The Learning & Development industry has seen many changes arise in the way employers think about soft skills such as leadership, communication, and teamwork. These skills have seen a notable increase in focus among organisations but there is one attribute that is beginning to emerge as the single most important business skill to develop this century: Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
The common misconception that one can distinguish a great leader or valuable employee by their IQ level is changing fast in the business world with 71 percent of employers now focused on hiring and promoting individuals with developed EQ moving forward (1).
So, with a high IQ being the prevalent marker for intelligence for so many years, why the dramatic switch? Many employers have recognised an employees’ ability to harness and manage their emotions as a major contributor to improved performance at work and therefore a skill to hone and develop. Let’s look at 7 reasons emotional intelligence should be a part of every L&D offering.
Emotional intelligence improves communication
Employees with high levels of emotional intelligence make great communicators because of their strong empathy. Emotionally intelligent people are skilled in actively listening and communicating clearly and calmly in stressful or high-pressure situations. Whether communicating with clients, stakeholders, colleagues or management, having emotionally intelligent employees as part of a team is beneficial in many ways for organisations spanning industries. Check out our free eBook What is Emotional Intelligence to learn more.
Emotional intelligence decreases stress and burnout
When managers possess great emotional intelligence, they are more likely to pick up on signals that an employee is overwhelmed or overworked and employees are more likely to feel comfortable approaching them. In the same way, emotionally intelligent employees tend to communicate when work becomes too much before hitting the point of burnout.
EQ builds great leaders
The ability to manage one’s emotions transfers directly to one’s ability to manage people. Leaders should be trained or hired for their EQ rather than their technical ability. Google’s recent research into what makes a great leader revealed a universal skill that truly great leaders all share: emotional intelligence (2). The study revealed that technical expertise paled in comparison to interpersonal skills like EQ, a finding which surprised even Google’s former VP of People Operations (3). Managers’ success is not based on personal performance but rather on the output of the teams they lead. Emotionally intelligent leaders not only effectively govern their own emotions but are also better able to understand and empathise with their team resulting in increased productivity and success.
Learn how to deal skillfully with emotions as a leader with our eBook Emotional Intelligence for Leaders free for a limited time.
EQ helps solve conflicts
Investing in developing the emotional intelligence of an organisation’s employees will also have a direct impact on conflict in the workplace. Because those of us with high EQ foster an increased level of communication than those with underdeveloped emotional intelligence, unconstructive disagreements and heated arguments caused by miscommunication are far less likely to occur. An organisation made up of highly emotionally intelligent colleagues tends to nurture a culture of compromise and open discussion.
Check out our eBook Dealing with Conflict and Complaints for more.
Collaboration and teamwork
Because emotionally intelligent employees tend to listen to opposing viewpoints rather than lashing out, brainstorming and group collaboration often come naturally to them. Effective communication fosters a positive working relationship which means teamwork and collaborative projects tend to be more successful. When employees feel their opinions are valued by their colleagues and management, they are more likely to offer a new and innovative solution to a problem.
Emotional intelligence improves customer relations
Whether in a sales or customer satisfaction role, the ability to empathise and relate to a client on a genuine level requires a highly developed level of emotional intelligence. Employees with high EQ tend to make customers feel respected and valued causing customer satisfaction rates to increase (4).
EQ increases profitability and productivity
According to a study from The University of New South Wales, one of the factors that lead to the greatest impact on organizational profitability and productivity was emotional intelligence. This means that investing in the tools that develop the EQ of employees and managers will have a direct impact on the financial success of a business (5)
As we begin to move forward into the new world of work, an employee’s ability to manage and understand their own emotions as well as those of the colleagues, clients, and managers they interact with will only increase in importance to employers and hiring managers. The good news is that EQ is not something you’re either born with or lack forever, but rather a set of competencies that can be developed with the right soft skills training. That’s why we’re offering our eBook Emotional Intelligence Secrets for free for a limited time.