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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Smart Organization - Part 2 of 2

Ten key concepts for High EI
Part 1 of this article set forth the argument that “emotional intelligence” (EI) is the key to creating a smart organization. Since EI enhances individual performance, it also leads to increased organizational performance. In Part 2 of this article, I will outline some specific actions that every organization can take for transforming the company through emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is linked to abilities that involve skill in managing the emotions in oneself and others and are predictive of superior performance in work roles. Research during the last twenty-five years has consistently pointed to a set of competencies such as Self Confidence, Initiatives and Teamwork, for example – that make a significant difference to the performance of individuals and organizations.” - The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace , Edited by Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman

In its simplest form, the fastest and easiest approach to building a smart organization is to hire people who possess strong emotional competencies; i.e. people who clearly demonstrate self initiative, self motivation, team leadership, self management, and other great people skills. Therefore, we can start by making sure the hiring practices of the organization take into account emotional characteristics of the job applicant. Second, an employee's performance review should recognize those emotional attributes important to job success. Third, employees need to receive training in EI. Few, if any educational programs (including MBA programs) provide training in the field of emotional development.

Training should teach people how to become more adoptive, how to take initiative, how to resolve conflicts, and how to do your own self-assessments. For example, self assessments (which leads to self awareness) shows employees what their good at and what their not good at. Tests such as the Myers-Briggs Test are good tools for raising self-awareness. The 360 Degree Evaluation Process is also another good self-assessment process.

One misconception of EI is that some factors are more important than others. This is not true! People are different and jobs are different. Therefore, each person and each job will have its own unique set of emotional competencies:
Sales Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .General Management
Self Confident . . . . . . . . . . . . Self Managed / Achiever
Self Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Builds Trust & Respect
Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Communication
Social Empathy . . . . . . . . . . . .Social Empathy
Influence Others . . . . . . . . . . . Awareness – Organization, People, Culture
Builds Relationships . . . . . . . . .Conflict Resolution

“Applications of emotional intelligence in the workplace are almost infinite. Emotional intelligence is instrumental in resolving a sticky problem with a co-worker, closing a deal with a difficult customer, criticizing your boss, staying on top of a task until it is completed, and in many other challenges affecting your success.” – Emotional Intelligence at Work by Hendrie Weisinger, PhD

Finally, in her book The Emotional Intelligence Activity Book , Adele B. Lynn outlines ten steps every organization can follow for improving emotional intelligence:

•  EI should be used in all interactions with employees.
•  Give employees the power of self-assessments.
•  Help employees identify their behaviors – which behaviors help them and which hurt them.
•  Show employees how to change by setting objectives for improving destructive beliefs and behavior.
•  Expose employees to alternative thinking for adoptability.
•  Challenge employees to create new belief systems that not only improve their own performance, but the performance of others.
•  Encourage and reinforce the use of acceptable behaviors on the job.
•  Give positive feedback to employees when they improve their EI.
•  Measure the results in performance evaluations and other HR practices. Also share the results with the employee.
•  Practice what you preach – management must set a good example for EI if you expect others to follow.

“Emotion is present in the workplace. Everyday. Everywhere. Emotion is energy. Learning to harness this energy and use it to impact the reasoning side of the business in a positive way is one of the great untapped resources yet to be conquered.” - The Emotional Intelligence Activity Book by Adele B. Lynn

In conclusion, smart organizations are those organizations that hire, evaluate, and train their workforce around emotional intelligence. These smart organizations integrate EI into how people are managed. These organizations also leverage traditional IQ against EI, building real power behind business performance. There should be little doubt – emotional intelligence is fast becoming one of the most critical core competencies for every organization.

“We are in the beginning stages of what many authorities believe will be the next revolution in business. By design, no blood will be shed in this sweeping transformation from old to new, just a host of preconceived notions.” - Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations by Robert K. Cooper and Ayman Sawaf

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