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Emotional Intelligence – Isn’t that Jumbo Shrimp?

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Doug’s Rant #3

The last rant had too much mathematics, soooo…

Emotional what?

The old belief was that your technical knowledge and intellectual capabilities were enough to make a person successful. But a third variable is now in the equation (oops, starting to do that math thing again). The third leg of the Success Stool (If I can’t do an equation, then I’m going with the three-legged stool.) is Emotional Intelligence.

From your smart phone / tablet / computer, take the self-assessment test at:

Let me be clear; the ability of a person to be successful is still dependent on technical skills and intellectual capabilities. Technical skills include technical expertise; that is, accountancy skills. Intellectual capability is commonly known as IQ, or cognitive abilities. The third factor is emotional capability, which is often referred to as emotional intelligence or EI.

Technical skills can be acquired, so employers tend not to be too concerned about this aspect. As long as the person has the ability to learn, technical skills can be taught.

It is generally considered that a person’s IQ, which is largely genetic, will change little from childhood (yet another reason to be upset with your parents). Once you rise to a certain level within an organization, you are probably dealing with people who are at the top 10 percent or so of intelligence. Therefore, IQ offers relatively little competitive advantage.


EI Diagram

EI, on the other hand, can be learned at any age. It takes perseverance in the process of critical self-evaluation, commitment to improvement, and, of course, behavioral practice. EI does not necessarily increase with age, as you might expect. Some people may learn from life’s experiences, but many do not.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, comprehend, and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. EI is typically divided into four areas:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management (people skills)

Daniel Goleman, who is a leader in the EI field, has determined that successful people possess a high level of emotional intelligence. As a result, they achieve higher financial goals, develop more effective and efficient organizational environments, and achieve higher productivity gains with their workforce. Mr. Goleman states that EI contributes 80 to 90 percent of the competencies that distinguish outstanding leaders from average leaders.

The behaviors identified include:

  • The ability to recognize and understand their own moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others
  • The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and to think before acting
  • The passion to work for reasons beyond money or status and the propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence
  • The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people; the skill of treating people according to their emotional reactions; proficiency in managing relationships and building networks; and the ability to find common ground and build rapport

So, bottom line, if you want to advance your position in life, your IQ is set (again, blame your parents) and don’t focus just on technical training (Sure, get it; it is good to have more and better technical knowledge than the next person.). But don’t forget to focus on your EI. It can be learned at any age. (There goes my excuse).





About the Author:

Doug Boebinger, MSCE, PMP (PMP #3504) has over 25 years of experience as a project manager is multiple industries as well as an internationally sought after keynote speaker and corporate instructor. Boebinger has performed Professional Development Days and Chapter Meeting speaker engagements for numerous PMI chapters.
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