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Many have heard of emotional intelligence; however few are aware of its impact on a business.

Your intelligence quotient (IQ) is a measure of knowledge and skills and is a predictor of educational achievement and job performance. Your IQ develops at an early age and stops developing in your teens. Your emotional quotient (EQ) is not fixed early in life; in fact it continues to grow. It can also be a predictor of success, as the more emotionally intelligent you are, the better decisions you can make.

The benefits of EQ at work are many.

  • It is the single biggest predictor of high performance.
  • It can reduce stress. 70% of people do not handle conflict or stress effectively.
  • Only 36% of people understand emotions as they happen.
  • People with high EQs are 10 times more productive than those with low EQs.
  • 90% of top performers are high in EQ.
  • A one point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to someone’s annual salary.

There are also benefits of emotional intelligence in one’s personal life.

  • Decreased stress and worry
  • Increased joy and laughter in life
  • Reduced frustration
  • More constructive ways of dealing with anger
  • Smoother, more harmonious relationships
  • Better cooperation from others
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Increased understanding of others
  • Ability to handle difficult conversations
"Dalailama1 20121014 4639" by *christopher* Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Dalailama1 20121014 4639” by *christopher* Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

One of the leading thought leaders on emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman, has been conversing for more than 30 years with the Dalai Lama regarding emotional intelligence, specifically as it relates to empathy and compassion. Daniel Goleman says that “three kinds of empathy are important to emotional intelligence: cognitive empathy – the ability to understand another person’s point of view; emotional empathy – the ability to feel what someone else feels; and empathic concern – the ability to sense what another person needs from you. Cultivating all three kinds of empathy, which originate in different parts of the brain, is important for building social relationships.”

If a sales person is negotiating with a potential client, he or she might be showing empathetic concern if the negotiation was focused on a win-win. By helping the client gain what is important to him or her, the sales person is meeting their needs and can also meet the sales need. The two goals are not mutually exclusive.

Goleman’s discussions with the Dalai Lama led to three insights or takeaways.

  1. The Dalai Lama is not beholden to any organization, business or political party. According to Goleman, this means that he “thinks in terms of generations and of what’s best for humanity as a whole. Because his vision is so expansive, he can take on the largest challenges, rather than small, narrowly defined ones.” In the business world we could ask ourselves if there is anything which is limiting our vision or capacity to care. If there were no limits, what would we do?
  2. The Dalai Lama gathers information from everywhere – from heads of state to beggars. “Casting a large net lets him understand situations in a very deep way, and he can analyze them in many different ways and come up with solutions that aren’t confined by anyone,” say Goleman. Is your organization inclusive at all levels? Is top leadership welcoming to women, ethnic or racial minorities and those in the LGBT community?
  3. The Dalai Lama sets an example of compassion at a global level. It’s unlimited – he seems to care about everybody, and the world at large.

Compassion and empathy are critical components of emotional intelligence. Keeping in mind that EQ can be increased, is your company or organization doing everything it could be doing?

Source: Harvard Business Review, “What the Dalai Lama Taught Daniel Goleman About Emotional Intelligence,” Andrea Ovans, May 4, 2015