Emotional Intelligence - A Solution for Business Problems Today and Tomorrow

Oct 3 07:25 2008 Byron Stock Print This Article

By enhancing the Emotional Intelligence (EI) of its employees, an organization can successfully leverage a key trend identified in Patricia Aburdene's Megatrends 2010: "The Wave of Conscious Solutions." As we enter this new era welcoming widespread application of conscious techniques in business, ensure that your organization is an early adopter, reaping the benefits over your competitors who lag behind mired in traditional business beliefs.

In her Megatrends 2010,Guest Posting Patricia Aburdene identified key trends to capitalize on the future. One of these trends ("The Wave of Conscious Solutions") can be addressed through helping employees develop their Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills. Businesses are exploring the application of conscious solutions and are discovering the benefits. On a personal level, people are experiencing increased personal productivity, better work-life balance, and less stress. These benefits can translate at the organizational level to increased customer satisfaction, less employee turnover, and, ultimately, an improved bottom line.

Emotional Intelligence, a conscious solution to knee-jerk reactionary emotional habits, is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge from your emotions and the emotions of others. If you recognize what you feel, you can make better decisions about what actions to take (or not take). This knowledge enables you to use your emotions to help you make better choices in-the-moment and have more effective control over yourself and your impact on others.

The concept of Emotional Intelligence is based on brain research showing that these skills are different from technical and purely cognitive abilities because they involve a different part of the brain - the emotional center, the limbic system, rather than the neocortex. Emotional Intelligence is comprised of five basic competencies. The first is being aware of your feelings. The second is managing your feelings, especially distressing feelings. The third is self-motivation, the fourth is empathy, and the fifth is managing relationships. (1)

The Business Case

Emotional Intelligence abilities have been shown to be critical to individual and organizational success. (2,3) Research has shown that the benefits of enhancing EI skills are impressive, affecting numerous business/people issues, including increased innovation and creativity, improved decision-making, increased productivity, and increased profits. The business case for developing emotional intelligence becomes clear when we recognize that the emotions leaders, employees, and customers feel impact decision-making, mental clarity, and the bottom line of companies and the effectiveness of government and non-profit organizations.

The culture and climate of an organization as a whole are influenced by the emotions of the leaders. More specifically, leaders' emotions impact what employees feel, how satisfied they are, how loyal they are, and how productive and efficient they are. In turn, how employees feel and perform their work impact how customers feel, how satisfied they are with both products and services, and ultimately how loyal a customer is to the company or organization. And customer loyalty directly impacts the organization's bottom line and profitability.

Leadership is the core element in this set of relationships. Leaders are not just the CEO or Executive Vice President or Director. The in-charge person in every work team, every manager, and every individual in the organization is a leader. Self-leadership is one of the most important factors we focus on in skill development. Whether at work or at home, self-leadership is the internal ability to lead yourself to make the best choices and decisions moment-to-moment throughout the day.

Negative Impact on Business

Examining the impact of unmanaged emotional reactions and lack of emotional intelligence skills reveals the significant, negative impact on business. Lack of emotional intelligence skills and unmanaged emotions can lead to ...

- lack of innovation and creativity

- unsuccessful reengineering and process improvement initiatives

- slow development of high potential talent

- decreased productivity

- decreased customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

- career derailment

- high turnover

- stalled change initiatives

- declines in revenue

- increases in stress and healthcare costs

- negative organizational climate/culture

- workplace violence

Developing Emotional Intelligence Skills

The good news is Emotional Intelligence skills can be learned. However, there is a caveat: we are doomed to fail if we apply a training approach targeted for enhancing analytical or technical skills. Conventional programs do not include the factors by which the limbic system (emotional center of the brain) learns best - motivation, extended practice, and feedback. Developing emotional intelligence skills requires that individuals eliminate old behaviors and embrace new ones. And this requires practice and self-reflection on the impact of using the new skills.

Source:

1. Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, Bantam Books, 1995.

2. Daniel Goleman, "What Makes A Leader?" HBR, 1998.

3. Goleman, et. al., Primal Leadership, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2002.

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About Article Author

Byron Stock
Byron Stock

Specializing in the area of Emotional Intelligence skill-building, Byron Stock is devoted to making work a place where people flourish and productivity improves. Typical improvements in personal goals range from 30% to 50%. To learn about Byron's quick, simple, proven techniques to harness the power of your EI, visit www.ByronStock.com.

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