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How Can That Co-Worker Be So Smart – and So Clueless?

Have you ever worked with someone who, despite being obviously really smart, was pretty much just clueless when it came to being a productive human being? You know the one. Sheer brain power: off the charts. But people skills? Nada. Team collaboration? Zilch. Empathy? Not in her vocabulary.

And as you’ve probably observed, all those smarts often can’t compensate for a lack of people skills. In fact, it turns out that having a high intelligence quota (IQ) isn’t nearly as important to a successful life – and career – as is having a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ).

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, describes EQ as a combination of self-mastery strengths and relationship skills. For example, Goleman focuses on the ability to control your impulses, self-motivation, an ability to feel empathy for others, and “social competence” in relations with other people as some of the key strengths/skills that will help you create a happier and more productive life and rewarding career. Without them, someone truly may be the smartest person in the room, but it won’t make any difference because no one will be willing to listen to them or follow their lead.

If you’d like to strengthen your EQ abilities, this book and its many spinoffs (Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Working with Emotional Intelligence, Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence, etc.) provide a great starting point for developing your skills in this critical area of career development. And that really smart co-worker who just can’t seem to get along with anyone? You might want to consider leaving a copy on his or her desk when no one’s around:

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Daniel Goleman. Bloomsbury Paperbacks, 2010. 368p. ISBN 1408806169.

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