Emotional Intelligence (EQ): What Is It? Why Do Managers Need It?

 

Emotional Intelligence, 2015

 

What characteristics / attributes are needed to create effective managers? Are enthusiasm, organization, charisma, active listening, and critical thinking included? How much do we weigh the importance of one’s emotional intelligence / emotional quotient (EQ) in this equation? I hope a lot because emotional intelligence has actually been proven to be a very important ingredient in the managerial recipe for success. According to Peter W. Cardon (2016) in Business Communication: Developing Leaders For a Networked World, “Emotional intelligence involves understanding emotions, managing emotions to serve goals, empathizing with others and effectively handling relationships with others” (30). In this article by Travis Bradberry (2014) entitled Emotional Intelligence- EQ, he stated that emotional intelligence “…affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results” (p. 1). Additionally, Cardon (2016) explained, “Business managers with high emotional intelligence are more effective at influencing others, overcoming conflict, showing leadership, collaborating in teams and managing change” (30).  In this way, emotional intelligence is a very valuable concept for managers and prospective managers to grasp in order to truly excel, hence; why it is being discussed in this blog post. Therefore, this post will explain the different components of emotional intelligence, the benefits of emotional intelligence for managers and also provide a realistic example that conveys the benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace.

What are the different components of emotional intelligence? 

Self awareness, self management, empathy and relationship management are the four components of emotional intelligence. Self awareness involves a person correctly being aware of his / her emotions as situations occur and understanding how these emotions affect him / her (Cardon, 2016, p. 31). Self management involves using awareness of your emotions to manage them effectively (Cardon, 2016, p. 31). Self awareness and self management are closely aligned because individuals can’t manage their emotions if they aren’t aware of their emotions and how these emotions affect them.

For example, if a manager is very stressed because his highest performing salesman lost a big client and this manager has high self awareness, he will be aware that he has become angry. If this same manager has high self management, he will use this awareness and better be able to manager his emotions and behaviors so that they align with job and organizational goals, such as discussing ways to solve the problem of losing the client, instead of lashing out at the salesman in an aggressive and barbaric way (emotional hijacking- letting one’s emotions take the wheel and control one’s behavior) (Cardon, 2016, p. 31).

Similar to self awareness and self management, empathy and relationship management are closely aligned as well. Empathy involves correctly understanding the emotions of others (Cardon, 2016, p. 35). Relationship management involves using your awareness of others’ emotions to manage interactions (Cardon, 2016, p. 48).

For example, a manager who has a lot of empathy may have observed that this same high performing salesman was frowning before his shift began, and understands that this salesman is very sad. Then, after losing a big client, the manager notices that this same salesperson is even sadder than before he started his shift. With knowledge of this, the manager can effectively manage interactions with the salesperson to help solve the problem (instead of simply yelling at him), show concern and care for the employee and motivate him to continue to work to his fullest potential.

What are the benefits of having emotional intelligence?

There are many benefits to having emotional intelligence, but there are a few that I wanted to specifically discuss. Here’s a great link in which Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network discusses why emotional intelligence is valuable as well.

One benefit of emotional intelligence includes the ability to communicate clearly. Those that are emotionally intelligent usually can manage their emotions and how these emotions affect behavior, while others may let their emotions control their behavior and end up saying something they don’t mean (Cardon, 2016, p. 31). Going back to the same example with the salesperson who lost the client, an emotionally intelligent manager who is upset by this, will be less likely to lash out at the employee and call him a “stupid idiot” because he is able to manage his emotions and how they influence his behavior (a manager who lacks emotional intelligence may do this though).

Another benefit of having emotional intelligence is that it allows managers to think and reason effectively (Cardon, 2016, p. 30). When managers are able to understand their emotions, manage their emotions and understand the emotions of their employees, they can reason what decisions are best in specific situations. For example, if a manager is aware that employees feel angry when they receive performance evaluations from managers solely, that manager can implement self and co-worker evaluations as well to satisfy employees while also meeting the needs of the organization.

Likewise, emotional intelligence allows managers to effectively motivate employees to reach goals (Cardon, 2016 p. 30). For example, if a manager is aware that her employees express negative emotions regarding the recent change in an organization structure of the company (such as company expansion) because employees are so much more distant at work and are unmotivated and unsatisfied as a result, this manager could implement events where all employees get to network as long as employees complete their tasks in a timely manner based off of performance expectations. In this way, this would motivate employees while also satisfying them and eliminating the negative emotions that occurred from organizational expansion.

Still not convinced? Here’s another video by the Harvard Business Review that demonstrates the importance / benefits of emotionally intelligence in regard to leadership.

A real life example?

Does emotional intelligence really benefit managers? Aside from what textbooks say, are there any real examples proving this? Yes! Here’s a useful link that discusses the effects of emotional intelligence for managers in regard to performance in the Amadori Case.

Not only is Amadori a leading poultry supplier to McDonalds locations in Europe, but a dominant force in the Italian agro-food industry; quite known for its meat processing. In order to remain successful as a company, Amadori is constantly improving its business through innovation (Fariselli, Lorenzo, Freedman, Joshua,  Ghini, Massimiliano, Barnabè, Fabio  & Paci, Erika , 2013, para. 5).

In 2008, after careful evaluation by the Human Resources team, they determined that emotional intelligence should be a component of leadership within the organization and decided to create “The Amadori Academy” to implement this training. One important goal that the leadership team set was for managers to direct and assist employees with their development (Fariselli et al., 2013, para. 7 & 8).

Then, Amadori collaborated with Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network, in 2009 in order to help managers become more emotionally intelligent so that managers would be prepared to lead the new organizational structure being implemented (Fariselli et al., 2013, para. 9).

Similar to what recently we discussed, the Amadori used the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment (SEI) to test for emotional intelligence. The assessment included self awareness which means being aware of one’s emotions, self management which means being able to manage emotions, and self direction which included empathy (Fariselli et al., 2013, para. 10).

Results from training demonstrated that emotional intelligence positively affects managerial performance.

“The managers in the top 25% of EQ scored higher on the company’s performance management system” (Fariselli et al., 2013, p. 1).

Performance Management Chart, 2013

 

A linear regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between emotional intelligence and performance (Fariselli et al., 2013, p. 1).  “EQ scores predict 47% of the variation in managers’ performance results” (Fariselli et al., 2013, p. 1)

amadori-q1-t1

EQ and Results Chart, 2013

 

Similarly, Talent Smart, a product and service provider that tests for emotional intelligence, found a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and performance.  “TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs” (Bradberry, 2014, p. 1).

The bottom line is that emotional intelligence is an integral part of a manager’s success. Managers need to understand their emotions, others emotions and also be able to manage one’s emotions to excel. Not only does emotional intelligence improve one’s communication skills, but it also improves one’s ability to motivate employees, think strategically and perform well. Many companies should adopt similar practices to Amadori by making emotional intelligence a priority in order to establish or maintain a competitive advantage.

References

Bradberry T. (2014, January 9). Emotional Intelligence – EQ. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2014/01/09/emotional-intelligence/#6785e5943ecb

Cardon, P.W. (2016). Business Communication: Developing Leaders For a Networked World. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Emotional Intelligence – What Is It and Why It Matters: Podcast. [online image]. (2015). Retrieved from https://blog.jfcstaffing.com/2015/05/29/emotional-intelligence-what-it-is-and-why-it-matters-podcast/

Fariselli, L., Freedman, J.,  Ghini, M., Barnabè, F.  & Paci, E. (2013, April 3). The Amadori Case: Supplying McDonalds – Organizational Engagement, Emotional Intelligence and Performance. Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network. Retrieved from http://www.6seconds.org/2013/04/03/amadori-case-engagement-emotional-intelligence/

[Harvard Business Review]. (2008, August 11). Social Intelligence and Leadership. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qv0o1oh9f4

[Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network]. (2014, May 23). What is the Value of Emotional Intelligence in Business? [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4lJqCjo70o