In its simplest definition, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the capacity of being socially and self-aware. The theory states the more able we are to understand and manage our emotions as well as understand those of others, not only do we develop stronger relationships, but we achieve better results from our actions. Take this free abridged EI test and receive a mini report on your emotional strengths.
My reason for beginning this blog with an EI definition is because more organizations are recruiting all levels of employees (front line to CEOs) based on such qualities. Why? Because most human resource personnel would agree it is easier and takes less time to train a new employee on technical or task-related skills than on self-awareness, emotional maturity and relationship building skills. As always, employers are looking for a return on their hiring investment. I suspect this trend is a backlash to two realities we currently face –
1. Research states that mental illness is the #1 cause of workplace disability world-wide (Canadian stats are 14% of net annual profits to the tune of $16 B annually).
2. Fraudulent and greedy motives by senior organizational leaders, as exposed in the media over the past decade.
These two realities reflect the need for each of us to lead in our own lives by taking responsibility for our emotional and social development and maturity. Needless to say I was heartened when Tom Feeney, CEO, Safelite Group, wrote the following words –
“I share examples of things I’ve done well and things I haven’t done well,” Feeney says. “So when I get a performance review or a 360 feedback or I participate in the same leadership development tools that we provide for all our management, I share my results. I put them right out there so people can see, ‘Holy crap, he ain’t perfect.’ I’m far from perfect. I’m on the same leadership journey of the leaders in our company.”
As Tom so succinctly put it and as I counsel my own clients, when you go through a cultural transformation in your company, every employee must go through her/his own personal transformation. Without that commitment from everyone, including the external consultant, organizational transformation will at best emerge as a ‘puny’ intervention — not a very rewarding return on investment.
What personal change can you commit to that will benefit not only you but those in your workplace as well?