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Description: In VERY general terms what makes you successful and happy in the world? Is being smart important? Well you would think IQ should or could help and in many ways, it certainly contributes BUT it is NOT the best predictor of career success and wellbeing and general life happiness. I suspect you know or have run across people who are very bright but who seem to have difficulties getting along well with others and THAT is the core issue. Much of our day to day activities and much of our general life engagements are socially based. Careers involve social interactions from teamwork to relationship building to product development and marketing. Of course, intimate connections and friendships are social. In addition, the self-talk that we do and especially the self-talk we may find we need to do to guide and manage ourselves as we plan our days weeks and years and as we plan or projects, our careers and our home lives and free time. Self-understanding and self-management can be seen as similar, to (almost the same as) social-understanding and social-management. Self-understanding is, in many ways a prerequisite to social understanding. Work, in psychology, on understanding and measuring intelligence (IQ) goes back many decades (over a century). Active psychological research on social intelligence really only emerged as a explicit area of research the theorizing in the 1990’s with the work of Daniel Goleman on Emotional Intelligence, usually referred to in a way that is intended to point out its equivalent importance (or even great importance) to Intelligence or IQ, as Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ). Despite its relatively late arrival at the Psychology research table EQ is generating a LOT of research and a LOT of interest. To get a taste of what Goleman had in mind by way if EQ and its potential importance read through the article linked below. It provides you both with a clear overview of what EQ involves AND, due to the article’s intended audience(s) (managers, organizations, and career reflective employees), a clear snapshot of why organizations, HR people and departments and the career world in general are so interested in EQ.

Source: Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence, Olivier Serrat, in Knowledge Solutions: Tools, Methods, and Approaches to Drive Organizational Performance (reference and links below).

Date: January 14, 2018


Links:  Article Link — Download Link:

You can watch a very good talk by Daniel Goleman (who first spoke of Emotional Intelligence) given at Google in which he speaks to the Neuroscience underlying Social Intelligence or Emotional Intelligence (or Quotient) or EQ.

So, as human beings we are built to reflect upon our experiences BOTH cognitively and emotionally. If you are interested in how that is mapped out neurologically in the brain you can watch the video linked above showing Daniel Goleman talking about the neural basis of social intelligence to employees of Google. Basically, we process social information FIRST through the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system, and which trades in emotions and emotional reactions. Subsequently, we process the same information (with limbic influence) cognitively in the pre-frontal lobes of the brain. So, we emote first and think later. Our EQ, generally speaking, reflects how aware we are of our limbic responses and how much we are able to understand them, predict them, and manage them. That is why the terms social intelligence and Emotional Intelligence, or Emotional Quotient are used interchangeably. The cognitive components of EQ have developmental trajectories and involve things that can be learned from experience (by paying attention to social interactions and our reactions to them). So, we tend to get better at EQ as we mature but we can also get better at EQ by paying systematic attention to our social experiences and reflecting upon them and our related emotions. The good news here, therefore, is that while EQ is a really good predictor of life success, satisfaction and happiness it is also something that is quite open to change and to improvement with experience, focus and effort. Think of it as social and self-wisdom and you will have it about right. The next move is all yours!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is EQ?
  2. How does EQ relate to IQ?
  3. What are several things you could start doing today that could boost your EQ?

References (Read Further):

Serrat O. (2017) Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence. In: Knowledge Solutions. Springer, Singapore (All chapters available for download).

Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.

Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2008). Emotional intelligence: new ability or eclectic traits?. American psychologist, 63(6), 503.

Brackett, M. A., & Mayer, J. D. (2003). Convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity of competing measures of emotional intelligence. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 29(9), 1147-1158.

Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence. Bantam.

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2013). Primal leadership: Unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Harvard Business Press.

Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional Intelligence. Why It Can Matter More than IQ. Learning, 24(6), 49-50.

Cherniss, C., Extein, M., Goleman, D., & Weissberg, R. P. (2006). Emotional intelligence: what does the research really indicate?. Educational Psychologist, 41(4), 239-245.