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. Most commonly accepted belief is that EQ can be acquired over time and comes to most with age.
There is also lot of discussion on what is more important – IQ or EQ.
Whereas academic success is largely attributed to IQ, professional success is largely attributed to EQ. In fact, psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else—including EQ. (Bressert, 2007)
• "…a national insurance company found that sales agents who were weak in emotional competencies such as self-confidence, initiative, and empathy sold policies with an average premium of $54,000. Not bad, right? Well, compared to agents who scored high in a majority of emotional competencies, they sold policies worth an average of $114,000." (Cooper, 2013)
• "Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. Additionally, Nobel Prize winning Israeli-American psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likeable person is offering a lower quality product or service at a higher price." (Jensen, 2012)
All of this leads us to believe that the most important attribute that a leader can have is EQ and EQ is simply an ability to perceive, control & evaluate emotions.
A leader who often loses temper at her people has low EQ and such leaders typically lead by their power or position and rarely by influence or persuation. Leading by power rarely builds loyalty or self motivated teams and hence most EQ deficient leaders often wonder "Why can't my team get it?" and are therefore often found to function at levels far lower than where they must operate, which further directly impacts their ability to build strong leadership pipeline because they leave no room for others to grow or operate.
This article is inspired by Kendra Cherry's compilation of articles. Kendra is an author on psychology for About.com