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The Head Coach: The legacy of emotional intellect

The Head Coach: The legacy of emotional intellect
October 22, 2012 Ignacio Fiallos

Did you get to see that heavyweight fight on Tuesday night? Or in other words, the second political debate?

Both candidates went toe to toe on their policies, one liberal and the other more conservative in agenda. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney were highly passionate in their viewpoints, each believing that his position is the right one to lead the country out of this stagnated recession. We will see who wins this knock-down-drag-out in November.

Would you believe this heavyweight political fight started more than 200 years ago?

When George Washington started his presidency, we had only one party, but we had two main contenders in his cabinet, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Recalling your history, you probably remember that Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury while Jefferson was Secretary of State.

While they both served in Washington’s cabinet, they came from different worlds. Hamilton came from a small country in the Caribbean. He was raised by a single mother and was dirt poor. Jefferson came from a prominent family in Virginia and was served with the silver spoon.

Like prizefighters, both urged Washington to create differing policies that would benefit the growing nation. Hamilton pushed for a meritocracy with an emphasis on corporate America leading the way. He saw the need for big business and a centralized bank. Jefferson, in contrast, believed in an agrarian society with farmers being more important than corporations.

I hope it is obvious to you who won the ideological battle — It was Hamilton. Our America is his vision.

But why do we revere Jefferson while few school children know who Hamilton is, let alone, that he is on the $10 bill?

The answer is emotional intelligence. Jefferson had it, and Hamilton did not. Jefferson was a man of the people, who never said a mean word. Hamilton, on the other hand, said what was on his mind, creating many enemies.

One enemy was Aaron Burr (vice-president at the time under Jefferson), who shot Hamilton dead in a duel in 1802. The story is that Hamilton shot first, aiming his pistol above Burr to purposely miss, while Burr took dead aim and killed the great visionary.

This is a historic tale that should be told in all history books as a word of caution. Talent and skill are not enough. For you to be successful, in politics, business, or any area of your life, you must have emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence?

For every expert, there is a different definition. I would define emotional intelligence as the ability to make friends, the ability to make people feel good about themselves, and the ability to earn people’s respect.

I have seen emotional intelligence rocket individuals to success, time and time again. I have seen professors get promoted to V.P. because they would have scored off the charts on a likeability scale. I have seen graduate students get amazing jobs, not because they had the most talent or were the most skillful, but because they had the highest emotional intelligence.

I know you, too, have seen this happen in your field, time and time again.

While schools teach skills and knowledge that can get us ahead, we also need to teach individuals the skill of emotional intelligence, not only today but for generations to come.


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