science journalist, outlines five key elements of emotional intelligence:
- Social skills
In his book, Goleman states that emotional intelligence accounts for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and matters twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.
Since the nineties, academic institutions and corporations have implemented emotional intelligence research and programs, yielding positive results in the workplace and beyond. People with higher emotional intelligence tend to be perceived more positively by others. And they have better:
- Social relationships
- Family and intimate relationships
- Academic achievement
- Psychological well-being
- Social relationships during work performance and in negotiations
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence at Work
Emotional intelligence sounds great, but what does it mean for the workplace? Studies find that emotional intelligence is associated with better performance, higher pay, better positions, and better peer and supervisor ratings of interpersonal facilitation (people skills) and stress tolerance.
The truth is, there is a lot of overlap between emotional intelligence and general intelligence when it comes to activity in the brain. The prefrontal cortex, or the “smart part” of the brain, plays a big role in emotional intelligence, just as it does in general intelligence. That may be why many studies find an overlap between emotional and general intelligence. While the best combination in the workplace is high EQ and high IQ, high IQ without the EQ can severely limit one’s ability to develop the leadership skills that successful businesses desire.
So how can you develop emotional intelligence? Start with a little mindfulness.
Three of Goleman’s five key elements of emotional intelligence are directly related to mindfulness: self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy. Robust studies show that mindfulness increases empathy, self-awareness and self-regulation. Additional studies show that mindfulness increases emotional intelligence as a whole.
The relationship between mindfulness and emotional intelligence is a two-way street. Each enhances the other. Google’s own mindfulness program, which is supported by research, is based on Goleman’s five key elements of emotional intelligence, which they call “leadership skills.”
Goleman himself explains, “Knowing yourself lies at the core of emotional intelligence, and the best mental app for this can be found in the mind training method called mindfulness.”
If you’d like to work in a more mindful, emotionally intelligent environment, let your HR department know about our workplace course.
and the Mindful Life Team