Emotional Intelligence Traits of Top Performers

This week I led a workshop for WTFP, the business forum for HR professionals, on the topic of building emotionally intelligent leadership. It was an engaged and energetic group as you might expect on this particular subject! It’s hard to argue that any person can’t benefit from increasing his or her emotional intelligence at work. (Or in life, let’s face it.) And unlike IQ, which peaks at 17 and remains stable through life, emotional intelligence grows with time and experience.

The Bar-On Eqi assessment, the most widely used tool to measure emotional intelligence with more than 500,000 tests taken in 40+ countries, breaks it into five realms:

  • Intrapersonal (emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, independence, self-regard, self-actualization)
  • Interpersonal (empathy, social responsibility, interpersonal relationships)
  • Adaptability (problem-solving, reality testing, flexibility)
  • Stress Management (stress tolerance, impulse control)
  • Mood (happiness, optimism)

I’ve seen real shifts for people when coaching with this assessment tool. And if you’re geeky like me, you’ll value the rich statistical framework behind it. It’s also straightforward, uncovering the nagging parts of ourselves we’d like to improve and applying practical remedies. It brings a nebulous concept down to the everyday.

Emotional intelligence has been proven time and time again to be positively correlated to overall performance. Dan Goleman’s work has brought that notion squarely into mainstream office culture.

So how do you work on your own emotional intelligence? You may want to start with the traits most strongly correlated with success. (As noted in The EQ Edge.)

They are, in order:

1. Self-actualization (Are you happy and fulfilled in your work? Are you using your strengths?)

2. Optimism (Are you positive about the future?)

3. Stress Tolerance (Can you withstand stress without anxiety or cracking under pressure?)

4. Happiness (Do you feel generally upbeat?)

5. Assertiveness (Can you speak your mind confidently without aggression or anger?)

If you’re not achieving the success you want, try to work on these. Or even if you are, focus some real attention here, and you may achieve even more.

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About kristihedges
Executive coach, leadership development consultant, Forbes.com blogger, Entrepreneur.com contributor, author of Power of Presence (AMACOM).

One Response to Emotional Intelligence Traits of Top Performers

  1. Rakesh Balachandran says:

    Hi Kristi, Wonderful post! It is sad to see that EQ is still not used on a wider scale by organizations even when confronted with overwhelming evidence in this favour. Hopefully, that will change:-)

    Cheers,
    Rakesh

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