family) than is intelligence quotient
(IQ). Such evidence has led to this
saying: “IQ gets you hired, but EQ
[emotional quotient] gets you pro-
moted.” This is not to say that IQ and
technical skills are irrelevant—of
course they matter. But they may be
viewed as threshold capabilities—that
is, they are necessary for attaining
high-level managerial positions. EI,
however, is essential for leadership
success. Without EI skills, according
to Goleman, a manager can have
excellent training, an incisive and ana-
lytical mind, and many good ideas,
yet will still not be a great leader.
EI has five components: self-
awareness, self-regulation, motiva-
tion, empathy, and social skill. The
first three components are self-
management skills, whereas the last
two involve one’s ability to manage
relationships with others.
Self-awareness. Consistent with
the Delphic oracle’s advice to “know
thyself,” self-awareness involves hav-
ing a deep understanding of one’s
own emotions, strengths, weaknesses,
and drives.
Self-regulation. Akin to an ongo-
ing conversation, self-regulation frees
Hicks is a clinical professor of orga-
nizational behavior at the University
of Texas at Dallas and founding direc-
tor of the Executive and Professional
Coaching Program in the university’s
School of Management. He holds a
Ph.D. degree from the University of
Southern California. Dess is the
Andrew R. Cecil Endowed Chair in
Management at the University of
Texas at Dallas. He holds a Ph.D.
degree from the University of
Emotional intelligence (EI) has
become a popular concept in manage-
ment practice and literature in recent
years. The leading proponent of EI,
Daniel Goleman, defines EI as the
capacity for recognizing one’s own
emotions and those of others.
Goleman has placed two books—
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can
Matter More Than IQ (Bantam,
1995) and Working with Emotional
Intelligence (Bantam, 1998)—on the
New York Times best-seller list. In
addition, two of his early articles on
the topic of EI, published in the
Harvard Business Review, are among
HBRs most requested reprints.
Recent research has found that
effective leaders consistently have a
high level of EI and that EI is a better
predictor of life success (not only
occupational attainments but also sat-
isfaction with life, friendships, and
individuals from being prisoners of
their own feelings. People engaged in
such conversation may experience bad
moods and emotional impulses like
everyone else, but they find ways to
control those moods and impulses and
even channel them in useful ways.
Motivation. Motivated people
have a high level of energy directed
at doing things better and are restless
with the status quo. They also are
driven by a need for achievement
instead of external rewards.
Empathy. In a business setting,
empathy means thoughtfully consid-
ering an employee’s feelings, along
with other factors, in the process of
making intelligent decisions. Given
the increasing use of teams, the rapid
pace of globalization, and the grow-
ing need to retain talent, empathy is
particularly vital.
Social skill. Social skill may be
viewed as friendliness with a pur-
pose: moving people in the direction
you desire, whether it’s agreement on
a new marketing strategy or enthusi-
asm about a new product. This
involves recognizing that a person
gets nothing done alone. People with
social skills have a network in place
when the time for action comes.
There is no doubt about the bene-
fits of emotional intelligence, but as
with any attribute, it is possible to
have too much of a good thing.
Individuals need to avoid the overuse
or abuse of EI.
Many great leaders have vast
reserves of empathy, interpersonal
astuteness, and awareness of their own
feelings and their impact on others.
More important, they apply these capa-
In some cases too much
EI can result in inappro-
priate behaviors and
Editor’s note: Do you have a question
about leadership you would like
answered in LiA? Send it to
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