Emotional Intelligence Is Not Just For Leaders

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May 3, 2018

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) isn’t something that can be easily taught or trained, which is why it’s such a vital competency for the employees within your organization to have. The term EQ has been tossed around the HR space for the past few years, but in case you need a refresher, emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Moreover, emotional intelligence has been linked to an increase in engagement, productivity, and retention – all components of employee management that are necessary for an organization to thrive.

In order to understand the role that EQ plays in each of these components, we’ll delve into each aspect and discuss its importance and ways in which HR professionals can ensure their employees have the EQ to help the organization succeed.

EQ and engagement

It’s common knowledge that un-engagement rates among employees are high, and therefore it should be of upmost concern for most HR professionals. What may not be so apparent however, is the fact that emotional intelligence has a positive correlation with engagement among individuals and their organization. An employee with high EQ is better able to handle tough situations and communicate effectively with colleagues across the organization, thus leading to a more positive work experience.

Furthermore, a 2013 study conducted by nonprofit research firm Six Seconds, found that employees who had a manager with high EQ were much more engaged. Having managers who are able to communicate well with employees and handle tough situations smoothly will see a much more engaged workforce. While EQ is innate to some extent, there are trainings that can be done to help managers get more in touch with their emotional intelligence and use it effectively with employees.

EQ and productivity

With an increase in employee engagement comes an increase in productivity. Most studies, like those conducted by Six Seconds, seem to find that the two are positively connected and that emotional intelligence and an engaged workforce leads to high performance. A study conducted by Martin Segelmen at Met Life found that there was a connection between high emotional intelligence and optimism. Those optimists were able to look at issues and see them as temporary as opposed to a permanent roadblock. This has significance, as the research found that those who were highly optimistic also sold 37% more than those sales people who were more pessimistic.

When hiring new employees, it’s important to look for factors of EQ in candidates that will indicate a successful hire. There are also a multitude of tools in the market to look to for assistance in evaluating EQ for performance. These tools look at key behaviors and motivators that indicate whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for the team and organization. Emotional intelligence plays a huge part when looking at productivity amongst teams, and therefore finding the right fit is necessary to see high performance.

EQ and retention

While it should come as no surprise, a workforce that is engaged and high performing is also likely to have a higher retention rate. A study conducted by Leadership IQ found that 46% of all new hires failed within the first 18 months on the job and 23% of those failed because they weren’t able to manage and understand emotions.

Emotional competency plays a vital role in being able to handle criticism and feedback, work with other employees and teams, and communicate in a clear and effective way. Employees who cannot succeed at these competencies will have a more difficult time feeling successful and, therefore, will eventually turnover. While handling your current workforce, it’s beneficial to invite employees to take Emotional Intelligence assessments and offer training to those who feel they need it in order to develop a more successful workplace.

It’s easy to see how engagement, productivity and retention are all connected within an employee’s performance, but the secret ingredient to true individual and team success is emotional intelligence. Whether you’re managing teams or looking to hire new employees, understanding the impact of EQ throughout the organization will contribute significantly to overall organizational success.

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