What Employers are Looking for

By: Steve Morgan
"PROMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE"

Of the 1 million+ websites that refer to emotional intelligence, 90% of the first few dozen contain the word, 'borrowed', indicating that at the moment we have two main competitors vying for the correct definition. Literature would suggest that while Goleman sees emotional intelligence as an all-encompassing umbrella that covers everything non-cognitive, the two 'co-founders', Salovey and Mayer, consider it to be a much narrower experimental concept that may or may not have any scientific basis.

From Salovey and Mayer's very simple idea that emotions may play a part in people's decision-making, and that the set of 'intelligence' and the set of 'emotions' may intersect, Goleman stretched it into a panacea for all the ills of academia, IQ-based and Bell Curve labeling.

While Salovey and Mayer contend that Goleman has distorted their simple idea beyond the realms of what they had originally intended, (and made a lot of money in the process), Goleman states that he was merely the catalyst for that leap from idea to actuality. Goleman's writings and seminars have awakened in many people the need to have a feeling of self-worth despite their 'measured' intellect (IQ); so much so, that his book sold 5 million copies worldwide. Even though they are not yet proven or based on scientific fact Goleman's ideas have been widely accepted in two main areas: that of education and business and because emotional intelligence he states is 'learnable' (whereas intelligence is potential), then if schools can include emotion intelligence lessons within their programmes all is not lost for the non-academic. He goes so far as to say that it's congeniality and not sheer smarts that wins the day, and that "nice matters most" - the very claim that Salovey and Mayer dispute so strongly.

Part of his fragile research is based on data gathered from newspaper advertising, where he categorized 'help wanted' advertisements into 'cognitive' or 'emotion-related' attributes discovering that 'emotion-related' qualities outnumbered 'cognitive' by two-to-one.

There seems to be no doubt in the minds of business management that emotional intelligence does play a part in the success of business transactions and that 'nerds' are okay in their place, and in a limited way, but candidates with a well-rounded emotional competence and personality are preferred when large contracts are to be negotiated with government or corporate clients.

"Being a geek is no longer enough", is the headline in the Wednesday, November 5, 2003 New Zealand Herald E26, and quotes "that employers, recruiters and training firms all say, 'soft' skills, like being able to communicate with customers and work with teams are often as important as the ability to hack out screeds of C+ or VB on demand or to unravel the mysteries of the LAN."

So while Goleman's success seems to stick in the craw of Salovey and Mayer, even though his theories are widely adopted by education and business institutions, we should be cautious since we are not yet able to quantify success or even put a definition on its meaning. Stankov is even more scathing when he states: "Like psychoanalysis, it can provide a nice topic for after-dinner conversation, but nothing else." Wow! What a killer statement!

From the article by Annie Murphy Paul it seems that cognitive and emotional intelligence do intersect and enhance each other since knowledge can be taught whereas intelligence represents potential before any learning has taken place. Of course, if one is more intelligent, emotionally or otherwise, this learning takes place faster and can go further.

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