EQ Leadership Research: The Numbers Don’t Lie
Way back in 1995, the Soup Nazi made his first appearance on Seinfeld, we flocked to the movies to see Toy Story, Jerry Garcia’s sudden death left a gaping hole in the hearts of Grateful Dead fans, and Daniel Goleman introduced us to the term “emotional intelligence” (EQ) with his seminal book of the same name.
Twenty years later, we still talk about all of the above, but I would argue that EQ has risen above the rest in terms of sheer impact it has on all of us, every day, in the workplace. If you think that’s hyperbole, let’s dive into the results of EQ leadership research, which has uncovered some rather profound insights.
High EQ is directly linked with measurable business results
In 1998, Goleman published the results of EQ research he conducted at nearly 200 large, global companies. He found that successful leaders embody two different sets of qualities:
- Traditional leadership skills, including intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision
- High EQ, including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill
More importantly, he found that traditional leadership skills alone are insufficient for success:
- High EQ is directly linked with measurable business results
- EQ is twice as important as technical skills and cognitive abilities for job at all levels
- 90% of the difference between star performers and average leaders was due to EQ
Goleman cites the work of the late David McClelland, a renowned researcher in human and organizational behavior, who found amazing differences among the success of divisions in a global food and beverage company – all due to levels of EQ. The divisions led by senior managers with high EQ outperformed yearly earnings goals by 20%, while division leaders with lower EQ underperformed by almost the same amount.
EQ development programs work
When FedEx Express integrated EQ assessment and development into a six-month process for new managers world-wide, they saw an 8-11% increase in core leadership competencies, with 72% of the program participants experiencing very large increases in decision making; 60% in quality of life, and 58% in influence. (You can read more about the program and its outcomes in this case study.)
Women have an edge when it comes to EQ
A big global research study on EQ, gender and job level found that the greatest single gender gap is in a competency called “Apply Consequential Thinking,” which means stopping and thinking about the consequences of your actions before you do anything. On average, women scored 4.5% higher than men.
Women also scored higher on the two self-awareness competencies:
- “Enhance Emotional Literacy,” which means identifying and understanding feelings.
- “Recognize Patterns,” which means acknowledging frequently recurring reactions.
After reading all of those amazing statistics, you are probably eager to raise your levels of EQ as much as possible. Here’s your homework:
Pick one area of EQ that Goleman identified – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill – and work on improving it over the next month (each is detailed in this article). In six months, look at your business results. Have they increased? Why? If you want to take and EQ assessment to learn more about yourself and your EQ give us a call. Joan 703-434-3990.
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