More and more managers are realizing the importance of soft skills when it comes to hiring new staff. In fact, an employee’s emotional intelligence may be as important – or, in some cases, more important – than regular intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (called both EI and EQ in popular jargon) is the ability to identify, apply and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. People with high EI can empathize with the wants and needs of others. This awareness contributes to tasks like problem solving and can help a person develop and maintain strong business and personal relationships.
In and out of the workplace, people with high EI tend to be the most successful. They are confident, open, honest and friendly. American psychologist Daniel Goleman identified the following five characteristics of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.
Best Books On Emotional Intelligence
The good news is that these seemingly in-born skills can be learned and developed. There is no shortage of books and articles to help you get started on this process. Here are five of the best books on the subject of emotional intelligence.
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
With examples based on his own personal experience and his extensive research, Goleman gives us a thorough examination of what emotional intelligence is and why it is so important to our success and happiness as human beings. This easy to read book, first published in 1995, challenges us as individuals and as a society to look at the world differently. His ultimate message is for us to take care to nurture our children so that they will have a healthy emotional base as they grow.
- Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
This practical book offers steps for boosting your emotional intelligence through self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. With its premise that your EQ is more important than your IQ, this book will challenge the way you look at and handle your relationships. An example of one of the self-awareness strategies is to take stock of your life on a weekly or bi-weekly basis by writing down situations that you didn’t deal with well and then listing which quality you wanted to exhibit in that situation but did not.
- The Language of Emotional Intelligence by Jeanne Segal
Through the use of some simple exercises and quizzes, Segal provides you with hands-on ideas to measure your EI and to increase it. Segal illustrates you how you can develop and use communication skills, such as reading non-verbal cues and learning to diffuse arguments before they start, to improve the relationships in your life.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Although it is not typically considered a book on EI, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People does include clear and valuable information on the subject. Covey’s seven habits (synergize; sharpen the saw; seek first to understand, then to be understood; think win-win; put first things first; begin with the end in mind; and be proactive) all involve emotional intelligence. It is time to read or re-read this classic book on leadership for the insights it offers on soft skills.
- Go Suck a Lemon: Strategies for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence by Michael Cornwall
As you might guess from the title, Go Suck a Lemon is a bit irreverent. Cornwall shares a no-nonsense approach to learning how to respond differently when our emotional buttons are pushed. With a readable, in-your-face approach, the book challenges you to question how you respond to your emotions and how you deal with others because of them. If you find you need reminders to think before you act, this is the book for you.