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Emotional Intelligence - What Is It?

This is the kick off to our series discussing Emotional Intelligence and how The Frontier Group EQ Leadership consulting can help drive organization and individual performance. The best way to start is to go directly to the expert in the field - Adele Lynn. Below is a well written summary that explains what emotional intelligence is and why it is so important.

A Quick Overview of Emotional Intelligence - What is it?

By Adele B. Lynn

The workplace need no longer linger in darkness regarding the factors leading to great performance.  More than 25 years of research in the neurological field and specific study about the factors that contribute to success in the workplace, have resulted in break through perceptions about intelligence.  Quantifiable data on performance in a myriad of industries and organizations has resulted in a body of study called emotional intelligence.  These years of study have named and identified the “intangibles” that predict success in the workplace. Emotional intelligence explains why despite equal intellectual capacity, training, or experience, some people excel while others of the same caliber lag behind. 

So, what exactly do the gifts of emotional intelligence comprise? 

Although the language, models, and depth of this subject differ among the experts, the general thesis supported in these works is consistent.  Five families or areas emerge as central to the Emotional Intelligence.  They are:

Self- Awareness and Control – This competency comprises two separate skills. The self-awareness component demands intimate and accurate knowledge of one’s self and one’s emotions.  It also demands understanding and predicting one’s emotional reactions to situations.  The self – control component requires full mastery of being in control of emotions rather than allowing the emotion to control the person

Positive Workplace Behaviors

Negative Workplace Behaviors

*  Accurate self assessment of skills

*  Acceptance of developmental needs

*  Professional composure even in stressful situations

*  Accurate knowledge of emotional reactions

*  Exaggerated strengths and weaknesses

*  Denial of developmental needs

*  Angry outburst or flippant comments or sarcasm when angry

* Tears of frustration, anger, or manipulation

Empathy – Empathy requires the ability to understand how others perceive situations.  This perception includes knowing how others feel about a particular set of events or circumstances. The understanding associated with empathy is both cognitive and emotional.  It takes into consideration the reasons and logic behind another’s feelings or point of view, while also allowing the empathic party to understand the feelings the person has.

Positive Workplace Behaviors

Negative Workplace Behaviors

*  Appropriate comments to others in times of stressful situations

*  Able to active listen the person's situation or concerns

*  Sensitive to the timing of comments

*  Raises issues or concerns in an appropriate manner


*  Inappropriate comments  which can erode relationship

*  Insensitivity to difficulties or stresses of coworkers or customers

*  Will often criticize others in a demeaning way such as saying they are illogical or over reacting

Social Expertness – Social expertness is the ability to build genuine relationships and bonds with others. Social expertness allows people to genuinely express feelings, even conflict, in a way that builds rather than destroys relationships. Social expertness also demands that one read social situations for readiness, appropriateness, and spoken and unspoken norms.

Positive Workplace Behaviors

Negative Workplace Behaviors

*  Develops friendly relationships with others

*  Will confront issues in a constructive manner

*  Follows through on promised actions because relationship is primary

*  Initiates positive actions that will benefit another person

* Viewed as helpful

*  Often questions motives

*  Is isolated or not well liked by co-workers or others

*  Confronts like a bull in a china shop or not at all

*  Struggles to determine social norms and acceptable behavior

*  Often displays poor timing of comments

Personal Influence – Personal influence is the ability to inspire others through example, words, and deeds.  Personal influence is the ability to read situations and exert influence and leadership in the desired direction.  Personal influence is also exhibiting outward actions for one’s visions, missions, core values and beliefs. 

Positive Workplace Behaviors

Negative Workplace Behaviors

*  Attentively listens to ideas, concerns or objections

*  Validates concerns or objections of others before stating his /her position

*  Does not insult positions of others

*  Asks for assistance toward goals or objectives

*  Quick to dismiss or insult ideas that he/ she disagrees with

*  Does not encourage others' ideas

*  Tells or expects others to follow rather than ask opinions or attempt to dialogue

*  Does not work to build consensus

Mastery of Vision/ Purpose   - Mastery of vision and purpose requires that the individual have the ability to set personal direction and goals based on a strong personal philosophy.  The ability to move with passion toward life's goals are also essential to mastery of vision. This inner compass also provides resilience and strength to overcome obstacles.  It is the inner motivator and the guardian angel of our purpose. When our actions and words are consistent with this personal philosophy, it is our sense of authenticity.  When inconsistent, it is our sense of stress and discomfort.


Positive Workplace Behaviors

Negative Workplace Behaviors

*  Is self assured in career / life direction

*  Accepts setback as temporary obstacles

*  Attempts to learn from mistakes

*  Sense of composure and confidence in opinions central to life mission

*  Focused attention

*  Constantly second guesses career / life choices

*  Often will display lack of direction in career / life choices

*  Jumps from one interest to another

*  Will often think that the someone else should give them the answer to life/ career choices

Adele B. Lynn is founder of the Adele Lynn Leadership Group. She is the author of 6 books published in 12 languages. She can be reached at 724 929-5352 or adele@lynnleadership.com.         

The Frontier Group provides Atlanta Executive Coaching and EQ Leadership training in collaboration with Adele Lynn.