YPP Book Club

Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman

We’ve all had that employee who we hired with such great expectations. Their resume was impressive, including both experience and education that indicated they could be a star employee, and they generated such confidence during their interviews. However, they failed to engage with other staff, de-motivated co-workers, and just generally failed to perform. What happened?

The 10th Anniversary Edition of Emotional Intelligence provides a lot of insight into how this happens. Daniel Goleman was one of the people who put the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) at the forefront of discussions about the “ingredients of life success”. Since the original book was published, EI has spread globally, far beyond Goldman’s expectations. Educators now assess “social and emotional learning”, and companies now routinely evaluate EI in hiring, promoting and developing their employees. We selected it for this months Book Club because we have been surprised by how many times recently we have heard EI used in discussing concerns about employees.

The EI concept challenges the idea that IQ, while a measure of intellectual ability, also equates to the probability of success. One myth that has developed since the original publication is that EI accounts for a full 80-100% of career success, and Goleman makes it clear that this estimate doesn’t take into account some other factors. However, there is data that indicates IQ accounts for only about 20% of career success and that Emotional Intelligence is a much stronger prediction factor, particularly in positions where the ability to control and motivate oneself, control impulse and emotions and have empathy and hope are important. How many positions do you have where these abilities are not important?

Chapter 10 brings the concept of EI straight to the workplace, with examples of how low EI impacts it. Goleman conveys his belief that the workplace where empathy and compassion for employees conflicts with accomplishing the organizations goals is outmoded. Instead, EI is essential to the workplace of today. A quote from a psychologist at Harvard Business School captures this idea: “…the virtuoso in interpersonal skills is the corporate future.”

What the rapid embracing of EI since the original publication means for our businesses is the early development, at the grade school level, of assessments and education focused on EI, so we will have an opportunity to hire people who have stronger development in this area. In the meantime, it’s important to screen, coach and develop towards strong EI to ensure the best probability of success of our employees. For YPP’s recommendations in this area, see our HR article this month Emotional Intelligence: It Takes More than a High IQ.

While the book has a lot of psychological detail, it is worth reading to understand the interplay between IQ and EI, and help improve your workplace and success.

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