The secret of success is not what they taught you in school. What matters most is not IQ, not a business school degree, not even technical know-how or years of expertise. The single most important factor in job performance and advancement is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is actually a set of skills that anyone can acquire, and in this practical guide, Daniel Goleman identifies them, explains their importance, and shows how they can be fostered.
For leaders, emotional intelligence is almost 90 percent of what sets stars apart from the mediocre. As Goleman documents, it's the essential ingredient for reaching and staying at the top in any field, even in high-tech careers. And organizations that learn to operate in emotionally intelligent ways are the companies that will remain vital and dynamic in the competitive marketplace of today—and the future.
Comprehensively researched, crisply written, and packed with fascinating case histories of triumphs, disasters, and dramatic turnarounds, Working with Emotional Intelligence may be the most important business book you'll ever read.
Drawing on unparalleled access to business leaders around the world and studies in more than 500 organizations, Goleman documents an astonishing fact: in determining star performance in every field, emotional intelligence matters twice as much as IQ or technical expertise.
Readers also discover how emotional competence can be learned. Goleman analyzes five key sets of skills and vividly shows how they determine who is hired and who is fired in the top corporations in the world. He also provides guidelines for training in the "emotionally intelligent organization," in chapters that no one, from manager to CEO, should miss.
Working with Emotional Intelligence could prove to be the most important reference for bottom-line businesspeople in the first decades of the 21st century.
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|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Dr. Goleman received his Ph.D. from Harvard and reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times for twelve years, where he was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He was awarded the American Psychological Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and is currently a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science His other books include Destructive Emotions, The Meditative Mind, The Creative Spirit, and Vital Lies, Simple Truths.
Read an Excerpt
The New Yardstick
The rules for work are changing. We're being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other. This yardstick is increasingly applied in choosing who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who retained, who passed over and who promoted.
The new rules predict who is most likely to become a star performer and who is most prone to derailing. And, no matter what field we work in currently, they measure the traits that are crucial to our marketability for future jobs.
These rules have little to do with what we were told was important in school; academic abilities are largely irrelevant to this standard. The new measure takes for granted having enough intellectual ability and technical know-how to do our jobs; it focuses instead on personal qualities, such as initiative and empathy, adaptability and persuasiveness.
This is no passing fad, nor just the management nostrum of the moment. The data that argue for taking it seriously are based on studies of tens of thousands of working people, in callings of every kind. The research distills with unprecedented precision which qualities mark a star performer. And it demonstrates which human abilities make up the greater part of the ingredients for excellence at work—most especially for leadership.
If you work in a large organization, even now you are probably being evaluated in terms of these capabilities, though you may not know it. If you are applying for a job, you are likely to be scrutinized through this lens, though, again, no one will tell you so explicitly. Whatever your job, understanding how to cultivate these capabilities can be essential for success in your career.
If you are part of a management team, you need to consider whether your organization fosters these competencies or discourages them. To the degree your organizational climate nourishes these competencies, your organization will be more effective and productive. You will maximize your group's intelligence, the synergistic interaction of every person's best talents.
If you work for a small organization or for yourself, your ability to perform at peak depends to a very great extent on your having these abilities—though almost certainly you were never taught them in school. Even so, your career will depend, to a greater or lesser extent, on how well you have mastered these capacities.
In a time with no guarantees of job security, when the very concept of a "job" is rapidly being replaced by "portable skills," these are prime qualities that make and keep us employable. Talked about loosely for decades under a variety of names, from "character" and "personality" to "soft skills" and "competence," there is at last a more precise understanding of these human talents, and a new name for them: emotional intelligence.
A Different Way of Being Smart
"I had the lowest cumulative grade point average ever in my engineering school," the codirector of a consulting firm tells me. "But when I joined the army and went to officer candidate school, I was number one in my classit was all about how you handle yourself, get along with people, work in teams, leadership. And that's what I find to be true in the world of work."
In other words, what matters is a different way of being smart. In my book Emotional Intelligence, my focus was primarily on education, though a short chapter dealt with implications for work and organizational life.
What caught me by utter surprise—and delighted me—was the flood of interest from the business community. Responding to a tidal wave of letters and faxes, e-mails and phone calls, requests to speak and consult, I found myself on a global odyssey, talking to thousands of people, from CEOs to secretaries, about what it means to bring emotional intelligence to work.
* * *
This search has taken me back to research I participated in while a graduate student, and then faculty member, at Harvard University. That research was part of an early challenge to the IQ mystique—the false but widely embraced notion that what matters for success is intellect alone. This work helped spawn what has now become a mini-industry that analyzes the actual competencies that make people successful in jobs and organizations of every kind, and the findings are astonishing: IQ takes second position to emotional intelligence in determining outstanding job performance.
Analyses done by dozens of different experts in close to five hundred corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide have arrived independently at remarkably similar conclusions, and their findings are particularly compelling because they avoid the biases or limits inherent in the work of a single individual or group. Their conclusions all point to the paramount place of emotional intelligence in excellence on the job—in virtually any job.
As I've toured the world talking and consulting with people in business, I've encountered certain widespread misunderstandings about emotional intelligence. Let me clear up some of the most common at the outset. First, emotional intelligence does not mean merely "being nice." At strategic moments it may demand not "being nice," but rather, for example, bluntly confronting someone with an uncomfortable but consequential truth they've been avoiding.
Second, emotional intelligence does not mean giving free rein to feelings—"letting it all hang out." Rather, it means managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals.
Also, women are not "smarter" than men when it comes to emotional intelligence, nor are men superior to women. Each of us has a personal profile of strengths and weaknesses in these capacities. Some of us may be highly empathic but lack some abilities to handle our own distress; others may be quite aware of the subtlest shift in our own moods, yet be inept socially.
It is true that men and women as groups tend to have a shared, gender-specific profile of strong and weak points. An analysis of emotional intelligence in thousands of men and women found that women, on average, are more aware of their emotions, show more empathy, and are more adept interpersonally. Men, on the other hand, are more self-confident and optimistic, adapt more easily, and handle stress better.
In general, however, there are far more similarities than differences. Some men are as empathic as the most interpersonally sensitive women, while some women are every bit as able to withstand stress as the most emotionally resilient men. Indeed, on average, looking at the overall ratings for men and women, the strengths and weaknesses average out, so that in terms of total emotional intelligence, there are no sex differences.
Finally, our level of emotional intelligence is not fixed genetically, nor does it develop only in early childhood. Unlike IQ, which changes little after our teen years, emotional intelligence seems to be largely learned, and it continues to develop as we go through life and learn from our experiences—our competence in it can keep growing. In fact, studies that have tracked people's level of emotional intelligence through the years show that people get better and better in these capabilities as they grow more adept at handling their own emotions and impulses, at motivating themselves, and at honing their empathy and social adroitness. There is an old-fashioned word for this growth in emotional intelligence: maturity.
Why This Matters Now
At a California biotech start-up, the CEO proudly enumerated the features that made his organization state-of-the-art: No one, including him, had a fixed office; instead, everyone carried a small laptop—their mobile office—and was wired to everyone else. Job titles were irrelevant; employees worked in cross-functional teams and the place bubbled with creative energy. People routinely put in seventy- and eighty-hour work weeks.
"So what's the downside?" I asked him.
"There is no downside," he assured me.
And that was the fallacy. Once I was free to talk with staff members, I heard the truth: The hectic pace had people feeling burned out and robbed of their private lives. And though everyone could talk via computer to everyone else, people felt that no one was truly listening to them.
People desperately felt the need for connection, for empathy, for open communication.
In the new, stripped-down, every-job-counts business climate, these human realities will matter more than ever. Massive change is a constant; technical innovations, global competition, and the pressures of institutional investors are ever-escalating forces for flux.
Another reality makes emotional intelligence ever more crucial: As organizations shrink through waves of downsizing, those people who remain are more accountableand more visible. Where earlier a midlevel employee might easily hide a hot temper or shyness, now competencies such as managing one's emotions, handling encounters well, teamwork, and leadership, show—and count—more than ever.
The globalization of the workforce puts a particular premium on emotional intelligence in wealthier countries. Higher wages in these countries, if they are to be maintained, will depend on a new kind of productivity. And structural fixes or technological advances alone are not enough: As at the California biotech firm, streamlining or other innovations often create new problems that cry out for even greater emotional intelligence.
As business changes, so do the traits needed to excel. Data tracking the talents of star performers over several decades reveal that two abilities that mattered relatively little for success in the 1970s have become crucially important in the 1990s: team building and adapting to change. And entirely new capabilities have begun to appear as traits of star performers, notably change catalyst and leveraging diversity. New challenges demand new talents.
Reading Group Guide
The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Working with Emotional Intelligence. We hope they will enrich your understanding of the follow-up work to Dr. Goleman's groundbreaking international bestseller, Emotional Intelligence.
Working with Emotional Intelligence further expands Dr. Goleman's theories of how emotional intelligence is more important than IQ, specifically in relation to today's fluid work environment. Drawing on numerous tests and studies, as well as countless personal histories, he draws an electrifying argument in support of working with emotional intelligence.
Not only do star performers excel as individuals, but they are the ones who are best able to maximize a team's potential, through their use of such emotional competencies as building bonds, collaboration, and creating group synergy in pursuit of collective goals. The good news is, we can all learn from these star performers. Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence can be developed; we can train ourselves out of bad habits and into good ones, we can heighten our emotional sensitivity to others, and we can expand on our own self-awareness.
Working with Emotional Intelligence is a must read for anyone interested in maximizing their potential. The book sets down the guidelines for effective emotional competence training, and points the way for employers and employees alike to better themselves and their organizations in the face of these increasingly unstable times.
1. Working with Emotional Intelligence argues that the business environment has changed radically since the 1970's, producing new challenges, and hence, a demand for new talents. "Data tracking the talents of star performers over several decades reveal that two abilities that mattered relatively little for success in the 1970's have become crucially important in the 1990's: team building and adapting to change. And entirely new capabilities have begun to appear as traits for star performers, notably change catalyst and leveraging diversity." Do you agree? Have you noticed this trend in your own field? How do these changes manifest themselves in the job market?
2. Why do you think businesses and colleges continue to ignore emotional intelligence when assessing an applicant's strengths, and focus almost exclusively on measures of IQ? Is there a way of accurately gauging emotional intelligence? Do you think there should be widespread use of emotional intelligence testing? How might such tests be standardized?
3. Goleman draws a distinction between "good stress" and "bad stress," arguing that they result in different biological responses; producing adrenaline and cortisol, respectively. What are the challenges that you find invigorating, versus those that overwhelm, or paralyze you? Do you believe it's possible to transform your biological response to these challenges through a heightened emotional intelligence? What are some steps you might take to increase your desired emotional competencies?
4. How might businesses use the information in Working with Emotional Intelligence to transform their companies? What are some specific tools that Goleman provides to a CEO, enabling them to cut costs and increase earnings?
5. Each job demands different emotional competencies. Which do you think pertain to your chosen field? How would you rate your own level of ability in those competencies? Do you feel proficient in any emotional competencies that are superfluous to your work? When do these abilities come into play?
6. Goleman describes an integrated program for developing emotional intelligence in the workplace, and notes that optimum success is seen when all of the elements are used in combination. Which of the "best practices" do you think is most difficult to implement? Which ones are you currently using in your own workplace? Which elements present a new challenge for you?
7. Emotional intelligence does not mean, "being nice" or "giving free reign to feelings." When does an excess of social sensitivity become distracting and harmful? When can positive qualities, such as affiliation, initiative, empathy, and gregariousness get in the way of productivity and success? What is it that enables us to strike the desired balance? How does that balance shift according to differing environments and different jobs?
8. The book points out a frequent disparity between how well people fare academically and their subsequent success level upon joining the work force. "Paradoxically, IQ has the least power in predicting success among that pool of people smart enough to handle the most cognitively demanding fields, and the value of emotional intelligence for success grows more powerful the higher the intelligence barriers for entry into a field." Why do you think this is so? Do you know of academic geniuses who failed to measure up to their potential? Do you think their lack of emotional intelligence was at fault?
9. "An emotional competence is a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work." Our emotional intelligence determines our potential, our emotional competence indicates "how much of that potential has been translated into on-the-job capabilities." Are you living up to your emotional intelligence potential? What emotional intelligence talents do you feel you possess, that remain untapped, or undeveloped?
10. Throughout the book, Goleman links many aspects of emotional intelligence to evolutionary developments that took place hundreds of thousands of years ago. Do you agree that these sensitivities are rooted in our species' development? What are some evolutionarily inherited behaviors that are no longer applicable to modern life?
11. Goleman writes, "The rhythm and pace of modern life give us too little time to assimilate, reflect, and react We need time to be introspective, but we don't get it - or don't take it." How do you take the time to be introspective, and process your emotions? What form do your moments of quietude take? Meditation? Gardening? Walks? Do you wish you had more such "do nothing" time? How might you find additional opportunities to listen to your "inner voice"?
12. A list of common blind spots that might prevent someone from pursuing self-awareness are: blind ambition, unrealistic goals, relentless striving, drives others, power hungry, insatiable need for recognition, preoccupation with appearances, need to seem perfect. Do any of your co-workers exhibit such tendencies? Does it restrict their emotional competencies? Do any of the above qualities impair your own sense of self? What other blind spots can you think of?
13. Goleman stresses the importance of "team capabilities" and the notion that it is a group's collective emotional intelligence that propels a company's success much more than any individual's talents. In an ideal group, each individual contributes different, complimentary emotional competencies that produce a "critical mass" for success. Have you seen such EQ team work in action and noticed its positive results? In your own work, do you collaborate with individuals whose emotional competencies compliment your own? Or are there certain important deficiencies you all share?