The term “emotional intelligence” was actually coined by Harvard researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey, to describe a set of abilities used in problem solving – not solving mathematical equation-type problems, but everyday problems that are part of living. Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, popularised the concept and gave way to much research and debate, especially in regard to the importance of EQ in the workplace. A popular claim was that EQ is more important than IQ in determining performance.
So what do we know about EQ and how relevant is it to personal effectiveness and work performance?
Emotions are like a GPS – they tell you where you are in relation to where you want to be. In other words, emotions provide information that can help us make sense of what is happening so that we can respond in a way that moves us forward. This is a very different notion to “trusting your feelings”.
According to Mayer and Salovey, this sense-making process has four key elements or skills:
Basically, emotional intelligence refers to HOW you use your emotional GPS to organise, problem solve, make decisions and move towards your goals.
When you think about how much your effectiveness at work involves forming and maintaining constructive relationships, you can begin to see the impact of emotional intelligence on performance.
People who are high in EQ generally understand themselves and others and are good at emotional problem-solving. They can sense the mood in a room, develop rapport with others, deal with difficult situations and often produce outcomes greater than expectations.
Can EQ be measured, and if so, how useful is this?
Yes, EQ can be measured. The Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is one of the most scientifically supported measures available:
- It measures your abilities in each of the four skill areas
- It provides useful information on how you can improve your emotional problem solving prowess.
- It can also highlight areas where you may have the skills but are not using them to the fullest extent.
If you manage people, taking the MSCEIT can be very useful in gaining insight into how to improve your leadership style and how to work better under pressure.
For more information, contact Mindinsight.