Why Emotional Intelligence Isn’t Enough

Quenby Wilcox Having It All


Due diligence, broadly defined is the minimum level of effort that a ‘party’ must exercise in the execution of their responsibilities or obligations – with all too many it appears, putting the bar very low in determining ‘minimal level of effort’.

For this reason, the ‘due diligent’ standard is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. Research consistently shows that the ‘failure’ rates in industries, in the ‘paragon of excellence’ countries of North America and Europe, are 70-95%; with elevated levels of negligence and apathy amongst ‘professionals’, the root cause of the problem. The list of ‘players’ within the matrix is long and diverse, and includes business men, judges, lawyers, government employees and civil servants, elected officials, corporate executives and directors, bankers and ‘traders’, investors and capital venturists, media professionals, health care professionals, and NGO managers and employees.

20140624-emotional-intelligence-mind-mapThe reason for such elevated failure rates in the ‘modern world’, which are in large part responsible for the global economic crisis and our inability to climb out of it, is multi-faceted and complex. But, Patricia Evans sums up the back-drop of the situation in her book The Verbally Abusive Relationship:

“There are two kinds of power. One kills the spirit. The other nourishes the spirit. The first is Power Over. The other is Personal Power. Power Over shows up as control and dominance. Personal Power shows up mutuality and co-creation…Our Western civilization was founded on Power OverThe Power Over model of control and dominance has permeated individual consciousness for thousands of years and has taken us to the brink of global chaos… Since the microcosm of personal relationship influences the macrocosm of civilization just as the civilization – its customs and culture – influences personal relationship, it is in our relationships that we might effect this change… It seems that we live in a world that cannot yet accept Reality II [Personal Power] while the dangers of remaining in Reality I [Power Over] become more evident. Unable to begin thinking according to the new model, we live under the threat of annihilation, seemingly caught between conflicting realities…

Even though the business world spends trillions of dollars and euros each year in new technology and management/leadership conferences, seminars, and workshops in efforts to elevate levels of diligence and efficiency amongst their ranks, they still apply an antiquated “Peter Principle” in promoting managers. Daniel Goleman in Working with Emotional Intelligence, defined the Peter Principle as one in which “people are promoted to their level of incompetence… This means the working world is peppered with bad bosses… In every case their fatal weakness was in [a lack of] emotional intelligence – arrogance, overreliance on brainpower, inability to adapt [to economic shifts] and disdain for collaboration or teamwork…”

Goleman goes on to say that “emotional intelligence determines our potential for learning the practical skills that are based on its five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships. Our emotional competence shows how much of that potential we have translated into on-the-job capabilities. For instance… trustworthiness is a competence based on self-regulation, or handling impulses and emotions well.”

How many people can say that their organization is replete with this type of worker – or even promotes this paradigm?

Upper-management, which on the one hand promotes emotional intelligence theory, but on the other hand shows a lack of emotional competence in applying the theory to everyday practices is counter-productive and demoralizing to employees. Counter-intuitive policies such as these, which fail to implement management’s rhetoric, actually end up augmenting stress, dissatisfaction, and apathy amongst employees. Those on the lower echelons see and feel the hypocrisy of the entire situation in their daily lives, and in their inter-action with managers and other disgruntled colleagues (or citizens when it involves governments and their agency’s inability to implement progressive policies and laws, as well as assure accountability of the industries and professions they regulate.)

The Personal Power model is the rhetoric, while the Power Over model is the reality – and an augmentation in chaos, and a decrease in productivity and satisfaction is the result.

It is high time we wake up from our “winter of discontent”, and move from a Power Over world, to a Personal Power one. In both the public and private sector, people need to spend less time ‘discussing’ the issues, problems, and solutions, and more time implementing and applying those solutions to real live situations. The age old adage – too many chefs spoil the soup – never rang truer than it does today. What is sorely lacking is true leadership. Or, as Goleman puts it ‘big picture’ thinking that allows leaders to pick out meaningful trends from the welter of information around them and to think strategically far into the future,” as well as lead through example rather than rhetoric.