Barry McMaster: Guest Post on Emotional Intelligence

Barry McMaster: Guest Post on Emotional Intelligence

Barry McMaster is the Director of Matrix Vision, a learning and change solutions company. He has over 20 years in senior roles in a range of industries, a number of qualifications including a BA(Psych) and an MBA. Barry is a trainer, facilitator, presenter, speaker, people developer, change manager, actor, writer and business analyst. This post is used with permission from the Matrix Vision monthly newsletter.

Emotional Intelligence You could easily interpret that term "Emotional Intelligence" (EI) as an oxymoron. It appears that each of the words mean the opposite of each other. Emotion is often regarded as irrational, while intelligence is supposed to be about rational logical thinking.

However, David Caruso who works in this area writes, "It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head -- it is the unique intersection of both"...

Let's talk about Intelligence. Well first, the concept of "Intelligence" is typically focused on analytic reasoning, verbal skills, spatial ability, attention, memory and judgment (all of which can have many different definitions).

For a long time we have measured and valued these capabilities and have used the scores to attempt to predict a person's success. However we have observed that there are so many people with high IQ's that do not perform as well as their intellect would suggest. Calvin Coolidge observed "nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.... the world is full of educated derelicts".

Researchers have been puzzled by the fact that while IQ could predict to a significant degree academic performance and, to some degree, professional and personal success, there was something missing in the equation. Some of those with fabulous IQ scores were doing poorly in life; one could say that they were wasting their potential by thinking, behaving and communicating in a way that hindered their chances to succeed.

In 1940 David Wechsler described the influence of non-intellective factors on intelligent behaviour, and further argued that our models of intelligence would not be complete until we can adequately describe these factors... By 1943 Wechsler was proposing that the non-intellective abilities are essential for predicting one's ability to succeed in life.

An example of this research on the limits of IQ as a predictor is the Sommerville study, a 40-year longitudinal investigation of 450 boys who grew up in Sommerville, Massachusetts.

Two-thirds of the boys were from welfare families, and one-third had IQ's below 90. However, IQ had little relation to how well they did at work or in the rest of their lives.

The thing that made the biggest difference were childhood abilities such as being able to handle frustration, control emotions, and get along with other people.

Another interesting example is a study of 80 Ph.D.'s in science who underwent a battery of personality tests, IQ tests, and interviews in the 1950s when they were graduate students at Berkeley.

Forty years later, when they were in their early seventies, they were tracked down and estimates were made of their success based on resumes, evaluations by experts in their own fields, and sources likeAmerican Men and Women of Science.

It turned out that social and emotional abilities were four times more important than IQ in determining professional success and prestige.

It wasn't until 1983 that Howard Gardner began to write about "multiple intelligence." Gardner proposed that "intrapersonal" and "interpersonal" intelligences are as important as the type of intelligence typically measured by IQ and related tests.

Salovey and Mayer coined the term emotional intelligence in 1990, fully aware of the previous work on non-cognitive aspects of intelligence. They described emotional intelligence as "a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action."

However, it was not until Daniel Goleman published his book "Emotional Intelligence" in 1995 that we had something concrete that we could use to determine and build emotional intelligence.


Goleman made a distinction between emotional intelligence and emotional competence. Emotional competence refers to the personal and social skills that lead to superior performance in the world of work. "The emotional competencies are linked to and based on emotional intelligence. A certain level of emotional intelligence is necessary to learn the emotional competencies."

For instance, the ability to recognise accurately what another person is feeling enables one to develop a specific competency such as Influence. Similarly, people who are better able to regulate their emotions will find it easier to develop a competency such as decisiveness or motivation/drive. Goleman identified the five 'domains' of EQ as:

1. Self-Awareness - ability to know your emotions. 2. Self-Regulation - ability to manage your own emotions. 3. Motivation - ability to motivate yourself. 4. Empathy - ability to recognise and understand other people's emotions. 5. Social Skills - ability to manage relationships, ie., managing the emotions of others.

Goleman describes a number of sub-competencies under these five main domains.

Time EQ

Emotional Intelligence - Why? Emotional Intelligence is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions in order to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity. Research over the last 15-20 years has shown that individuals who have developed their Emotional Intelligence are between 40 -122% more effective, especially in roles that require influencing and guiding other's choices (e.g. sales, customer service or leadership). It has been said that the EQ (or understanding of Emotional Intelligence) will trump having a high IQ due to the power of Emotional Intelligence to assist in collaboration and productivity. Look at some examples:

The US Air Force also found that by using emotional intelligence to select recruiters, they increased their ability to predict successful recruiters by nearly three-fold. The immediate gain was a saving of $3 million annually.

Experienced partners in a multinational consulting firm were assessed on the EI competencies plus three others. Partners who scored above the median on 9 or more of the 20 competencies delivered $1.2 million more profit from their accounts than did other partners - a 139 percent incremental gain.

An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from fifteen global companies showed that emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average.

In jobs of medium complexity (sales clerks, mechanics), a top performer is 12 times more productive than those at the bottom and 85 percent more productive than an average performer. Competency research in over 200 companies and organisations worldwide suggests that about one-third of this difference is due to technical skill and cognitive ability while two-thirds is due to emotional competence.

At L'Oreal, sales agents selected on the basis of certain emotional competencies significantly outsold salespeople selected using the company's old selection procedure.

In a large beverage firm, using standard methods to hire division presidents, 50% left within two years, mostly because of poor performance. When they started selecting based on emotional competencies, only 6% left in two years. Furthermore, the executives selected based on emotional competence were far more likely to perform in the top third based on salary bonuses for performance of the divisions they led.

Research by the Center for Creative Leadership has found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competence. The three primary ones are difficulty in handling change, not being able to work well in a team, and poor interpersonal relations.

After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies, lost-time accidents were reduced by 50 percent, formal grievances were reduced from an average of 15 per year to 3 per year, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000.

One of the foundations of emotional competence -- accurate self-assessment -- was associated with superior performance among several hundred managers from 12 different organizations.

A study of 130 executives found that how well people handled their own emotions determined how much people around them preferred to deal with them.

For sales reps at a computer company, those hired based on their emotional competence were 90% more likely to finish their training than those hired on other criteria.

At a national furniture retailer, sales people hired based on emotional competence had half the dropout rate during their first year.

For 515 senior executives analysed by the search firm Egon Zehnder International, those who were primarily strong in emotional intelligence were more likely to succeed than those who were strongest in either relevant previous experience or IQ. In other words, emotional intelligence was a better predictor of success than either relevant previous experience or high IQ.

Financial advisors at American Express whose managers completed the Emotional Competence training program were compared to an equal number whose managers had not. During the year following training, the advisors of trained managers grew their businesses by 18.1% compared to 16.2% for those whose managers were untrained.

The most successful debt collectors in a large collection agency had an average goal attainment of 163 percent over a three-month period. They were compared with a group of collectors who achieved an average of only 80 percent over the same time period. The most successful collectors scored significantly higher in emotional intelligence competencies.

Story of the Month A young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. "There," he said to the old man, "see if you can match that!"

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. "Now it is your turn," he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.

Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. "You have much skill with your bow," the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, "but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot."

Emotional Intelligence Quotes

"Pessimism is bad for your health. It lowers your immunity. Your health at the age of 60 is strongly related to your optimism/pessimism at age 25. More prone to isolation because people don't want to be around you. Pessimists don't stick to health regimens or get medical advice." - Martin Seligman

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Author Unknown

"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving... and that's your own self." - Aldous Huxley

"Knowing others and knowing oneself, in one hundred battles no danger. Not knowing the other and knowing oneself, one victory for one loss. Not knowing the other and not knowing oneself, in every battle certain defeat." - Sun Tzu

"Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed rather at not being understanding." - Chinese Proverb

"I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each man's life a sorrow and a suffering enough to disarm all hostility." - Henry Longfellow


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