What are the Pros and Cons?
When EI found its way into the corporate world various studies and reports have analyzed the impact and significance of EI. In the early days most research illustrated highly positive outcome for organizations if they focus on EI in their Talent Acquisition and Development programs. Recent examples such as the Global Empathy Index (2015) from the Lady Geek advocacy agency shows that businesses are more profitable and productive when they act ethically, treat their staff well, and communicate better with their customers. (For more details go to https://hbr.org/2015/11/2015-empathy-index).
But as it is with all tools and methods: “Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy” (quote Paracelsus).
That said, new studies show the potential downside of EI. Reviews of this finds that, in many studies, poor research methodology has exaggerated the significance of EI. A group of Austrian psychologists for example, reported a correlation between EI and narcissism, raising the possibility that narcissists with high EI might use their “charming, interesting, and even seductive” qualities for “malicious purposes,” such as deceiving others. Another study with college students shows, that people with high EI might be more over-credulous due to overconfidence in their ability to read others.
What to take away?
- Creating Awareness around Emotional intelligence has never been easier. There is no lack of information and no shortage of partners who can help you to develop, implement and audit a business model that will support you in getting it right. There are various tools and services (training programs, mentoring & coaching) available that help individuals and organization to measure EI and to develop and increase required skills such as Self-Awareness, Social-Awareness, Self-Management and Relationship-Management.
- To be effective, individuals and especially leaders will need more than ever to be able to influence others through gaining their respect and enlisting their passions. And the more EI skills a leader has at his disposal, the more flexible and seamless he can switch styles depending on the situation and in turn the better the outcome will be. A leadership coaching style is the least utilized but it also may be the most effective style to add to your soft skills portfolio.
- Higher emotional intelligence translates into better performance, especially in jobs that require extensive attention to emotions (this counts for all jobs with social interaction such as sales, marketing, project management and all leadership or management roles).
- There’s a fine line between motivation and manipulation in relation to EI. People could use emotional intelligence for nefarious ends, but more often, emotional skills will be simply instrumental tools for goal accomplishment.
So, don’t wait – start today identifying your EI and creating your strategy to develop. I have started last week and it turns out to be a very interesting and challenging journey…