Magazine article Management Today

First Class Coach

Magazine article Management Today

First Class Coach

Article excerpt

BRUSH UP YOUR CAREER PROSPECTS

Daniel Goleman claims that, unless you cultivate emotional intelligence, your career is unlikely to takeoff. Is this a load of psycho-babble, or can it be of practical help?

Have you ever been to a school reunion and discovered that the smartest kid in the class had a pretty mediocre career? Or met someone who is outstandingly successful but not very bright. Emotional intelligence could be the explanation. Goleman describes it as a different way of being smart'. Some people, it seems, are good at it and some aren't -- and it has nothing to do with your basic intelligence. The good news is that it encompasses a set of day-to-day skills, most of which you can learn.

Since Goleman formulated his theory in 1996, an avalanche of studies have sought to identify what these day-to-day capabilities (or 'competencies') are, what impact they have on careers and how they equate to business success. When IQ scores are compared with career achievement, intelligence counts for only a quarter of the difference between high and low achievers. The rest is all down to personal and social skills, or emotional intelligence.

Personal competencies are all about you -- your self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation; your ability to understand your emotions and how they affect others; knowing your strengths and limitations but having the self-confidence to commit and achieve; your ability to take the initiative and be optimistic about the outcome; and your ability to cope with new things. Social skills determine how you relate to others -- your ability to sense other people's feelings and read the mood of a group; to inspire and build relationships; to work in teams; to listen and communicate.

These skills can make the difference between success or failure in leadership and management roles. Look at Colin Marshall's first wave of activity in British Airways in the 1980s. He spent hours with groups of BA staff, taking them through the need for change within the company and their role in that change. His presence and evident passion gradually convinced staff that the company had to be different and there was no turning back. More recently, sustaining that motivation has seemed difficult.

It has now proved possible to determine whether people have these traits, and to link them with career success. Monitoring a group of 100 British managers participating in courses at Henley Management College, Vick Dulewicz and Malcolm Higgs were able to show a strong correlation between rapid career progression and a combination of high emotional intelligence and high IQ. …

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