Human beings have always believed that cognitive intelligence (IQ) is the key to success.  In the 1940’s David Weshler realised after extensive research that there are certain non-intellectual abilities, that actually cause individuals to succeed.  How did he realise this?  He studied people with a fairly average cognitive intelligence that performed much better than those with a fairly high cognitive intelligence, and during the late 1980’s psychologists started talking about these abilities as emotional competence.  Psychologists Salovey and Mayer did an extensive study on social intelligence and emotional competence and in 1990 coined the term “Emotional Intelligence”


Why Attention to Emotions?

Emotion is taken the Latin word meaning: “energy in motion.”  Emotions have the ability to fuel our energy or drain our energy.  So it is safe to say that emotions could move us in a positive way, or in a negative way.   How to manage our emotions then contributes to how we manage our energy.  Emotional intelligence should not be seen as a fuzzy soft topic, but rather a pretty useful topic.


Knowing is Not Enough

In our travels between various companies, presenting workshops and couching in the field of leadership development and personal growth, we find many people who know of Emotional Intelligence.  They know all the terms and they know of all the advantages.  Most reading managers have read Goleman’s book.  Some managers have done workshops.  We believe that there is no need for more knowledge on Emotional Intelligence, but what is clear is that few people actually understand how to develop their Emotional Intelligence.  We find that even less people understand how to apply their Emotional Intelligence in their daily toils at work.  This is why we believe if we talk about Emotional Intelligence we need to talk about “cultivating” Emotional Intelligence.  This refers to an ongoing process that leads to the development of an Emotional Intelligence that leads to success.

Latest research by the Consortium for the Emotional Intelligence shows that your success in life is two thirds dependent on your Emotional Intelligence, rather than your cognitive intelligence (IQ).  The good news is that you can grow and purposefully develop our Emotional Intelligence.  Even though the evidence through research is overwhelming, we find that few people are prepared to invest in themselves and their employees by developing their Emotional Intelligence.  We also find that the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation/Radio Babies are the generations not very open to the development of their Emotional Intelligence.  While this is a gross generalisation, it is our experience in the corporate world.


What to Do?

So you want to be successful and develop your Emotional Intelligence?  How do you go about it?

  • First, we believe you need to read about Emotional Intelligence.  Get to know the core of what it is all about.  There are various internet site’s dedicated to the subject.
  • Second, you need to find out what your Emotional Intelligence is.  There are various measurements available out there, but we would recommend the Bar On Emotional Inventory.  It is very comprehensive and easy to understand.  Once again this can be done online or your HR department who have companies who provide them with this analysis.  The key here is to find out what your emotional vulnerabilities are.  Once you know what they are you can do something about it.
  • Third, attend an Emotional Intelligence workshop.  This is a place where you can learn and ask questions and also receive honest feedback.  Adults bring accumulated life experience to the table and that is why we encourage adults to learn from other and to share with each other in our workshops.  We are always astounded with the practical intelligence people possess.
  • Fourth, invest in your people/relations skills.  Recent research completed by the Center of Creative Leadership, studied 438 000 managers in 7 500 companies which included most of the Fortune 500 companies.  They asked these managers what were the top 3 aspects that contributed to their success.  67% of them mentioned networking and their ability to build effective relationships.  We should never underestimate the importance of networking and the skills to build effective relationships.  This is a big part of Emotional Intelligence.


Last, realise that you can’t do this by yourself.  It would be wise to find a coach, counsellor or a mentor who could guide you through your growth.  It always helps to have an object individual who is prepared to be truthful.  This person could help you develop your emotional vulnerability, giving you exercises and tools to grow.

As a business professional a key to your success in your career will be to invest in your Emotional Intelligence.


Author & Contributor: Hermann Du Plessis – Founder & Director at Themba Thandeka Leadership Institute – LinkedIn Bio:

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