With thanks to Eric Barker, everyone benefits from a Specialist-Generalist working on their ’emotional intelligence’.

So what is it really? It’s a concept that John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire and Yale professor Peter Salovey came up with in the early 90’s that was subsequently studied and popularized by Daniel Goleman. Here’s Mayer’s definition.

From Harvard Business Review Guide to Emotional Intelligence:

From a scientific standpoint, emotional intelligence is the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions.”


Barker says it comprises five dimensions:

• Self-awareness

• Self-regulation

• Motivation

• Empathy

• Social skills


So what are the benefits?

From HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence:

“In a 1996 study of a global food and beverage company, McClelland found that when senior managers had a critical mass of emotional intelligence capabilities, their divisions outperformed yearly earnings goals by 20%. Meanwhile, division leaders without that critical mass underperformed by almost the same amount. McClelland’s findings, interestingly, held as true in the company’s U.S. divisions as in its divisions in Asia and Europe.”

And what’s most interesting about EI is that as you move up the corporate ladder its importance increases dramatically.

From HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence:

When I compared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90% of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities.”


Enough said on the ‘why?’; more on the ‘how?’ is here.

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