CEO’s are hired for their intellect and business expertise and fired for their lack of emotional intelligence (Interpersonal Intelligence). Daniel Goleman

The Key to Most Success

My wife and I are justifiably proud of both of our adult children. Although Anita and I were both trained as professional counselors, our kids chose marketing as their college major. Our son sets records for a major tech company in sales, largely due to his high IQ (Interpersonal Intelligence), while our daughter is a most successful entrepreneur in the health/fitness industry as a result of her creative advertising approaches and charismatic personal demeanor.

It appears that we parents and our offspring, on the surface, have little in common career-wise. Or do we? As a professor, I teach my graduate students that the beginning of a helpful clinical encounter is found in the establishment of a positive relationship. While we may like our dentist or accountant, liking is not a necessity for either of them to provide their service to us. We may seek an aggressive bulldog of an attorney for a contentious lawsuit. But counseling is different. Counselors believe that an appropriate, amiable relationship is essential to the healing or problem-solving process with our clients.

My son, the salesman, once confided, “My sales and my expenses are the highest in our company at times. I believe that I must connect personally with my clients, get on a plane and travel to optimize my service to them.” Our daughter similarly reflects this philosophy, remarking, ” I have several instructors who work for me at the studio, but I believe that I must be a teacher as well. The clients see that I believe in fitness when I lead the exercise session, and I love it as well.”
Both our children are “people persons.”

How many of us work (or live) in a vacuum? Not many. Even inventors and laboratory scientists acknowledge that research and discovery is largely a “team project.” The days of a Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb in a solitary lab are long behind us. So-called “brilliant people” have trouble moving forward, either professionally or personally, if they lack fundamental “people skills.”

Howard Gardner, largely credited with coining the term “multiple intelligences,” tells us that ability takes many different and varied forms. Intelligence is more than a single commodity. But I believe that the greatest of these is “interpersonal intelligence,” the ability to get along with others.

When we take a long, serious look into our lives and the challenges and problems it presents, how many of those are related to our relationship with others? Most, I suspect.

Homework: It’s time to examine your “interpersonal intelligence.” Sharpen those skills, or learn some new ones. Counselors like my wife and I can help with those. But so can our two adult children, or other people you know who are like them. Check it out! Watch what they do, listen to how they speak and notice their smiles. Allow the happy and successful people in your life to become your mentors.

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