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What thought leaders say about emotional intelligence

Today, we’re featuring another installment in our ongoing ‘Quotes From’ series, where we share insightful and inspirational quotes from leaders and industry experts from all over the world regarding a specific topic. Today’s topic revolves around emotional intelligence.

We’ve talked a lot about emotional intelligence here on the blog. In fact, we’re currently discussing emotional intelligence in a slideshare series, the first installment of which you can view here. The second installment is available here.

Why is emotional intelligence so important? For one, emotions are information. They tell us something about how we and others are feeling about a situation or decision. To ignore them is to miss out on potentially useful information. By trying to take emotion out, we are ignoring the values-driven, people-centric side of the decision making process.

In fact, suppressing emotions actually makes us less effective at work. Social psychologists have found that when people work at suppressing emotion, they remember less. This is because the energy taken to suppress is ultimately energy diverted away from listening and processing.

“Emotional intelligence can be the most potent weapon in our armory,” says Gordon Tredgold, Founder and CEO of Leadership Principles. “It helps boost our self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy, and social skills, all of which help us become much better leaders.”

Marcel Schwantes, Principal and Founder of Leadership From the Core meanwhile says this: “For decades, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has proven to be a leadership development powerhouse ever since Daniel Goleman published his New York Times best seller, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. As an executive coach helping leaders grow, I have seen first-hand how the lack of emotional intelligence can severely limit a leader’s ability to manage self, manage people, and manage work situations.”

Needless to say, emotional intelligence is certainly a skill you want to have in your toolbox as a leader and manager.

Let’s take a look at what other thought leaders have to say about emotional intelligence:

If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.

-Daniel Goleman


Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the “success” in our lives.

-J. Freedman


75 percent of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.

-Center for Creative Leadership


The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.

-Rasheed Ogunlaru


Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.

-Robert K. Cooper, PhD


It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both.

-David Caruso


If we lack emotional intelligence, whenever stress rises the human brain switches to autopilot and has an inherent tendency to do more of the same, only harder.  Which, more often than not, is precisely the wrong approach in today’s world.

-Robert K. Cooper


Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.

-Dean Koontz


In my 35 years in business, I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most devoted customers.

-Kevin Roberts

Emotional intelligence is essential to today’s leader, especially if you want to experience more success in your career and better position yourself to lead more productive and happier teams. If you’re new to emotional intelligence, you can get started today by reviewing our complete 4-part series on the blog here.

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