Positive Path Recommended Reading

By Candy Tymson

You are on an interview panel working with a short list of three people for a senior role. Every candidate has top educational and technical abilities - how do you decide which one would be the best for the job?

Your company is downsizing and 20% of your team has to go. The decree is to keep 'the best people'. On what criteria would you decide who is 'the best'?

I picked up a book at the airport recently by Daniel Goleman on 'Working with Emotional Intelligence' and just couldn't put it down.

According to Goleman "our emotional intelligence determines our potential for learning the practical skills that are based on its five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships. Our emotional competence shows how much of that potential we have translated into on-the-job capabilities".

The Impact of Emotional Maturity

Think back to the top performers at your school, university or colleague. What are they doing today?

I know a number of people who are good examples of outstanding IQ and low EQ. One topped the State in his final year exam. Forty years later he lives alone and works as a postman. Another acquaintance came in the top twenty in the State, twenty years ago. He now works as a clerk in the taxation department.

And yet I know others who had mediocre academic performances and yet have been outstanding achievers in the business world. So do you.

A study of Harvard graduates in the fields of law, medicine, teaching, and business found that scores on entrance exams - a surrogate for IQ - had zero or negative correlation with their eventual career success.

So think back to the two scenarios: deciding whom you are going to hire or fire. What is it that would make you select one person over another of equal technical skills?

Star Performers Are Aware of Their Limits

Research has confirmed time and time again that it is a person's communication skills that gets them to the top - and keeps them there.

Ask any executive recruitment specialist and they will tell you that the emotional competence of the candidate is proving to be as important today as their intellectual competence.

It's not that star performers have no limits on their abilities but rather they are aware of their limits. In short, out-of-control emotions can make smart people ineffective.

What we are talking about is an ability to control and direct your emotions and feelings, but not being so controlled that you stifle all feeling and spontaneity - and therefore any spontaneous behaviour from those around you.

If you have emotional competence you have a choice as to how you express your feelings and how you act.

What are EQ Strengths?

How do you score according to Goleman's list of what characteristics determine how successfully you handle impulse and deal with upsets?

Do you have the following attributes?

  • Self Control: Are able to manage disruptive emotions and impulses effectively

  • Trustworthiness: Display honesty and integrity

  • Conscientiousness: Dependable and responsible in fulfilling obligations

  • Adaptability: Flexible in handling change and challenges

  • Innovation: Open to novel ideas, approaches, and new information.

And how are you when people give you feedback? (Or indeed are you even open to accepting feedback?)

What we are effectively talking about is emotional maturity. An openness, willingness and self-confidence to develop and grow, to be mature in how we handle others and ourselves.

In business for example it is the ability to step aside from your emotional reaction in an upsetting circumstance and look logically at what actually happened - and sometimes being that honest can be very confronting! However it enables you to see where the other person is coming from, and what you need to do to fix things.

How's your EQ?

About the author: Candy Tymson is an expert on business communication, based in Sydney, Australia. Her latest project is a workshop, tape series and book on "Gender Games: Doing Business with the Opposite Sex". Check her website for other resources on effective communication at: www.tymson.com.au 

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