Goleman Clarifies

In the emotional intelligence ring, there have long been two theories—those who think that EI counts for 80% of success and those who don’t.  Daniel Goleman’s 1995 blockbuster book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ is the source of much of this scrapping—he asserted in the original edition that IQ accounts for 10-20% of business success, leaving a big 80% gap attributable to other factors. Many think that EI fills that entire space—some contending that Goleman himself essentially said that at the time. 

As we have reported, over the years there have been a number of rounds on this question, with Goleman saying that he has been misinterpreted and others accusing him of retreating from his own findings. This past week, Goleman finally came out firmly with the declaration that “people seem to jump to the conclusion that EQ alone makes up that 80% gap—and it does not… As the person who put the concept on the map, I can tell you that they are dead wrong.”

While chastising consultants for over-selling emotional intelligence, Goleman also restates the importance of EI in the business world:

“It typically takes an IQ about 115 or above to be able to handle the cognitive complexity facing an accountant, a physician or a top executive. But here’s the paradox: once you’re in a high-IQ position, intellect loses its power to determine who will emerge as a productive employee or an effective leader. For that, how you handle yourself and your relationships — in other words, the emotional intelligence skill set — matters more than your IQ. In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.

Companies know this. Corporate surveys find that more than two-thirds of major businesses apply some aspect of emotional intelligence in their recruiting, in promotions, and particularly in leadership development.”

Emotional intelligence is critical to productivity, effectiveness, leadership. And businesses are smart enough to recognize that in their recruiting, professional development and leadership development. Except of course in the business of law.

Is It Your Blood Pressure?

In another corner of the EI world comes results announced last week of an interesting study : "the emotion-recognizing ability [is] reduced in people with high blood pressure, even after taking into account medication use and other factors."  Leading to "emotional dampening," hypertension evidently "reduces the ability to recognize anger, fear, sadness, and other emotions in people’s faces."

According to the authors of the study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine:

"In complex social situations like work settings, people rely on facial expressions and verbal emotional cues to interact with others. If you have emotional dampening, you may distrust others because you cannot read emotional meaning in their face or their verbal communications.You may even take more risks because you cannot fully appraise threats in the environment.”  

The authors believe emotional dampening also may be involved in disorders of emotion regulation, such as bipolar disorders and depression.  

This theory of emotional dampening also evidently applies to positive emotions.“Dampening of positive emotions may rob one of the restorative benefits of close personal relations, vacations and hobbies."

While there is no hard data on this that I am aware of, I would put bets on our lawyer population having outsized blood pressure, consistent with the pressure, stress and demands of the job.  And then there are those well-documented low scores in emotional intelligence that lawyers historically get.

Lack of trust, risky behavior, depression, heart disease, lack of close personal relations and little or no restorative time?

So that’s it!