“Historically, leaders in most organizations have neglected emotions in the workplace. Today we realize that emotions are very much a part of workplace success. How individuals respond to real situations each and every day and what organizations do to foster productive emotional responses can make the difference between the organization that stumbles and the organization that thrives.”
Marcia Hughes, President
Many companies today are teetering on the edge of disaster. Excessive downsizing has created employees who find themselves overworked, underappreciated and constantly seesawing between exhaustion and fear. Competition in the workplace is fierce and many new recruits feel a need to turn to aggressive tactics to get ahead of their peers or risk falling behind.
Business leaders are beginning to realize that such negative emotions among their employees are not healthy for the organization and its prospects for success. Many are seeking ways to turn negative emotions into positive, productive behavior.
Research indicates a strong correlation between emotional intelligence and individual job performance. By emphasizing emotional intelligence in hiring and in teambuilding and training programs, senior management and human resources professionals can improve decision making, problem solving and the ability to cope with change among employees. Emotionally intelligent organizations maximize potential for business success and increase productivity because people in these organizations share more powerful connections.
Organizations today must strive to become more emotionally intelligent. Their success – indeed their very survival – depends on it.
Emotional Intelligence Defined
Emotional intelligence, alternatively known as EI or EQ, reflects an individual’s ability to deal with daily environmental challenges and helps predict success in life, both in professional and personal pursuits. EI competencies include empathy, intuition, creativity, flexibility, resilience, stress management, leadership, integrity, happiness and optimism, as well as intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills.
Emotional intelligence is based on a long history of research and theory in personality and social psychology. The three most widely used approaches to emotional intelligence were developed by Reuven BarOn, Daniel Goleman, and Jack Mayer, Peter Salovey and David Caruso. While the theory and practice of EI continues to evolve, the central premise that social and personal competencies are vital for a productive life remains a common theme throughout each model. And research continues to demonstrate EI’s importance to both individuals and organizations.
Measurement of Emotional Intelligence
The Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i®) is the first scientifically developed and validated measure of emotional intelligence.
Reuven Bar-On is an internationally acknowledged expert and pioneer in emotional intelligence and has been instrumental in defining, measuring and applying various aspects of the concept since 1980. He coined the term “EQ” (“emotional quotient”) in 1985 to describe his approach to assessing emotional and social competence and created the EQ-i, which was the first test of emotional intelligence to be published by a psychological test publisher (1997).
Today EQ-i assessments are the most widely used measure of EI, approaching two million copies distributed worldwide, making it one of the most popular psychological tests.
The EQ-i provides information for each individual on five composite scales and 15 subscales: o Intrapersonal Scales: self-regard, emotional self awareness, assertiveness, independence, self-actualization o Interpersonal Scales: empathy, social responsibility, interpersonal relationships o Adaptability Scales: reality testing, flexibility, problem solving o Stress Management Scales: stress tolerance, impulse control o General Mood Scales: optimism, happiness
The EQ-i can be used by organizations as part of the recruitment screening process to assist in identifying potentially successful employees. It can also be employed in identifying emotional and social skills for employee training programs, teambuilding and enhancing leadership capabilities in the workplace. In addition, an organization’s return on investment can be measured using this reliable instrument.
The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Organizations
A growing body of research demonstrates that emotional intelligence is a better predictor of “success” than traditional measures of cognitive intelligence (IQ). The workplace is an ideal environment for people to develop their social and emotional skills, as individuals are motivated to develop those capabilities in pursuit of success and promotion. The concept is equally important to employers, as their bottom-line productivity rests on the emotional intelligence of the whole organization. When executives and employees work to improve capabilities in areas in which they are weakest, it benefits the entire organization, improving communication and increasing productivity.
The EQ-i creates a profile of an individual’s emotional intelligence, showing both areas of strength and weakness. Individuals can use this information to develop areas in need of improvement. Organizations can use these profiles to show whether a potential hire would make a good addition to the team or expose traits in existing employees in need of enhancement through training or incentive programs. An action plan can be developed once an individual or organization has this information, supporting growth in desired areas.
“As the pace of change increases and the world of work makes ever greater demands on a person’s cognitive, emotional, and physical resources, this particular set of abilities will become increasingly important.”
Cary Cherniss, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Rutgers University
Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice
Scores in each EQ-i category can predict job performance and satisfaction. When an organization evaluates the emotional intelligence of its employees and of its star performers, it gains a strong blueprint for improving individual performance, enhancing the workplace climate and driving productivity.
Application of the EQ-i by the U.S. Air Force demonstrates the financial power of this information. The exceptionally high turnover rate of recruits was changed by finding that recruits who scored well in five factors – assertiveness, empathy, happiness, self-awareness and problem solving – were 2.7 times more likely to succeed. By using this instrument to find those who are right for this position, the Air Force increased retention rate by 92%, saving an estimated $2.7 million in less than a year.
The consequences for neglect of emotional intelligence in an organization can be devastating to productivity and bottom-line business results. Breakdowns in internal communication that produce confusion, uncertainty, hostility and reduced productivity are just a few of the factors organizations face if they do not actively pursue a strategy of fostering emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Successful organizations today strive to reap the benefits of becoming more emotionally intelligent: improving performance of employees and executives, building strong teams and driving productivity.
“The quest to make companies more emotionally intelligent is one more and more organizations are embarking on, whether they use the term or not. An organization’s collective emotional intelligence is no mere soft assessment; it has hard consequences.”
Courtney from Study Moose
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