A Primer on Emotional Intelligence

This article by Patricia Wheeler, Ph.D. provides an excellent summary of the construct of emotional intelligence. While focused on CFOs, the lessons are applicable to any executive or leader and to us just plain folks.

What is emotional intelligence? Ms. Wheeler describes it "a small constellation of key competencies which make the difference between highly performing, creative CFO’s and solid, but average performers...

The core skills as defined here that make up Emotional Intelligence are:

* Conscious self-knowledge - the ability to recognize thoughts and emotions, strengths and weaknesses as they occur.
* Maintaining appropriate control – the ability to deal with situations without over- or under-reacting.
* Maintaining motivation – the ability to keep a healthy and realistic perspective.
* Recognizing others’ interests – the ability to recognize the needs and perspectives of others.
* Communicating with flexibility – the ability to vary your influence style based on the needs of your audience.

These skills, which may seem “soft” on the surface, actually translate into improved performance and a better bottom line. While we tend to think of such skills as intangible qualities that one is either born with or not, our experience demonstrates that executives can develop greater competency in these skills if they know what to look for..."