Emotional Intelligence

by Kate Brodock on 20 December 2007

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“Emotional Intelligence.” It’s a phrase that’s been passed around for the past decade and sucked up by corporations across the country, world even. It’s more than just a buzzword, another value to put into a usually meaningless mission statement or job posting. It shouldn’t be confined to the corporate setting, because it’s further reaching and more important than that. Emotional intelligence is what set us apart as people. I actually find it humorous that it’s only been the last decade or so that it’s really taken off in the business setting. Heck, you could have opened up the Ancient Teachings of the Buddha and you would have realized this has been a major tenant of many for centuries now. But I guess we can’t expect that much.

Emotional intelligence is the ability for a person to “deal with” not only their own emotions, but those of other people or other groups. This requires a high level of self-awareness, which I think is a crucial trait for anyone to be able to  perceive, respond to, analyze and manage the emotions of others.

Back to business. Are there industries or job functions that don’t require emotional intelligence? Of course. However, there may be even more so that DO require emotional intelligence but in which it is widely ignored. Business: crucial. But I feel like I’ve met so many people in the business world, or aspiring to be in this world, who couldn’t read my face if I had a permanent smile on it. Yes, some of these people make it big, but I’d say to the detriment of things much more important than a pile of money and company run like a fortress.

Solution? I know a few things I’d do myself (not that they’re the answer or the best way to do it). More focus on emotional behavior in interviews, teach emotional intelligence at the graduate level for the next generation of businessmen, have all levels of management interact with each other on a regular basis, incentivize good interpersonal skills…. the list could go on!

All of this has been said before, but my main point is that it should be more than a company marketing tactic to tout its internal environment, or a new business fad. It really is crucial to running a business and what I think makes a good company into a great company.

I cease and desist.

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