Five Ways to Develop your Emotional Intelligence in Business

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and co-chairman of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Business at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, has done considerable research and analysis into what makes leaders successful.


According to Goleman IQ counts for a maximum of 25 per cent of achievement in work or life, He cites research showing that the correlation between career successes of Harvard graduates in law, medicine, teaching and business and their entrance exams is zero or negative.


Clearly straight intelligence or IQ is still a useful measure, but it is only a threshold competence.  You need it to get to the starting blocks, but from then on it doesn't have much of an impact. 


According to Goleman “Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart", "It's not what you are good at school, it's what you are good at in life.  It has to do with how you handle yourself and how you handle relationships.” This is particularly important for leaders who by definition want to improve their influence with others


Emotional intelligence in business can be a useful framework as a leadership recruitment and selection and a leadership developmental tool. 

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What is included in the concept of emotional intelligence in business?


People are like goldfish in water. Our thinking, practices and environment are for the most part invisible to us, just as the water is for the fish. We are often unaware of our own thinking, our emotions,  and the things we do, and the relationship between our actions and their results”

This is the essential premise of EQ: to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one's own emotions, and those of other people.

EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence:

  1. Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behaviour and all.
  2. Understanding others, and their feelings.


Emotional Intelligence in business, as defined by Goleman (1995) involves five critical skills:


1.       Self-awareness; knowing one’s emotions

2.       Managing emotions; handling feelings

3.       Motivating oneself; marshalling emotions in service of a goal

4.       Recognising emotions in others; empathy

5.       Social competence; handling relationships


emotional intelligence in business

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What are the benefits of Emotional Intelligence in Business?

See the following link for a range of case studies on emotional intelligence in business situations.


Emotional Intelligence in Business Case Studies

Five Ways You Can Develop Emotional Intelligence in Business?



  1. Get more formal and informal feedback to help you develop your own self-awareness.


  1. Focus on 1-3 key areas you would like to improve upon and develop an outcome statement for each goal area  describing how you would like to be


  1. Practice being more attentive to your interactions with others and use a learning log to note down what you notice in peoples response to your new attention and your reflections on that.


  1. Find a coach or a Mentor who can provide some support and focus for you as you try some new things.


  1. Help your direct reports develop their emotional intelligence in business by using a selection of the following reflective questions. One of the best ways you can assist your team members to develop greater insights and strengths in each of these five areas is to ask penetrating questions.


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(     What exactly happened?

(     What did you feel before, during and after?

(     Why do you feel that way?

(     Is there a pattern here?

(     How might others see this differently?



Managing Emotions


(     How do you think you should feel?

(     What was the impact of your emotional response?

(     When and how should you state to others what you are feeling?

(     How can you gain greater control over your emotions?

(     How can you use emotion to achieve your goals?


Motivating Oneself


(     What drives you to want to achieve this goal?

(     What’s stopping you?

(     What will it feel like when you reach it?

(     What kinds of things motivate you in other circumstances?

(     How can you find enthusiasm for those tasks that don’t motivate you?




(     What do you think you might be doing or saying that caused this reaction?

(     How would you have felt in their shoes?

(     Do you tend to get the same reaction from people in similar situations?

(     Do you think that what they were saying reflected what they were really thinking?

(     Why do you think they might have felt upset about that?


Social Competence


(     How do you want that person to feel?

(     What is you strategy for influencing others?

(     How do you collaborate with others to get things done?

(     How do you get feedback on your interpersonal skills?

(     How easy do you find it to Talk Straight?

(     In which situations have you found it difficult to Empower and Trust colleagues?


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