Emotional intelligence?

中国日报网 2017-07-04 11:05



Emotional intelligence?Reader question:

Please explain “emotional intelligence”, as in this sentence: Technical skills are important, but emotional intelligence is indispensable in leadership.

My comments:

Emotional intelligence refers to the intelligence or being smart enough to understand and manage emotions, your own emotions and those of others, particularly those of others, I may add, if you want to be successful in a leadership position.

Emotional intelligence, that is, as opposed to IQ, the human intelligence that allows us to figure out 2 plus 2 equals four or understand a long and convoluted sentence, such as this one, grammatically, as well as other even more sophisticated skills, of course, on the technical level, skills that enable us to assemble a car, an airplane or send a rocket into outer space.

Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, addresses to the role emotions play in our life, our own life and our social life as a whole.

Emotions are powerful, as we all know for sure. At least, we know that our own emotions are powerful. Some of us as kid, for example, may have whined and howled and refused to go to school because our mother or father had hurt our feelings in an incident a day before. Some of us, as a jealous lover, won’t even mind resorting to violence in order to get revenge.

Anyways, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand and manage emotions. For someone in a leadership position, that means the ability to know, for example, what makes a particular employee tick, what buttons to push and when to push them.

I remember once reading an article about Steffi Graf, who used to dominate women’s tennis in the 1980s and 1990s. The interviewer asked Graf what trait she most deplores in other people.

“Inconsideration,” she says.

“Wow,” I remember murmuring to myself. I mean, surely there are worse personal traits that that, aren’t there? How about selfishness, vanity, immaturity, dishonesty, bad tempers and cruelty?

Well, suffice to say that Graf has emotional intelligence and has it aplenty.

All right, let’s read a few media examples to gain a greater understanding of emotional intelligence, something that’s been studied closely only fairly recently:

1. Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect. There is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence; you simply can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.

Personality is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s the stable “style” that defines each of us. Personality is the result of hard-wired preferences, such as the inclination toward introversion or extroversion. However, like IQ, personality can’t be used to predict emotional intelligence. Also like IQ, personality is stable over a lifetime and doesn’t change. IQ, emotional intelligence, and personality each cover unique ground and help to explain what makes a person tick.


Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we've found that 90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim.

Naturally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to emotional intelligence.

- Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed in Business, Entrepreneur.com, January 21, 2015.

2. One thing we often learn is this: many companies find it incredibly easy to keep hiring and promoting people who either look or act the same way. Army officer Richard Farnell knows one way to be a great leader and mentor: choose to help younger people who don’t look like you.

Farnell emphasized leaders’ responsibility to cast a wide net for mentoring in a Harvard Business Review article called “Mentor People Who Aren’t Like You.” The article struck a chord with us at Ladders because we keep seeing that people don’t understand the value of diversity, which is a huge financial and morale boost to companies.

The tough part: how do you create a diverse team? It’s easier to go down the well-worn path of picking people we relate to. Farnell has a response to that: don’t.

“Telling our protégés that diversity matters won’t change a thing. We must demonstrate our commitment to it by deliberately mentoring people who aren’t like us. Otherwise, we do what’s comfortable, and we risk saying with our actions that we care about cultivating the talents of a homogeneous few. That’s the example we end up setting, the culture we end up building,” Farnell wrote.


Leaders who decide to mentor people very different from them also benefit: they get a view into perspectives they would otherwise never see.

“Mentoring across social and demographic lines is good for the mentor, as well. It has made me a more empathic, emotionally intelligent leader. I’ve become better at spotting potential outside the usual mold — and better at understanding the obstacles people face when they aren’t part of the dominant group,” Farnell wrote.

In other words, good mentoring reinforces emotional intelligence — a crucial quality for leadership, even, as Farnell learned, in a hierarchy as rigid as the military.

Brent Gleeson, a former Navy SEAL, has said the same: “A leader lacking in emotional intelligence is not able to effectively gauge the needs, wants and expectations of those they lead. Leaders who react from their emotions without filtering them can create mistrust amongst their staff and can seriously jeopardize their working relationships,” Gleeson wrote in an article in Forbes.

Take it from veterans of the Armed Forces: The best leaders don’t look in the obvious places to find talented teammates, and they’re better for it.

- What a US Army officer can teach you about spotting talented people, TheLadders.com, April 19, 2017.

3. There is no magic money tree, say the Tories: unless it’s to bribe extremists to keep them in power, or to renovate the palaces of multimillionaire monarchs. Today nurses take to the streets to demand an end to a pay freeze that has slashed the living standards of these life-saving, care-giving national heroes. One such nurse confronted Theresa May – whose lack of emotional intelligence is only matched by her lack of authority – on national television before the election. There was no magic money tree, was May’s robotic response. If the nurse had been met with a middle finger, it would scarcely have been less insulting.

Let’s be absolutely clear. The Tories’ programme of cuts – austerity, whatever you want to call it – is a con, a lie, an ideologically driven act of sadism that has caused immeasurable and unnecessary hurt and pain. The Tories are keen to portray Labour as shambolic and wasteful spendthrifts. In this they are aided and abetted by the party’s post-crash failure to defend its own spending record. Then the Tories lost their majority, and lo! They did conjure up the magic money tree to shower gifts on their homophobic, anti-choice, climate change-denying, sectarian friends.

While nurses are driven to food banks in one of the richest societies that has ever existed, the Tories have almost doubled the Queen’s income. We live in a country that cannot provide affordable, comfortable and safe homes for millions of its own citizens, but the Tories can suddenly find tens of millions more each year to help renovate Buckingham Palace. There is a magic money tree for palaces, but not people.

The money soon to be showered on Northern Ireland will undoubtedly help the Six Counties The cost of the Tories’ calamitous failure will be significantly more than £1bn, of course. As Nick Macpherson – a former Treasury official, puts it – this is just a “downpayment. DUP will back for more ... again and again.” And neither can they be trusted with taxpayers’ dosh, having wasted nearly half a billion on a failed energy scheme.

But do you know what? The money soon to be showered on Northern Ireland will undoubtedly help the six counties. It will improve public services, education, the health services and infrastructure. It will undoubtedly lift living standards and fuel economic growth. That is what public investment – so mercilessly slashed by the Tories – achieves.

And if it’s good enough for Northern Ireland, it’s good enough for the rest of us. We can ask the most well off, for whom the crash was only ever something they read about in newspapers, to pay a bit more money; the same with booming big business. The billions are there: for housing, education, infrastructure, police – and, yes, to pay our nurses a decent wage.

The Tories are nothing more than a racket for their wealthy backers, a crude political instrument to defend the interests of Britain’s shameless vested interests. They will happily locate a magic money tree if it’s their own political survival that’s at risk. But what is good for the partisan interests of the Conservative party is not good for the nation.

The Tories’ Ulster spending spree should embolden all of us who always believed austerity was an ideologically driven con. On Saturday, thousands will march with the People’s Assembly to demand the end of the failed Tory experiment. The Tories have legitimised their arguments. Austerity is over for Northern Ireland, it’s over for the Queen, and now it must end for everybody else too.

- There is a magic money tree. But only for the Queen and the DUP, TheGuardian.com, June 27, 2017.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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