Emotional Health · Health

The 4 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence and Why They Matter

Social skills, awareness, warmth, and emotional resilience are all aspects that contribute to our ability to maintain friendships as well. Over and over again, studies show that the degree of our connection with others contributes to overall happiness. How does this differ from general “likeability”? Not that much, as it turns out. Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that people prefer to work with someone they like and trust. Even if a less agreeable sort is offering a better product at a lower price, most of us will opt to do business with someone they like. It has even been found that the rates at which doctors are sued for malpractice are heavily influenced by how positive the patient feels about his relationship to the physician in question, rather than the severity of the injury in question.

Whether medicine, education, or business, there’s no question that insight into the importance of these skills is growing. Writing for Fast Company, Harvey Deutchendorf reports: “According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, ‘The awareness that emotional intelligence is an important job skill, in some cases even surpassing technical ability, has been growing in recent years. In a 2011 Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71 percent stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ; 75 percent said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59 percent claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.’”

Those that are born extroverts, with innate warmth, a good sense of humor, and a tendency toward optimism are obviously at an advantage. But several of the most important skills are ones that you can practice and improve on regardless of your “native” degree of emotional intelligence. Listening, for example, is something that anyone can work on improving, as is the paramount skill of conscientiousness. The latter, which relates to traits like trustworthiness, reliability, and the persistence, may be the most important thing we teach our children, according to Duckworth. Schools and businesses alike need to keep this in mind when deciding how to teach students and train employees. It turns out that who you are as a person, rather than what you know, is what matters most in the end.

Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The Story of Success.
Goleman, D., (1995) Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.


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