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Leadership And Emotional Intelligence

Why is it that a person with a high IQ score has a fairly predictable likelihood of high level academic performance, while those same people frequently do poorly in their careers? Research performed by Hunter and Hunter (1984) and Sternberg (1996) have discovered that IQ by itself is not a very good predictor of job performance. In fact, they have learned that a high IQ only accounts for only about 10 to 25 percent of a person’s career success.

Daniel Goleman, in his revealing book Emotional Intelligence, builds a strong case for emotional intelligence actually being the strongest indicator of career success. “Emotional intelligence” is defined as a person’s ability to manage their emotions and impulses. It also refers to the ability to reside in someone’s psychological frame of mind, recognize subtle social signals or clues that reveal what others need or desire, and adjust one’s actions accordingly.

David Novak, former CEO of PepsiCo/KFC, says he learned early in his career that it is absolutely vital for a leader to be passionate about the people in the organization. Novak’s leadership philosophy is grounded in people: pro-actively asking for feedback, accurately reading or sensing their emotions and needs, and crafting an in-depth understanding of their points of view. This enabled him to connect emotionally with his employees and to get inside their heads to motivate them in ways no one else could.

Novak states in his book, Education of an Accidental CEO, “Getting people excited about what they’re doing, making them feel part of the team and taking them along for the ride of their lives, are the things I do best.” Although Novak’s book doesn’t explicitly address the topic of emotional intelligence, it clearly demonstrates the fundamental values of an emotionally intelligent leader. 

(Leadership Insights, Nicolas Mottat 7/23/09)  

adapted by Gary D. Foster
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Gary D. Foster founded and leads Gary D. Foster Consulting, a marketing and management service specializing in helping religious product companies and ministries discover and optimize new revenue streams and to better leverage existing ones. He served as an executive with Focus on the Family, where he managed their award-winning book publishing operation and $110 million direct-mail fundraising division. He also spent 12 years with the Christian Booksellers Association, where he served as President and CEO of CBA Service Corporation. He also served in executive product development and marketing positions with Cook Communications Ministries, Moody Press and Moody Magazine. Learn more about Gary at www.GaryDFoster.com.