Why is Emotional Intelligence Building an Important Part of Management?
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Management and leadership discourse is increasingly pointing to the critical role of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in workplace success. Researchers and management theorists now highlight the importance of developing EQ as a key way to differentiate star performers and the rest. In fact, large organizations are changing their policies on recruitment and giving promotions by looking at employees through the lens of EQ. According to a survey done by Johnson and Johnson, it found across offices globally that mid-career executives with high leadership potential had far higher EQ competencies than their peers.
A survey that tested EQ and 33 other workplace skills, found that EQ was the strongest predictor of performance having explained 58per cent of workplace success. The study further observed that 90per cent of top performers were high in EQ, while just 20per cent of the poor performers were high in EQ. People with high EQ were also slated to have earned on average $29,000 more than those lower in EQ, according to findings.
The term Emotional Intelligence (EQ) was first coined in 1990 by the following people- two professors at Yale University, John D. Mayer of UNH and Peter Salovey. According to John Mayer, emotional intelligence is “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others emotions, to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships, and to manage your own and others’ emotions”. In effect, EQ is characterized by the intangible behaviour that helps manage emotions, be empathetic, focus on human-centric communication, build meaningful relationships and be socially aware.
And the Experts
At a recent seminar by a Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa from Columbia Business School, his analysis of the demands of a leader today indicate that a leader must be everything from a visionary to decisive, adaptive, extroverted, connected, a risk-taker and more, to the complete opposite of pragmatic, patient, a risk-manager, tenacious, to name a few. In this exponential era that we live in driven by unprecedented change, Prof. Wadhwa saw Inner Mastery for Outer Impact as one of the key aspects of personal leadership development today.
According to the Vedanta, an evolved being is someone where the intellect is greater than the mind. In the philosophy there is a difference between intelligence and the intellect where the latter is the ability to think, question, analyze, and reason in a way that demonstrates control over emotions and desires. According to the philosophy, the mind or emotions are only but natural, however managing and controlling those emotions in an empowered way is what makes a person more evolved in their approach.
As we can simply put it, it’s the leadership style of that is cool, collected and exhibits control over the situation, no matter how strained.
EQ building is one of the key objectives across organizations today. A not-for-profit Emotional Intelligence network, that surveyed 100,000 people across 126 countries found in their 2016 annual report that EQ scores are on the decline globally. Experts attributed increased stress, greater anxiety, the reliance on technology and the increased role of social media as some of the contributing factors to this decline.
A Harvard Business Review article in 1998 titled ‘What Makes a Leader’ highlighted 5 key components to Emotional Intelligence particularly helpful as we look to build or hone our own EQ for greater effectiveness and success:
Self- Awareness: This is the ability to understand your own capabilities, be aware of your triggers and shortcomings, identify your saboteurs and understand the impact of your emotions on those around you. It is also important to do deepen our understanding of the environment around us and manage expectations in that regard.
Self-Regulation: According to the Vedanta philosophy, it is only natural to experience emotions like anger, anxiety, annoyance etc. However, managing those emotions is where the ‘intellect’ comes in. Self-regulation then includes self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness or taking responsibility, adaptability or resilience and innovation.
Self-Motivation: Self-motivation, optimism, commitment and taking initiative is what contributes to long-term professional success. It is important to remain commercially aware, take initiative and rely on one’s own proactivity to accomplish and reach our goals
Empathy: Empathy includes components such as being more human-centred, developing others, being non-judgmental, being open to different perspectives, being sensitive to others needs and wants, and accepting others for who they are. Being empathetic helps develop more meaningful relationships, communicate more effectively and accept different viewpoints.
Social Skills: The development of good interpersonal skills is necessary both in life and in the workplace. Social skills include active listening, influencing, clarity of thought and messaging, conflict management, having difficult conversations, relationship building, team-work and cooperation.
Building our EQ as individuals is a lifelong process that will only contribute to enhancing the quality of our relationships and our lives in all realms.