The concept of emotional intelligence is a relatively new one in psychology. Although the term first appeared in the mid-1960s, it wasn’t until Daniel Goldman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, that it became mainstream. We’ve been using it ever sense—to understand more about becoming successful. Turning to my own field, it turns out that being a successful salesperson has a lot more to do with one’s emotional intelligence quotient (Goldman’s “EQ”) than it does with IQ.
When I think of emotional intelligence I think of a quote by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
Google’s definition of is a little different: “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” followed by the example, “Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.”
According to Harvard Business Review, there are five components to emotional intelligence, as it pertains to leadership skill: self awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy for others, and social skills.
It’s fairly self-evident. Whether you’re frontline manager, salesperson, CEO, husband, or wife, by mastering these five elements, you’ll be more successful in communicating with others and growing relationships with those around you.
If you understand and appreciate where others are coming from—emotionally—and you can have the appropriate emotion for the situation, you’ll inspire, motivate and better connect with those you communicate with.
Having a high EQ is a benefit, whether you’re a salesperson selling the latest widget, a keynote speaker, or your company’s head of HR. Having high emotional intelligence allows you to better connect with, and thus motivate, those you are engaged with. Being aware of others’ emotions—and understanding the emotions you show—will allow you to more easily influence attitudes, maintain more conversational control, and bring about sustainable success.
For example, encouraging employees for a job well done is great, but being able to deliver that message with the proper level of emotion and empathy can be the difference between people begrudgingly working through the weekend—or being genuinely excited about delivering on time and on budget.
Being a leader is about motivating and inspiring those around you. The most valuable vehicle for great leadership are effective, polished professional communication skills. It’s not just directing them what to do. You cannot motivate or inspire anyone without being able to connect on the appropriate emotional level.
I’ve often heard sayings like, “people buy from people they like” and “people buy from people like themselves.” If you have a high EQ, you’ve experienced this. Your success is directly connected to your ability to relate to people. The reason behind this success is being able to understand and properly communicate with people on an emotional level.