When renowned science journalist and psychologist Daniel Goleman was giving a talk once to a room full of business leaders and CEOs, he asked them a revealing question. "How many of you were valedictorians? The smartest kid in your class?"
Out of 200-300 hundred people in the room, Goleman says only three hands went up.
That's right. Three.
Goleman told this story to Oprah during a conversation on OWN's "SuperSoul Sunday" to highlight a point that he explores in his often-referenced book, Emotional Intelligence: IQ and success are not directly, exclusively related.
"Your IQ, your academic abilities, your cognitive brilliance is not what's going to matter the most," Goleman says. In other words, the smartest people are not always the best leaders or best bosses.
While intellect certainly plays an initial role in one's success -- it's like a threshold that "gets you in the game," Goleman says -- a high IQ isn't the most reliable predictor of strong leadership. "It's not going to tell you if you're going to emerge as a team leader, as a star," he explains.
Instead, Goleman emphasizes the importance of fostering emotional intelligence and understanding its ability to drive people to greater heights.
“It's how you handle other people, how you handle yourself... Do you know what you’re feeling? Why you’re feeling it?” he poses. “Do you know how to manage those feelings? Do you know what someone else is feeling? Can you put it together and have a good interaction and good relationship?"
To nurture your emotional intelligence, Goleman suggest beginning with self-reflection and meditation, which he says can lead to a clearer self-awareness -- and a more in-sync spiritual and professional course.
"You have to make time to have that reflection," he asserts. "Once you have that, then you can handle yourself in a way that aligns with your own sense of purpose, meaning, ethics and values."
Another piece of advice from Goleman: