You might know a few individuals who are successful high-achievers and are great to work with though you’re certain that they would not score much more than an above-average (at most) on any common IQ test. Moreover, these people might not even have very impressive educational records. However, you might also know a few who are straight-out “geniuses” with impeccable educational qualifications but are not majorly successful as either leaders or followers. These individuals might have trouble fitting in, conforming to team rules and often have to struggle with social awkwardness. In otherwise, no matter how high their IQ score is, they score low on EQ or emotional quotient.
So, clearly intelligence, or rather a high IQ score is not as obvious a precursor to success as it was thought to be. While you do need intelligent people at work who are able to learn fast, adapt to change easily and resolve problems effectively, that is not all you need. What any organization can truly benefit from is an emotionally intelligent workforce. Let’s peek into the basic steps that will help you build an emotionally intelligent organization.
- Watch before you leap: Before you actually start thinking of ways to improve your organization’s emotional quotient, take some time to gauge your present position. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis will help you assess what needs to change and how willing individuals and groups within the organization are to change. Since your aim is to improve emotional intelligence throughout the organization, the motivation and readiness to change needs to seep into every functional level.
- High EQ recruitment: Your hiring process works as a great control as it can manage the influx of the right people for your organization. Instead of looking at only educational qualifications and indicators of a high-functioning intellect, the hiring process needs to be tweaked to look for indicators of emotional intelligence like self-awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, listening skills and empathy. By recruiting individuals high on EQ, you’re basically increasing the cumulative emotional intelligence of your workforce. Besides, employees with high EI (emotional intelligence) are usually good leaders who tend to motivate and influence others around them to develop the same skills.
- Training: Though emotional intelligence seems like something you’re born with, it is in reality made up of factors that can be developed through training. Unlike your IQ score which cannot be changed much after your teenage years, your EQ score can actually be improved a lot. Incorporating role play, simulations and other active learning methods into the EI training programme helps. Besides reinforcing positive behavioural changes, frequent feedback is a necessity for a successful training endeavour.
- A culture of EI: Positive behaviour picked up due to training has to be transferred onto the work setting. Without effective transfer and maintenance, the point of the training is lost. Employees need to be able to apply their new skills on the job and this requires a culture that encourages the same. Ongoing processes of self-monitoring, mentoring and coaching will aid the new emotionally intelligent culture to prevail.
Building an emotionally intelligent organization is hard work because it involves changing embedded behaviour patterns that the organization has become comfortable with. However, by getting the right people on-board, a little motivation, the will and the courage to change, your organization does have a great shot at improving its EQ!