Are Women More Emotionally Intelligent Than Men?

Yes, and Yes and No.

Emotional intelligence has four parts: self-awareness, managing our emotions, empathy, and social skill. There are many tests of emotional intelligence, and most seem to show that women tend to have an edge over men when it comes to these basic skills for a happy and successful life. That edge may matter more than ever in the workplace, as more companies are starting to recognize the advantages of high EI when it comes to positions like sales, teams, and leadership.

On the other hand, it’s not that simple. For instance, some measures suggest women are on average better than men at some forms of empathy, and men do better than women when it comes to managing distressing emotions.»

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Performance Reviews: It’s Not Only What You Say, But How You Say It

Performance reviews are the HR ritual that everyone dreads.

And now brain science shows that positive or negative, the way in which that review gets delivered can be a boon or a curse.

If a boss gives even a good review in the wrong way, that message can be a low-grade curse, creating a neural downer.

So I learned while reviewing recent scientific findings for an upcoming webinar that has got me rethinking the concept of emotional intelligence.

The neuroscientist Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin has found that when we’re in an upbeat, optimistic, I-can-handle-anything frame of mind, energized and enthusiastic about our goals, our brains turn up the activity in an area on the left side, just behind the forehead.»

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Leadership: Social Intelligence is Essential

I’ve long argued that outstanding leadership requires a combination of self-mastery and social intelligence. What’s the difference? Self-mastery refers to how we handle ourselves; for those familiar with my model of emotional intelligence, self-mastery breaks down into self-awareness and self-control.

The leadership competencies that build on self-mastery include self-confidence, the drive to improve performance, staying calm under pressure, and a positive outlook. All these abilities can be seen at full force, for instance, in workers who are outstanding individual performers. The operative word here is “individual” – and that’s the rub. When it comes to leaders, effectiveness in relationships makes or breaks.»

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Resonant Leaders

My book Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence (co-authored with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee) argues that resonant leaders, who exhibit attributes of emotional and social intelligence, are better able to connect with others most effectively – and so lead well. At the time we wrote the book, there was no specific study we could as yet cite that had been designed to test this idea. But now direct data is building

One new study found that nurses going through the intense stress of layoffs and reorganization in a budget-cutting health system were buffered when their leaders were resonant – and intensified when leaders were not.»

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Power, Prestige or Money: What Drives Us

“All the people in this room are motivated by power, prestige, or money. Which do you think is most important?”

That was the question asked of me recently by a managing director of a large European bank who had asked me to speak to about 200 top executives. Let’s take them one by one.

I remember David McClelland, my mentor years ago in grad school, making a crucial distinction among people who are motivated by power: whether they seek power simply to aggrandize themselves, or for something beyond themselves. The first group, the genuinely power-hungry, include “unhealthy” narcissists and Machiavellians – people who care only about their own goals, without caring about the consequences for other people of what they do (as I detail in the chapter on the “dark triad” in my book Social Intelligence).»

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