Increasingly, individuals, as well as companies as a collective entity, are becoming more and more aware of the importance of being emotionally intelligent.
Little by little, the discourse of the emotional has permeated society, awakening curious minds and gaining followers. So much so, that companies have begun to reorganise themselves around the importance of dealing with emotions in order to achieve greater benefits.
What only five years ago sounded almost like a joke among managers is now starting to be taken into account and gradually implemented in organisations. The so-called Happiness Departments have appeared, with their Happiness Managers at the head, busy and concerned with providing the best emotional conditions for workers, so that their personal and working well-being is translated into productivity.
No one disputes any longer that being emotionally intelligent provides benefits in all areas of our lives, in our level of satisfaction, success and effectiveness, and that it boosts our cognitive capacity, increasing our learning and our memory.
The equation is transparent: if EI (Emotional Intelligence) deals with human relationships, it is clear that it will influence any aspect of the company. Every decision, plan, product, service, team or customer will be affected by EI or the lack of it.
To make this impact more tangible, we will refer to Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves, co-founders of TalentSmart, who state that “a 1% improvement in a service’s work climate is equivalent to 2% growth in that service’s revenue”. Do the math.
On the contrary, a low mood, frightened workers or arrogant bosses are the cause of devastating effects that are often almost invisible to those not directly involved, but which take a heavy toll. These effects take their toll on the company through decreased productivity, poor communication, increased delivery delays, increased errors, and the drain of talent to more pleasant working environments.
To better lay the foundations, we can say that mastering basic emotional competencies helps us to be in good tune with the emotions of our colleagues, clients and suppliers, to be able to manage differences of opinion by avoiding conflicts, and to have the ability to enter into flow states in our work activity; three clear advantages that provide benefits in personal and professional well-being.
Commanding with the heart
Undoubtedly, much of the work of maintaining and enhancing that positive emotional state in organisations is part of the leader’s responsibilities. Leadership is not synonymous with domination, power or command, but with the ability to influence someone to help achieve common goals.
Leadership ability is not linked to intellectual ability or academic and/or technical preparation. Not even with experience.
A study by Daniel Goleman analysed the competence models of 188 companies, mostly multinationals and public bodies. The aim of the study was to determine which personal capabilities drove exceptional performance in these organizations and to what extent. The conclusions of the study were as follows:
- Intellect was undoubtedly one of the drivers of exceptional performance.
- Cognitive abilities were particularly important
- The proportion of related emotional competencies was twice as high as the intellectual and cognitive ones combined
- The higher the job category (where preparation and intellectual abilities tend to be equated), the greater the relevance for success of emotional competencies.
- 90% of the competencies that distinguished the “star” workers were related to EI competencies.
On the other hand, David McClelland, an American psychologist focused on the study of motivation and professor of Daniel Goleman himself, demonstrated with a study carried out in 1996 in a multinational food and beverage company, that when their top managers had excellent skills in EI, their divisions exceeded the annual performance objectives by around 20%.
From the McClelland studies it can be determined that there are 6 main factors that influence the working climate:
- Flexibility, understood as the freedom that employees feel to innovate without the imposition of bureaucratic procedures.
- Sense of responsibility towards the company, i.e. engagement
- Quality level set by individuals
- Feedback: accurate feedback on performance and suitability for reward.
- Corporate culture: the clarity by which individuals see the company’s Mission and Values.
- Commitment: the level of commitment to the common goal.
The lack of flexibility discourages employees’ motivation by depriving them of creative mental space, thus preventing their expansion. When an employee does not feel that he or she participates in the company’s results, his or her performance tends to be the minimum necessary to comply and remains far from optimal. As a result, the quality level of the tasks does not allow the company to guarantee its competitiveness and the leader, overwhelmed by the lack of results, tends to transform his or her feedback into criticism, without generating the commitment of the employees, either to the company or to the objectives.
Whatever leadership style we exercise as leaders, leading from the heart should be our first commitment to ourselves.
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