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What Emotional Intelligence
Can Do For
The culprit in low productivity, poor judgment, bad decisions, hiring the wrong people and losing the right people, unmotivated employees, lack of teamwork, and poor self-management is emotions. The answer to high productivity, good judgment, smart decisions, hiring the right people and keeping them, motivating others, strong teamwork and managing oneself is also emotions.
Studies have shown that raising the overall EQ in an organization positively affects the bottom line.
We are not talking about a touchy-feely-huggy experience. Emotional Intelligence is based on empirical data, scientifically based, consists of basic competencies that can be learned and deals with emotions that affect our ability to think and produce.
It’s about some serious emotional management of self and others around accommodating various personalities and cultural backgrounds, maintaining respect, trucing turf wars, resolving conflict, and building efficiency, flexibility and integrity through all levels of your organization.
Emotional Intelligence is non-invasive. It doesn’t go into “why”. Rather it teaches specific skills for understanding and managing emotions in everyday situations. If you think of a time when you saw an employee crater because of fear or anxiety, you’ve seen low EQ at work.
Emotional intelligence is learned behavior. It means being aware of your own emotions, understanding them, and managing them to bring about positive results, and being able to do this in regards to others.
It is particularly important in a diverse or multicultural environment to establish a company culture of Emotional Intelligence. Otherwise, because different cultures have different "rules," employees will be forced to think when they should be acting, and work will be slowed down.
For instance, if one department is Intentional, that is, they say what they mean and they mean what they say (deadlines for instance), and another department doesn’t, how is the employee to maneuver this situation? It means “learning” that Bill expects deadlines to be met, but Mary doesn’t, instead of having the company culture that deadlines will be met, intentionally.
EQ v. IQ
EQ is the measurement of Emotional Intelligence. We say that an individual has high EQ or low EQ. EQ can be developed over the lifespan, unlike IQ, which is more-or-less set in early adulthood.
Many of your employees are probably competent in their jobs skills. They have the academic education, the vocational training, the computer skills, specific experience in their fields, and the proficiencies to perform their jobs adequately, yet it is likely some are far better at getting the job done, and far easier to work with than others. The defining factor is Emotional Intelligence.
Here are three Emotional Intelligence competencies and how they work in the office environment.
One of the biggest detractors from concentration and productivity is stress. Building resilience is the best way to tolerate stress according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Resilience, an EQ competency, means being able to bounce back after setbacks, disappointments, rejections and losses while retaining a hopeful and enthusiastic outlook.
According to Al Siebert, Ph.D., who has done research on resilience for many years, one of the attributes of a resilient person is having many different characteristics, for instance being able to be rigid or flexible, analytical or creative, as required by the particular situation. This requires also being able to access all parts of your brain – emotions and thinking, left and right brain. This is EQ in action.
Being flexible means being able to generate alternate solutions when you “hit the wall.” Whether it’s a person you can’t get around, or an idea you know will work but may not initially be popular, or a change in office systems, or a turf war that needs ending, having many alternate ways of approaching the challenge maximizes your chances of success.
Optimism is the facilitator of all the EQ competencies and fuels productivity and high performance. A high score in optimism is the single best predictor for successful sales people ( http://www.eiconsortium.org ), and is crucial to performance situations such as giving presentations and negotiating.
A clear example of this is an athlete. Imagine if a boxer went into the ring thinking "I'm not sure I can do this," or "He's better than I am, what's the use?" Coaches spend as much time working on an athlete's attitude as their physical skills.
How to Introduce EQ
A model program begins with assessing each individual’s EQ. Then start everyone on The EQ Foundation Course© which explains the competencies and raises EQ as it is taken. It is interactive and on the Internet, self-paced, active learning, 12 modules, and comes with a workbook. Then subscribe everyone to an eZine that gives weekly tips and builds team participation.
At the same time, each individual receives coaching weekly to work on the competencies that need improving which may be in person or by telephone. Additional group work by meeting or teleconference builds team EQ skills and keeps everyone reading off the same page. The recommended minimum time investment for this type of learning is 3 months. A post- program assessment measures results.
Alternatively, managers and executives can take a program such as EQ Alive! ( http://www.eqcoach.net ) to learn how to coach others in EQ.
Participants in a well-designed and initiated EQ program can increase their ability to work together, to lead more effectively, to manage themselves and motivate others better, to be more flexible and creative in finding solutions, to focus better and act with intent, and to be more resilient, and therefore, ultimately, be more productive.
Many more articles in Emotional Intelligence in The CEO Refresher Archives