Emotional Intelligence & Leadership
“A leader’s intelligence has to have a strong emotional component. He has to have high levels of self-awareness, maturity and self-control. She must be able to withstand the heat, handle setbacks and when those lucky moments arise, enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility. No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.” Jack Welch
Daniel Goleman, author of the groundbreaking 1995 book “Emotional Intelligence,” defined EQ as “[t]he capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” The 1998 Harvard Business Review article on emotional intelligence is their most popular piece of all time, and since then legions have written about emotionally intelligent teams, emotionally intelligent organizations, and leaders who drive organization performance through EQ.
The reason is clear. High emotional intelligence, as opposed to traditional IQ “intelligence,” strongly correlates with success in leadership. And unlike IQ, which is static, EQ is malleable and can be trained, which is why it is a focus in many of the services we offer.
Emotional Intelligence Case Studies
In a 1997 study, research in 15 global companies showed that 90% of success in leadership was attributed to emotional intelligence, and specifically, the factors of teambuilding, influence, organizational awareness, self-confidence, inspiring leadership, and having a high achievement drive. (Spencer). The results were even more striking in comparing the emotional competence inventory of software programmers, where those who scored in the top 10% of emotional intelligence exceeded average performers in effective software production by 1272%.
The correlation also held for the sales function, where the Hallmark Communities sales staff who developed emotional intelligence were 25% more productive than their low EQ counterparts and EQ was more important to executive job performance than character, strategic thinking, and focus on results. (Bradberry, 2003).
A Multinational Consulting Firm measured the EQ of senior partners on emotional intelligence competencies. Partners high in EQ were responsible for $1.2 million more profit each in their clients than low EQ partners. (Boyatzis, 1999).
AT&T participated in a large, cross-industry study that found increased emotional intelligence in all levels of management from line supervisors through senior executives. As measured through the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal®, high EQ leaders accounted for 20% more productivity than low EQ leaders. Ninety-one percent of top performers were high in EQ, while only 26% of low performers were high in EQ. Emotional intelligence explained nearly 60% of job performance across companies in the study (Bradberry, 2002).
Coca-Cola saw division leaders who developed EQ competencies outperform their targets by more than 15%, while division leaders who didn’t develop their EQ missed targets by the same margin (McClelland, 1999).
Emotional intelligence also aids in employee selection.The United States Air Force reduced annual recruiter turnover from 35% to 5% by screening for high emotional intelligence, delivering total cost savings of $3 million per year on a $10,000 investment (GAO Archive).
L’ Oreal realized a $91,370 increase per head for salespeople selected for EQ skills. In addition to improved performance, the group also had 63% less turnover than sales staff who not part of the EQ selection program (Cherniss, 2003).