Firms benefit from emotional intelligence (Web sight)

Increased productivity and people skills just some of the advantages

Ever since Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence hit the bookshelves in 1995, HR practitioners have looked to emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), as a factor in understanding and assessing people’s behaviours, attitudes, interpersonal skills and management styles. These so-called “soft skills” are seen as the key to succeeding in the business world and in life. Goleman identified five main EQ domains: knowing your emotions; managing your own emotions; motivating yourself; recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions and handling relationships. The following websites examine the advantages for employers whose workers have a higher emotional intelligence score.

Top 10 EQ tips

For a quick look at some EQ-related issues, see this top 10 list of tips, “Self Help Tips for Professionals: Why Emotional Intelligence is Important,” collected with human resource and business professionals in mind. Pointers include “Emotional intelligence can impact your client retention — 70 per cent of the reasons why customers and clients are lost are EQ-related,” and “Potential effect on your business success — 50 per cent of time wasted in business is due to lack of trust.”

Empathy makes for good leaders

This BostonWorks article, “‘Emotional Intelligence’ a New Hiring Criterion,” looks at hiring from the employer’s perspective and how they’re looking for more well-rounded workers. “Do you have the maturity and independence to follow a project to completion? Can you motivate and lead a group of your peers? Do you genuinely care about the company’s values and goals? Are you the type to be sensitive to the needs of a troubled co-worker? Can you control your anger when a supervisor is rude to you?” According to one CEO interviewed, empathy is “the big enchilada in my mind when it comes to emotional intelligence… if you are an employer looking to hire for a leadership position, you want to know whether they can put themselves in someone else’s shoes.”

The EQ business case

In “The Business Case for Emotionally Intelligent Leadership,” the author looks at how employers can find competitive advantage through hiring people with high emotional intelligence. He says exceptional organizations invest in their relationships with customers, employees and leaders. “Over the next decades the people side will increasingly become the only meaningful competitive advantage. And if emotional intelligence helps build customer and employee loyalty, helps people innovate and perform, helps leaders build value, then these competencies are essential for world-class performance.”

High EQ increases productivity

This article on the Zerorisk HR site, “The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Why It Matters More than Personality” discusses how EQ differs from personality and outlines the use of EQ in the workplace and its impact on the bottom line. It cites one study of Fortune 500 companies, which found that “salespeople with high EQ produced twice the revenue of those with average or below average scores. In another study, technical programmers demonstrating the top 10 per cent of emotional intelligence competency were developing software three times faster than those with lower competency.” The article says that many companies focus their selection criteria and training programs on personality trait assessment and hard skills such as education and technical expertise. “Topics including competencies like stress management, assertiveness skills, empathy, and political/social acumen were never measured in the selection process or focused on in training and development programs. In reality, these are critical success factors that should not be dismissed, and have a direct impact on the bottom line.”

Ann Macaulay is a freelance editor and regular contributor to Canadian HR Reporter. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section.

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