Emotional Intelligence:  The Real Key to Success

Scott Warrick is an Employment/Labor attorney, human resource professional and a professional speaker.

How important is Emotional Intelligence to your organization’s success? No other program you will ever adopt in your organization will have as much impact if you are trying to do them with emotional children. The studies in this area are overwhelmingly clear in saying that nothing good happens in your organization if you cannot act like the bigger person!

As we progress in our careers, the ability to grow our emotional intelligence so we can use our Verbal Jeet Skills (EPR = Empathic Listening, Parroting, and “Rewards”) to resolve conflict and build trust with others becomes more and more critical:

Technical expertise helps you get your job. However, it is your level of emotional intelligence that makes you a “star performer.” Being able to build relationships and work with others makes you a success and gets you promoted, not your technical skills.   IQ contributes only 4–10 percent toward a leader’s success. The higher someone rises in an organization or in a career, the more impact that person’s emotional intelligence has on determining success. Oftentimes, one’s level of emotional intelligence will contribute as much as 90 percent of a person’s success.

In short, if you cannot act like the bigger person, game over.

SCOTT WARRICK

One study of more than 300 top-level executives from 15 global companies showed that high emotional intelligence skills was the factor that separated top performers from average ones.

In another study, divisional leaders who demonstrated high levels of emotional intelligence surpassed their revenue targets by a margin of 15–20 percent. However, those who had lower levels of emotional intelligence underperformed compared to their peers by almost 20 percent.     

At MetLife, sales agents who scored low in emotional intelligence sold an average of $54,000 in product each year.  Alternatively, those sales agents who scored high in emotional intelligence had an annual sales average of $114,000.     

A large beverage firm used its standard hiring methods to select division- al presidents, which did not assess the applicant’s emotional intelligence abilities. 50 percent of those applicants who were hired left the company within the first two years and mostly because of poor performance. The loss from these hiring mistakes cost the company an estimated $4 million. When the company started selecting divisional presidents based on their level of emotional intelligence, only 6 percent left in their first two years.     

Research conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership has found that the primary reason executives fail in their careers is due to a lack of emotional intelligence.  The three primary causes for this failure are their inability to handle change, not being able to work well on a team, and their poor interpersonal relations with others.      

In short, success is emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence Is NOT a “New” Program

Implementing emotional intelligence throughout your organization or into your lifestyle does not mean that you are simply following a fad diet or a new flavor of the month. Instead, building the emotional intelligence of your people allows you to do what you are already doing better. Emotional intelligence teaches you how to conduct yourself like an emotionally mature person, which means you are better able to remain in control of your ego and emotions, work cooperatively with other people, and build relationships with others. It is a lifestyle that gives you more control over your own well-being. If this does not happen, then nothing works. You simply cannot implement successful programs with emotional children.

For example, I once had a client who worked in human resources. She wanted to implement a new emotional intelligence program in her organization but wanted to wait until after negotiations with the union were completed. I stopped for a minute, then asked her, “Why? Do you want your negotiations to be as difficult as possible?”

I asked her the following questions:

  • How productive do you think your negotiations are going to be if you have emotional children on your team?
  • Don’t you want them to keep their cool during negotiations?
  • Shouldn’t they listen more than they talk?
  • Do you want them to make logical decisions or emotional ones?
  • Don’t you want to build trust amongst the members of your negotiating team?
  • Don’t you want your negotiating team to understand people on the other side—both their behaviors and their motives?

Again, becoming an emotionally intelligent communicator improves upon everything you are already doing. Unfortunately, she was trying to implement all of her programs with emotional three-year-olds on her team, which will not end well.

I often talk to managers and CEOs who are desperately trying to find ways to make their various programs become more successful.  They examine and re-examine how their program was designed and how it was implemented. All too often, the flaw was not in the design of the program, nor was it in the plan’s implementation.  They simply tried to implement a good plan with emotional children who were incapable of handling it.

Whenever I encounter these situations, I ask the CEO if the company wants:

  • to build a good team?
  • higher quality, higher production, and lower waste?
  • better customer service?
  • better relationships between management and labor?
  • to be better equipped to defuse situations rather than escalate them?
  • lower turnover?
  • to reduce its chance of workplace violence?
  • to prevent illegal harassment and EEO claims?

In short, none of your programs will work if you try implementing them with emotional children. Most anyone who has spent any time in the real world has worked with “toddlers” who ruin everything for everybody.  They understand how destructive these bullies can be to anyone who has ever encountered them. In short, if you cannot act like the bigger person, game over. Nothing good will happen.

The above excerpt comes from Chapter 4 of Scott Warrick’s new book, “How to Solve Employee Problems Before They Begin: Resolving Conflict in the Real World.” 

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