The Business Case for Developing Emotional Intelligence

by Bill Swift on December 9, 2019

in Leadership,Training


Does your workplace see empathy and sensitivity as a strength or a weakness? Our experience is that workplaces send clear messages, intentionally or unintentionally, about the importance of developing these skills. Whatever your employee handbook says, there are day-to-day clues on the value your work culture places on Emotional Intelligence. Hopefully you are in a place where these skills are emphasized because there is clear evidence that emotionally intelligent workplaces outperform the competition.

“Data analysis of the characteristics of effective senior managers revealed Emotional Intelligence as being twice as important as Cognitive Skills, Technical Skills and IQ.” –Goleman

Over the years, Cascade Employers Association members have regularly requested training and coaching for their supervisors and managers on Emotional Intelligence. The focus seems so be on improving the performance review or coaching moments that supervisors inevitably are asked to manage.

Driving the request for training are concerns that many supervisors lack the skills to establish and maintain a positive working relationship. “We just want them to communicate better,” is a common remark.

This Emotional Intelligence stuff is rarely taught in school or in workplace orientation, so we can understand how supervisors may be caught “flat-footed” when they are asked to handle some complex employee interactions.

Emotional Intelligence skills are particularly important when we are:

  • Giving and receiving feedback/conducting performance reviews
  • Meeting tight deadlines
  • Dealing with challenging relationships
  • Not having enough resources
  • Dealing with change
  • Dealing with setbacks and failure

It is important to distinguish Emotional Intelligence practices from simply being nice. And, even though Emotional Intelligence may improve with age, it is not simply “maturity”. Emotional Intelligence is a set of skills that has the greatest impact on sustainable success with teams and teambuilding in any organization. According to research by Daniel Goleman and his colleagues: “Data analysis of the characteristics of effective senior managers revealed Emotional Intelligence as being twice as important as Cognitive Skills, Technical Skills and IQ.” Turns out this phenomenon is particularly true and important at the higher levels of any organization.

The 5 components of Emotional Intelligence that we explore with managers are:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Regulation/Self-Management
  • Empathy
  • Motivation
  • Social Skills

You can see that these are overlapping and complement each other. A supervisor needs to know what they are good at and how they come across to coworkers (self-awareness) to be able to consider how to improve Motivation for themselves and for their team. It is also critical that these supervisors practice great social skills (listening, for instance) to be able to connect empathetically with any team. And effective supervision is also characterized by the ability to regulate emotional reactions and invite others into productive relating.

We are often asked, “Can these skills really be taught? Aren’t we either born with them or not?” While some may walk into the workplace with more skills than others, without a doubt, supervisors can develop these skills. Core to the successful development of Emotional Intelligence is a desire to do just that, develop the skills. And this is where our training and coaching has focused: Allowing supervisors to gain some improved awareness of their skill set and setting up opportunities for ongoing support of day-to-day practice of these vital skills.

Please come join us at one of our Emotional Intelligence Skill-Building sessions:
January 14 in Salem, January 23 in Eugene or January 28 in Tualatin.

Sneak a peek at this training here.

Even the most effective supervisors can benefit from a review of Emotional Intelligence fundamentals. My professional coach colleagues suggest that we give all leaders a chance to self-assess, a chance to find mentors, opportunities to participate in classes, connection to Emotional Intelligence resources, and space to practice all these skills (which includes a chance to make mistakes).

If you have Emotional Intelligence success stories or challenges you have faced, please connect with us and let us know what is going on in the world of Emotional Intelligence.

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