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  1. What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient, EQ) is the ability to 1) recognize, understand and manage our own emotions and 2) recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.  The four main pillars of emotional intelligence are self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management.

  1. Why is it important to master this concept when one is an MSL?

EQ is the backbone for critical MSL traits such as presentation skills, empathy, communication, stress tolerance, accountability, and most of all establishing trust.   As the MSL profession is a job of scientific communication and relationship management, it is imperative that an MSL master the skill of emotional intelligence to manage their emotions during a KOL engagement, effectively read a KOL and understand their needs, address their needs in a timely manner and build and foster these KOL relationships. 

Of note, unlike IQ, which remains that largely the same as one ages, EQ is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice.

  1. How does having emotional intelligence affect the career of an MSL?

EQ is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.     As an MSL, developing a high EQ allows for the increased ability to work in teams, adjusting to change and maintaining flexibility.  This allows for success despite the dynamic nature of the MSL job within a medical division of a company.  As a MSL with high EQ continues to develop and broaden his or her network within the company, their accomplishments take notice and help drive collaboration on projects, selection to leadership teams, and upward mobility.   As an MSL manager, developing a high level of emotional intelligence allows for better understanding of their team members and more effective coaching.  This increases employee job satisfaction and less turn over within the team.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.