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Working with Emotional Intelligence

Posted: 6th January 2015

Thrive in Scotland LogoThe rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yardstick; not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other. This yardstick is increasingly applied in choosing who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who retrained, who passed over and who promoted. Daniel Goleman:  Working with Emotional Intelligence

In today’s highly competitive world it is not necessarily the people that have the best academic qualifications that are the most successful. The people who are more resilient, who feel in control of themselves, who demonstrate self- efficacy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills will allow the company to thrive. Studies show that not only are these types of people more productive, they are also physically and psychologically healthier.

Companies are becoming more proactive at addressing the wellbeing of their staff. Ill health costs UK employers an estimated £26bn a year in sickness absence, reduced productivity and recruitment costs according to the City Mental Health Alliance.

Having an emotionally intelligent (EI) work force, be it a CEO or the apprentice, will help to create a sense of corporate wellbeing. It is also the smart thing to do in business terms.

“For every job the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not IQ.

It’s learning ability,” Laszlo Block, Head of People Operations, told The New York Times. “It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.”

More employers are finding EI (EQ) to be a good predictor of future job performance and leadership ability. EQ tells employers whether you can work collaboratively, the depth of your communication skills, your leadership potential, and even how well you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes. In fact, researches from Talent Smart shows 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotional reactions.

Another study, this one from Virginia Commonwealth University (USA) and published in the Journal of Organisational Behaviour, found emotionally intelligent people also tended to make the best workers.

Last year the head of Google’s HR department – dubbed its “people operations” division – suggested that traditional interview scores and college grades were worthless when it came to predicting how potential employees would perform in their jobs.  In fact Google have binned their brain teaser interview questions.

The great thing to know is that it is never too late to acquire EI. It can be learnt in a relatively short space of time, be it one to one or in small group sessions. It is not only large companies that are now focussing on corporate wellbeing; SMEs also are now reaping the rewards of an emotionally intelligent workforce.

Andrew Farquharson:

Thrive Programme Consultant and Trainer:

Thrive in Scotland

Rules for Work

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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