The Performance Pro

Friday, July 20, 2007

Emotional Intelligence Reigns

We are living in a high-tech age, where teams may be virtual, an office is no more than a cubicle, meetings are held somewhere in cyberspace, mandates are delivered by e-mail and "me, myself and I" fill up our leisure hours. Veterans and Boomers are finding themselves being pulled into more frequent lapses of indifference than they ever would have experienced twenty years ago.

Studies show that the bulk of Generation-Xers of today were latch-key kids growing up with a survivor mentality. Instead of Leave it to Beaver and the Girl Next Door, the younger generations are watching harsh reality programs where ones compete for survival and the losers are cast out—or animated skateboards see how many people they can blow up with bombs, ultimately creating an emotional disconnect. Amidst all of this is it any wonder the workplaces of today are struggling to hone our people skills? Once considered a luxury and referred to as "soft skills", the need for training people how to connect with others on an emotional level is becoming a hard fact of life. And for good reason.

Today 'soft skills" encompass what it is referred to as Emotional Intelligence. Advocates of emotional intelligence have long heralded it's importance in personal and professional achievement. Recently I was working for a client at conference, I had the opportunity to hear the President of the International Reading Association, Richard Allington, give a brilliant presentation on the shortcomings of our educational system as it has traditionally taken the narrow path of IQ as a measuring tool -- ignoring the enormous impact that emotional intelligence has on one’s development and ability to succeed.

A growing number of career studies have provided the impetus for the increasing importance emotional intelligence plays in one’s job performance. Some examples:

*The Air Force found by using EI to select recruiters they were able to predict successful recruiters by nearly three-fold—saving $3 million annually.

At L’Oreal, sales people selected on the basis of emotional competence sold $91,370 more than those who were not selected on that basis—a net revenues increase of $2,558.360. Sales people selected on emotional competence also had 63% less turnover during the first year.

After supervisors in a manufacturing plan received training on how to listen better and help employees solve problems profits increased.

It has been said that 85% of our success is determined by our ability to communicate. It is no surprise then that emotional intelligence is crossing the finishing lines first. Unfortunately, many educational institutes still admit people into programs based solely on the I.Q., even for those occupations demanding high degrees of empathy and personal interaction.

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned. Globally today, large and small companies are using tools like the DISC behavior styles assessment to help them hire the right people and build strong teams. In addition, to being used as a hiring tool, our clients have found this tool provides a common language from which they can easily base all of their training programs. Through training programs and the creation of a ‘caring’ corporate culture progressive companies are meeting their organizational sales goals and increasing their employee retention.

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