Staffing Management

Going Through the Emotions: How Emotional Intelligence Skills Can Boost Business Results

By Kim Lee

Dec. 1, 2015

The general agreement among human capital experts is that technical skills account for roughly 10 percent of a manager’s success.

Hitting quarterly projections and delivering exceptional products or services is significantly affected by factors such as relationship management, resilience and social awareness — in short, emotional intelligence. Of course, this seems logical. Well, if it is, should these skills associated with emotional intelligence be management prerequisites?

What is critical to leadership excellence? Staying aware of and managing change. Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in the area of emotional intelligence encourages focus on remaining aware of constant change and reacting or behaving accordingly — exhibiting behavior that is aligned appropriately with each situation. This requires social- emotional vigilance.

Work teams with high emotional awareness and strong management skills achieve more positive results because of improved ability to exchange information, problem-solve respectfully to make decisions and engage in productive conflict negotiation. The combination of exceptional emotional awareness and management capability is what drives positive business results.

There is mounting evidence that emotional intelligence is a factor distinguishing the best business leaders from the rest of the pack.

Examining effectiveness of management teams in Fortune 500 companies, the late David McClelland found that when senior managers had high emotional intelligence capabilities, their divisions outperformed yearly earnings goals by 20 percent. In a review of the U.S. Air Force recruiter performance, recruiters with high emotional intelligence scores, exceeded 100 percent of their annual recruitment quotas. Recruiters with low emotional intelligence met less than 80 percent of their quotas. In 1998 when the Air Force started considering emotional intelligence in the selection of recruiters, financial losses (because of recruitment mismatches) were cut by 92 percent, or almost $2.8 million.

Management teams with high emotional intelligence can affect innovation and increase company profits.

Cutting-edge approaches to leadership development in the workplace are focused on increasing managers’ ability to remain aware of self and others, shore up resilience and create trusting relationships.

According to author Gilles Gignac and his colleagues, the effects of social and emotional skills development are particularly significant for sales professionals. During a large-scale corporate merger, sales professionals participating in emotional intelligence training generated more revenue than their colleagues who were not involved in the program.

Managers with high emotional intelligence are catalysts for operational efficiency. Is there evidence that emotional intelligence is linked to job performance?

Management consultant Lorenzo Fariselli found managers participating in customized emotional intelligence management certification programs with high emotional intelligence received significantly higher job performance scores than their counterparts with lower emotional intelligence.

Preparing managers to deliver positive business results requires focus on skills that go beyond expertise in a specific technical area. Demonstrating resilience, goal-directedness, solution orientation and a balanced outlook are necessary. This is par for the course in leadership roles.

There is no doubt, getting commitment to develop management emotional intelligence can be challenging. Do we even know that these skills can be taught?

Yes, emotional intelligence skills can be developed. Multiple tools and programs are available to create emotional intelligence development opportunities in organizations. Many programs are based on years of research validating the link between emotional intelligence and company profits.

Companies like TalentSmart Inc., a prime provider of emotional intelligence services and Six Seconds, a global network focused on creating positive change through emotional intelligence, have examined the effect of emotional intelligence on performance for many years. These companies and others like them have delivered training with a proven track record of increasing participants’ ability to leverage emotional intelligence skills and achieve positive results in various situations.

It is all about the way people in organizations think and act.

Learn to remain calm regardless of the situation, be less impulsive and make decisions that reflect multiple considerations for greater operational efficiency. With rapid changes in workplace landscape, staying aware and appropriately responding to real differences in the way things are done will help employees remain in the game adding tremendous value to companies. It will also build teams focused on innovative ideas and positive business results.

Kim Morris Lee is director of organizational effectiveness at University of Illinois at Chicago. Comment below or email Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.

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