Success & the Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

A completely revised and updated Business Case for EQ is now available for free download.

The new Business Case for Emotional Intelligence lays out a compelling array of research projects linking EQ and EQ skills to business success.  But what about you? How do you define success, and does emotional intelligence have anything to do with it?

Think of 3-6 people you know that you consider successful. Maybe they are not “100% successful,” but each has some part of success well dialed.

  1. What are the key elements of success? What qualifies someone to be on your list?
  2. For each person, list their key strengths: Beyond luck and circumstance, what knowledge, attitudes, or skills sets this person apart? How many of these are linked to emotional intelligence? Without using names, post your answer to this question in the comments, below!
  3. What parts of list #1 do you aspire to? What parts of list #2 will help you get there?

This article appeared as a VitalSigns for EQ – one of Six Seconds’ great newsletters.

Emotional Intelligence Helps NFL Players “Win at Life”

“We’re learning that emotional intelligence is an important ingredient in helping professional athletes live healthy and successful lives”
– National Football League Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw

A study of retired NFL players and EQ compares players’ emotional intelligence with life success — including good health, positive relationships, avoiding drug/alcohol use & violence, financial strength, and quality of life.  Among the 30 athletes we studied over 60% in the variation of these important factors are predicted by emotional intelligence scores.  So there is a massive correlation between high EQ skills and life success.

This is an important study because NFL players are extremely influential as role models – and despite their incredible success in making it to the top of the  game, there are so many struggles off the field. We can now pinpoint specific, learnable skills that will make a difference for these guys – for life.  While the NFL is a very big, economically driven business, the growing interest in emotional intelligence could be a sign of commitment to the larger impact of the sport in our society.

Want a change in ’08? Willing to work for it?

I found this article intriguing, both in the framing and the advice. The setup is that while we talk a lot about things being different in our organizations (and lives), most of us won’t actually do much about it. Is that ok with you?

… the truth is we will all still be at the same spot next year, fussing about the way we are organizing, prioritizing and delegating.

But what would happen if we were determined to make a real change in the way we lead our organizations this year? Perhaps we should ask ourselves the more compelling question…what will happen in our organization this year if nothing changes in the way we lead?

In considering my own challenges as a leader, there are some results I want this year – this question is leading me to wonder: Am I really willing to work for it? istock_000004322683xsmall.jpg I’m pretty comfortable with the way things are right now – it’s not all it could be, but is pretty great. Hard work to change – worth it? Will think!

Sometimes I wish I could just “press the button” and have change done.

But change takes persistent effort. I don’t mind working HARD – its keeping it in focus day after day that’s so difficult.

The article then provides seven ideas of things to do differently – hard things like building better relationships, holding onto vision, and being authentic. These take a lot of courage and risk – I’d have to be a bit less comfortable, and I’d have to be willing to risk making others uncomfortable. Takes a lot of emotional intelligence to manage that. Where’s an good EQ consultant when you need one??


Like so many of my clients, I know this – but doing it is harder than knowing it.

Hm. So what’s it gonna be? Comfort or learning? I’ll let you know next year.

Check out the article – Gregg Thompson — WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF NOTHING CHANGES? (The Point, Jan 08)

Workplace Coach: Don’t underestimate emotional intelligence

Seattle Post Intelligencer, 6/5/07

Couple quotes I liked:

You can’t change what you are unaware of in yourself. Being able to observe yourself in the heat of the moment is the first step to making a different choice versus your typical programmed emotional reaction.

This comment is key:

There is valuable information in emotions — if you can tune into that internal channel. Feelings can clue us in about the importance and meaning of an event, situation or interaction.

Would be nice to see more depth in what appears in popular media. “Emotions matter” is a good start though!

New article – interview w Daniel Goleman

I recently interviewed Dan Goleman about Social Intelligence, leadership, and emotional intelligence. Check out the full Neural Leadership article here.

“Mirror neurons are a kind of ‘neural wi-fi’ that monitors what is happening in the other people. This system tracks their emotions, what movements they’re making, what they intend and it activates, in our brains, precisely the same brain areas as are active in the other person,” Goleman explains. “This puts us on the same wavelength and it does it automatically, instantaneously and unconsciously.”

How Emotional Is Too Emotional?

This is an excellent article:

How Emotional Is Too Emotional?
Nan Mooney, Inc

Mooney says women frequently ask what to do about “being too emotional” at work — I get this question a lot too, and have worried that, as a man, my response might miss the point… so I was glad to read this!
“Professional women are frequently tagged “emotional,” as if it’s a flaw they should learn to overcome. But emotion in the workplace isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

In my varied career history, I haven’t found that women are more emotional than men on the job. We may be more comfortable expressing those emotions, since we live in a society that encourages women to be the feelers and men the thinkers and doers. But being quicker to key into the emotional aspects of a situation largely works to our benefit. It means we may pick up on a client’s or colleague’s unhappiness, make subtle adjustments in a plan or project to please everyone involved, and — best of all — form more trusting and respectful professional relationships.

The place where I think Mooney misses the mark is recommendations of what to DO about emotions. The central premise of emotional intelligence is that emotions are a resource to help us understand and manage the world — inside and outside. Emotions are information and energy — data and commitment. Emotional intelligence helps us access the data and tap the energy. When we DON’T do that, emotions well up and spiral out of control. Women and men are socialized to cope with “out of control” emotions differently (as Mooney suggests, bursting into tears vs pounding the steering wheel and cursing) — but it’s the same reaction.

The real secret is to access the information of the emotions – tune in, gain insight – and then use that data to make a better decision. When we do so, the energy of the emotions automatically transforms into a motive force toward resolution – that’s the power of emotional intelligence!