Did you know October is emotional intelligence month? People don't seem to talk about emotional intelligence much anymore, but it was a popular buzzword/term in the 90s when the book Emotional Intelligence (buy direct) by Daniel Goleman came out. At the time, I was working for a manager that really absorbed the concepts in that book, and he talked about it constantly. I remember that people said emotional intelligence (EQ) could be (gasp!) even more important than IQ.
As I remember, some people reacted very well to the concept of emotional intelligence in the workforce, and some didn't. I, of course, loved the idea of paying attention to how emotions played a part in decisions and business relationships. To me, it never made sense when someone would get genuinely upset about something that happened, only to be told that "it's just business."
But we give so much of ourselves to our work life. We don't just show up like robots to our desks in the morning and lock away our feelings in a box until it's time to go home. That's why emotional intelligence is so very important.
But what is emotional intelligence? Kendra Cherry, About.com's Guide to Psychology says:
"Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic."
I think some people are naturally great at emotional intelligence, but if you're not, you can learn to hone your skills at identifying feelings and emotions. It's enormously helpful in business to understand how certain concepts will affect people. It makes a difference in how you react yourself and also how you treat the customers and coworkers involved.
But that's business. This concept is key to friendship as well. In some ways, the more self-aware you are, the better you'll likely be at emotional intelligence.
Image: Bantam Books