Here's a stunning statistic. Did you know that research suggests that IQ may account for as little as 4% of your personal or career success? That leaves over 90% that we need to learn to access and leverage from other forms of intelligence. These include the ability to learn, to flow with pressure, and to develop authentic relationships based on trust. In a word, success requires emotional intelligence, the ability to use your emotions as a source of energy, information, connection and influence. Emotional intelligence combines input and insight from your heart as well as your head.
Emotions are powerful organizers of thought and action. They awaken our curiosity and creativity, and motivate us to act. Paradoxically, they also assist rational thinking, ie, decision-making, anticipating the future, and detecting budding conflict as well as hidden solutions. Which, if you think about it, makes sense: when you're personally invested in something, your mind sharpens.
So while it may appear efficient on the surface to disconnect emotion from the intellect, there are actually high hidden costs. In business for example, you have to develop enough real rapport with customers or clients to find out what they really want. You also want to generate their good will. Emotional self-awareness, the willingness to self-differentiation, and to be genuinely yourself are qualities of emotional intelligence vital in creating relationships. People respond to honesty, accountability, and people who listen to them.
On the management side, imagine people showing up for work with closed hearts and heads down, lacking trust, and not feeling that they can be themselves. They are wasting energy protecting, avoiding, faking, putting up with and holding back, and sometimes sacrificing their integrity to collect a paycheck. Under these circumstances you will not, to put it mildly, get their best work.
It's been said that you can only manage tasks. People need to be led. The challenge of creating high performance work is learning to influence without authority, which means demonstrating leadership by authentic keeping the channels of communication open, and respecting people's creativity.
Lastly, it turns out that in a group, a single participant with low emotional intelligence can lower the collective IQ of the group! The most important element in successful work teams is not average IQ but EQ (emotional quotient). People with low EQ may not share their talents, or they may be domineering, and they are very likely the potential of the group. People with highly developed emotional intelligence know how to collaborate effectively to spark creativity, disagreements, and to work through conflicts successfully to transform them into something productive.
When we truly understand the role of that emotions play in interpersonal relationships, in creativity and in motivation, we realize that the human spirit can only be stifled at our peril. Organizations of the future will need to look more like biological systems: alive, generative, interactive, self-organizing, and inherently capable of change, growth and transformation. More like the people who make them up.