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Emotional Intelligence

Research at Gallup has shown that only 25% of employees are fully engaged in their work. The cost of disengagement has been estimated to be so pervasive that it costs an organization, on average $5,000 per employee, conservatively. Research on turnover shows that attrition – and its predecessor, disengagement – are caused by negative interpersonal actions. The leaders at an organization set the tone and culture for interpersonal interaction. The leader’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) affects their team’s emotions and actions. Such emotional contagion travels down the chain in an organization, ultimately affecting your customer’s emotions and buying behaviors to affect your bottom line.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

While it is often misunderstood as intelligence quotient (IQ), Emotional Intelligence is different because instead of measuring your general intelligence, it measures your emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity. In the business environment, Emotional Intelligence is important because it helps you leverage your awareness of emotions for effectiveness in the workplace.

Achieving Emotional Intelligence

Considering that high performance and good decision-making are the ultimate outcomes, how are they attained? There is no doubt that general intelligence and technical skills contribute to high performance. However, to truly succeed consistently, one must also possess a high level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). EQ is the process of recognizing, managing, and appropriately leveraging emotions within yourself and with others. The value of emotional intelligence increases dramatically with job complexity. Research has shown that those with high EQ are 127 times more productive than those with low EQ. Through his research, Dan Goleman has concluded that the key differentiator between star and average performers is EQ.  For more on effective leadership, see 12 Competencies of an Effective Executive.

Assessing Emotional Intelligence – The Emotional Intelligence Test

The Emotional Quotient assessment measures an individual’s emotional intelligence with an online questionnaire that is immediately analyzed to produce a report with detailed information about the individual’s Emotional Quotient score. The higher the score in the report is, the higher the level of emotional intelligence will be.
At any level, the Emotional Quotient report will empower individuals to understand their own emotional intelligence so they can avoid making high-risk decisions without understanding how their emotions are influencing their choice. Instead they can make educated, sound decisions with their head, instead of just relying on their emotions.

The Five Areas of Emotional Intelligence Test

The EQ Report focuses on five areas within interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand oneself, while interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand others.

Intrapersonal Emotional Intelligence

Self-Awareness – The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.
Self-Regulation – The ability to control or re-direct disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgment and think before acting.
Motivation – A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money and status and a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.

Interpersonal Emotional Quotient

Social Skills – A proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.
Empathy – The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

With the EQ Report, you can improve the coaching and development process by giving superior performers the opportunity to truly understand their emotional intelligence. The Emotional Intelligence test will help identify ways they can take action to accelerate their emotional intelligence development and leverage their new knowledge to make better decisions
on the job.


More Background on Emotional Intelligence

Generally speaking, high performance is determined by the competencies you naturally possess or have learned and acquired.

For example, in sports how good you are at shooting a free throw will in part determine how good you are at playing basketball. In business, your competence in leading a team will in part determine your performance as a manager.

Traditional training and development seeks to build such skills and competencies. Our performance on these individual skills and competencies is governed by our behaviors, or how well can we optimize these competencies. For example, someone very good at presenting (competency) may perform dismally if his behavior before, during, or after the presentation event is not appropriate.

Preceding these day-to-day behaviors is cognition, part of which includes our IQ. It is your cognition (how you think) that determines how you will behave, which determines how you can optimize your competencies, which determines whether you perform at a high level.

Emotions Precede Cognition & Behavior

Our first reaction to a stimulus is an emotional one. An abundance of research over the past several decades has supported the primacy of affect in interpreting the world around us, affecting our cognition and behaviors. Make no mistake, the workplace is first perceived through our emotions. Co-workers may cause frustration; a raise may invoke feelings of pride and satisfaction; and receiving a stretch assignment may lead to a complex combination of stress and determination.

Emotions Are Our Foundation

Am I safe? Am I in danger? Will I fight or will I take flight? Our emotions are the source and the foundation of everything else. These emotions are very real and a heightened emotional state can distort our cognition and logical thought processes. Clearly, if you are in fight mode, the set of thinking sequences is quite different that if you are in flight mode. And both of those situations exert a vastly different cognitive effect than when you are at emotional equilibrium. Your ability to think clearly determines how you behave which, in turn, as just discussed, determines how well you can use your competencies to perform. Considering that performance at work is defined and judged based on behavioral observations, the importance of properly managing emotions becomes all the more important. Indeed, the competencies that separate good employees from great ones are based on leadership skills (which have a strong basis in emotion) and job relevant behaviors.

This sequence is a physiological sequence that occurs in our bodies. It is not a philosophical one or a conceptual one. Neuropsychiatrists through virtual reality and body mapping have shown that the initial reaction to a stimulus is not the firing of brain cells, but that of endorphins being released—emotions.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

The single most important element in group intelligence is not the average, or even the highest IQ, but emotional intelligence. We assert that a single participant who is low in Emotional Intelligence can lower the collective IQ of the entire group. Further, the EQ and emotional tone of the group is most strongly affected by the leader’s EQ. Emotional management is crucial in leadership. A good leader creates an emotionally safe workplace and successfully manages her own and others’ emotions. The EQ of leaders affects individual, group, and organizational outcomes. Research shows that the EQ of a team leader has positive effects on not only team members’ satisfaction, but also extra-role behavior aimed at the entire organization. These findings suggest a ripple effect of positive outcomes that can be tied to leaders with high levels of EQ. Indeed, at the top levels of leadership, EQ accounts for as much as 90% of success.

Can Emotional Intelligence be Learned?

Unlike one’s level of IQ, which changes very little from childhood, emotional intelligence includes skills that can be learned at any age. Research agrees that people can be taught to better manage emotions. In fact, the skills of emotional intelligence are so attainable that one’s level of EQ tends to increase with age which can be explained in terms of experience.
Seeing the value of EQ as a trainable skill, more and more business schools are adding emotional competency training. So, what is a 30-year old to do in a room full of 40-year old customers, especially when he knows his competition has likely received some sort of emotional management training? This is the battlefield of the workplace that can be highly impacted by EQ. However, most emotional intelligence programs have failed to deliver results in increasing attendee’s emotional intelligence. This is mostly due to their flawed methodology significant, sustained EQ learning occurs over an extended period of time not in a classroom, two day seminar, or workshop.

Sustainable High Performance

Unfortunately, the focus of the majority of professional training and development solutions in the past two decades has been on skills and behaviors, not EQ. These methods, while well intentioned, only focus on teaching the outcomes of good EQ. But a focus on skills and behaviors is for naught if not coupled with a proven process on improving the emotional competence that underlies those competencies. A focus on improving cognition, behaviors and EQ will lead to a more effective workforce.

If you’d like to learn more about the Emotional Quotient, please call Tim Allard at 434-984-0425 or email tim@odysseyhps.com

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