By Ron Miles, PCC


In my last post, Ready for Promotion, we focused on the organization and how they went about selecting an individual for a managerial position. I pointed out that in many cases the results were not good. The most consistent reason being that the organization looks at the individuals performance in their current position and not creating opportunities for the individual to demonstrate the skills needed for the managerial position. Organizations that get this right have a much higher success rate.

So for this post, let’s turn it around and focus on the individual promoted into their first or a higher level managerial position and things aren’t going so well. The obvious question is, “What can I do?” 

Do any of these things describe your situation?

  1. I keep getting frustrated or angry.
  2. I know what I want to say, but I just can’t find the right way to express myself.
  3. I find myself more concerned with being accepted by my team, than in making the hard decisions.
  4. There’s just so many options and I just can’t seem to distinguish between them.

I keep putting things off.

If the answer to one or more is yes then maybe it’s your emotional intelligence?


As I work with clients, I’m amazed at their lack of understanding of their emotional intelligence. Their knowledge varies from nothing to an impressive ability to explain it. But when it comes to application, more knowledge doesn’t always equate to its effective use.

So that we are on the same page, let’s start with a definition from Multi-Health Systems Inc (MHS). Emotional Intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we:

  • Perceive and express ourselves
  • Develop and maintain social relationships 
  • Cope with challenges
  • Use emotional information in an effective and meaningful


Now with an understanding of what it is, the next logical response could be “So what! Why is it such a big deal?”

Let’s look at why it’s important and such a big deal. Let’s look in three areas.

First, “What Makes a Leader?” by Danial Goleman, … my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non (an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary) of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader … When I analyzed all this data, I found dramatic results. To be sure, intellect was a driver of outstanding performance. Cognitive skills such as big-picture thinking and long-term vision were particularly important, But then I calculated the ratio of technical skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as ingredients of excellent performance, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels … Moreover, my analysis showed that emotional intelligence played an increasingly important role at the highest levels of the company, where differences in technical skills are of negligible importance. In other words, the higher the rank of a person considered to be a star performer, the more emotional intelligence capabilities showed up as the reason for his or her effectiveness. When I compared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90% of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities.

Second, in the book The Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley, a survey was taken of 733 multi-millionaires throughout the United States. When asked to rate the factors most responsible for their success, the top five were:

  • Being honest with all people
  • Being well disciplined
  • Getting along with people
  • Having a supportive spouse
  • Working harder than most people

All five are reflections of emotional intelligence.

Cognitive intelligence, or IQ, was 21st on the list and only endorsed by 20 percent of millionaires. In fact, it went even lower when millionaire attorneys and physicians were taken out of the analysis. SAT scores, highly related to IQ were on average, higher than the norm, but not high enough for acceptance to a top-rated college. What about grade point averages? They came in at 2.92 on a 4.0 scale. Again, nothing to make mom and dad especially proud.

Metaphorically IQ allows you to enter the elevator, but it is EQ that fuels your elevator’s upward trajectory.

Third, in the June 21, 1999, Fortune cover article, “Why CEO’s Fail,” authors Ram Charan and Geoffrey Colvin demonstrated that unsuccessful CEO’s put strategy before people. Successful CEOs shine - not in the arena of planning or finances — in the area of emotional intelligence. They show integrity, people acumen, assertiveness, effective communication and trust-building behavior.

With a better understanding of Emotional Intelligence and why it’s important, let’s go back to the original question, “What can I do?” I have two suggestions:

  1. There’s “tons” of literature on the subject. Go get it and read it. Increase your knowledge and look for ways to apply it. Remember it’s knowledge and practice that produces the desired results. Two suggestions:
  • What Makes a Leader by Daniel Goleman
  • The EQ Edge, Emotional Intelligence and Your Success, by Steen J. Stein, PhD and Howard E. Book, M.D.

       2. Get a coach.

  • See if your company uses coaches and will provide one for you. If they don’t, then ask for one. They’ve picked you for the position. It would certainly be in their best interest to help you be successful.
  • Hire your own coach. Yes, it’s an expense, but it would seem to be in your best interest to help yourself when looking at the option of failure or success.