Did you know that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) scores predict performance twice as well as IQ scores? EQ is also a better predictor of performance than knowledge, expertise or skill. Higher EQ leaders consistently produce better business results. Studies show that executive EQ scores correlate with increased company profitability as well as improved retention and a better organizational climate. EQ is not just a buzzword, or touchy-feely fluff. It’s increasingly recognized as a core skill-set that is based on science and differentiates world-class organizations from the rest of the pack.
Here are a few concrete examples:
- Sales people with higher EQs at L’Oreal brought in $2.5 million more in sales.
- PepsiCo found that executives selected for EQ generated 10% greater productivity.
- Sheraton increased their market share by 24% through an EQ-based initiative.
- And the U.S. Air Force saved $190 million by using EQ to screen pararescue jumpers.
(Source: Center for Innovative Management, “The Business Case For Emotional Intelligence,” 2010)
The bottom line is that EQ yields bottom-line results. In any situation where people need to connect with others, make complex decisions or lead, EQ is important.
So what, exactly, is EQ? It’s really a constellation of skills that include communication, empathy, self-awareness, understanding and the ability to recognize and regulate your own emotions and the emotions of others.
The good news is the EQ is learnable and measurable as well as necessary. If you’re interested in improving your EQ (and you should be), start with assessing where you are right now. Ask yourself:
- How well do I listen? Not just to the words, but to what’s going on behind the words.
- How well do I communicate? Do I effectively manage not just the content of what I express, but the nonverbal signals conveyed through tone, facial expression and body language.
- How well do I adjust to change? Am I willing to scrap a game plan if it’s not working, or adjust it on the fly, or do I react defensively and/or angrily?
- Can I listen to feedback from others and use it to improve my own performance as well as help the team?
- How trustworthy am I? How patient am I?
This will give you have a sense of where you’re at right now. Improving your EQ will take building insight into yourself as well as into others. Some of these changes can require time and committed effort.
- Start just by asking others for feedback on how they feel you interact with them, both the positives and less-than-positives.
- Seek out ways to help, encourage and show appreciation for others. Compliment with precision and honesty.
- Ask others what they need.
While you’re working on the bigger issues, there are also some easy quick, immediate ways to improve your EQ right here, right now. Smile. Make eye contact. Really listen to what someone is saying. Put away your phone. Learn people’s names and use them.
If want you to succeed in business as well as life, go rock that EQ!