Emotional Intelligence and Age

I just finished posting new research on emotional intelligence and age.

This study started in a workshop where we were talking about Noble Goals. In our model, the “capstone” competence of emotional intelligence is Pursue Noble Goals — there are two reasons:
1. When we engage in the pursuit of purpose we are less defensive and reactive — less about our own ego and more about the larger vision. This allows us, even compels us, to manage our emotions more effectively.
2. Really, what’s the point? We can teach people to be more intelligent at problem-solving and they invent ways to hack the net. We can teach people to be more intelligent at engineering and they develop better ways of killing. We can teach people to be more intelligent about emotions and they become master manipulators. Voila, job done, let’s call it a day. Oh – wait – missed something…. So “intelligence” isn’t enough. We need to apply that intelligence — this is wisdom. So Pursuing a Noble Goal is a way to focus our emotional aptitude and move toward wisdom.

Anyway – point of the story: One of the managers I was training said, “Aren’t older people naturally better at this competence? It seems like young people, at least in my company, don’t really have a vision.” Hrmuph.

So I asked our research team to find out.

The answer is yes – older people are slightly more likely to be emotionally intelligent – at least in four of our eight competencies. I’m excited about this result – it shows that EQ is learned and it does develop with life experience and that age isn’t enough: You have to work to learn these skills.

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