Better EQ, Better Performance

In January of 2020, EQ had already topped LinkedIn’s Yearly Report on the Top 5 Most Desired Workplace Skills, and this was before workplace and life challenges faced us all when the pandemic struck. Organizational leaders with savvy insight doubled down on EQ making it an organization-wide priority to help give their employees the tools they need to face the unprecedented in a healthy, productive way.

When we connected with Reid Swanson, a certified EQ trainer at a major southern Californian medical center, he shared exactly this sentiment with us: “As we move to virtual trainings,” he said, “I have a smaller budget this year than what I’d budgeted previous years. But especially with everything going remote and with all the disruptions right now, EQ is one of the things that we especially need to keep emphasizing and making available.”

Swanson’s sentiment is one shared by many of our clients, both old and new, and to help show people why this is the case, we wanted to step back and highlight some of the most important ways that training people in EQ skills can benefit individuals, teams, and organizations:

Better EQ, Better You: EQ skills can radically alter your life. High EQ people perform better at work, make considerably more money, are more effective in their relationships, and they literally live happier, healthier lives.

Performance: At TalentSmart, we tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills and found that EQ is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs. Of the millions of people we’ve studied at work, 90% of top performers are high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. High EQ people earn an average of $29,000 more per year than those with a low degree of EQ. The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people across industries, at all levels, in every region of the world.

Quality of life: EQ literally saves people’s lives. Negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and depression weaken the immune system. Because high EQ people more skillfully recognize and understand their own emotions, they’re more likely to recognize negative emotions and potential stressors. And because they are more skilled at managing negative emotions, they have healthy habits in place to deal with their negative feelings. One study looked at tension, fear, and anxiety in women over the course of twenty years and found that those less skilled at managing their emotions experienced higher levels of stress, and over the course of twenty years, they were twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those women more skilled at managing their emotions. EQ skills not only prevent stress-related disease, but they can also increase the speed of recovery from cancer and heart attacks. EQ skills have also been linked to happiness. People high in EQ know how to make the most of their positive emotions by doing things like savoring good moods, practicing gratitude, learning to view failure as an opportunity to grow, not letting small things interfere with big picture happiness, and learning to derive their happiness from within not without.

Better EQ, Better Team: The bulk of work at organizations is done by teams, and teams are made up of people with varying levels of EQ. This can present a problem on teams that don’t successfully work to improve their group’s emotional intelligence—they may stumble on politics, unnecessary bureaucracy, internal and external conflicts, and miscommunications. But, on high EQ teams, performance of the group can become seamless, full of good ideas and innovations, and can easily exceed the capabilities of any one person alone by playing to key strengths and weaknesses.

Team performance: Teams skilled in EQ are more successful at achieving their goals, problem-solving, and completing tasks quickly than less emotionally intelligent teams in healthcare, technology, and engineering professions.

Team dynamic. Because team EQ skills help teams overcome the complexity of interactions on a team level (between individuals, subgroups, and team-to-team communication), it has easily been linked to a number of team-level skills. Some of the most important include the ability to collaborate cross-functionallydevelop in-group trustestablish group cohesion, and manage stress as a team during emotionally charged situations

Better EQ, Better Organization: Building emotional intelligence into the organization from top to bottom gives everyone a universal framework and vocabulary with which to approach work, and it also improves the bottom line.

Organizational performance: In a seminal case study at L’Oreal, salespeople hired for their emotional intelligence outsold their counterparts by about $90,000 per year for an organizational jump in sales of $2.6 million. L’Oreal’s high EQ salespeople were also 63% less likely to leave their job. TalentSmart training programs in EQ have led to a number of organizational improvements including:

  1. A 40% increase in engineers’ ability to deal with change at a Fortune 200 defense contractor.
  2. A 67% improvement in problem employees’ ability to prevent setbacks from influencing their work at a Fortune 50 telecommunications company.
  3. A 93% improvement in leaders’ ability to handle conflict at a Fortune 500 medical center.

Organizational benefits: When it comes to companies that people tend to work at, stay at, and even recommend to friends, we like to attribute this to “company culture” or “intangibles.” In reality, we are often referring to a company’s ability to build an environment of inclusivity and growth from top to bottom. EQ on the organizational level has been shown to help unify people toward a common mission, encourage prosocial behavior and organizational citizenship, and to make employees less resistant to change. These types of organization-wide benefits enable employees to find mentors, learn new skills, feel like a part of something bigger, and forge deeper, long-term relationships at work.

From Insights to Action. To read more about the benefits of EQ, EQ strategies for improvement, and more, go to www.talentsmart.com/. Or, to learn more about emotional intelligence and TalentSmartEQ’s emotional intelligence products and services, contact TalentSmart at 888-818-SMART or visit us at www.talentsmart.com/contact/.

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