Leadership Matters: Emotional Intelligence 101

Social competencies can be learned, and benefit a credit union's bottom line.

Have you ever met someone who is “book smart” but not “street smart” or maybe seems to lack “people skills?” Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, moved the phrase “emotional intelligence” from academia to the general public. Today, in the world of business and leadership, it is well understood that high intelligence (a high IQ) does not necessarily mean that the person has high emotional intelligence (a high EQ). There are certainly some very smart people who are not in touch with their own emotions or the emotions of others.

When we talk about social and emotional intelligence, we are referring to the ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and then using that information to manage ourselves and our relationships. There’s much more to social and emotional intelligence than just “being nice.” It’s about personal power, integrity, and building bonds and trust.

Managers who are lacking in social and emotional intelligence are often called “bullies” and “jerks.” They can be angry, hostile, and emotionally immature. Leaders who lack social and emotional intelligence induce stress in the workplace and cost their companies in both productivity and talent. Research from Stanford University and from the Center for Creative Leadership has found that some of the top reasons for executive derailment include poor interpersonal relationships, rigidity and the inability to work with a team — in other words, poor social and emotional intelligence.


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