In the first part of this article “EQ Deja-Vu” I made a case that there is enough evidence and research out there to demonstrate that there is a high correlation between one’s EQ and success, and likewise a leader’s EQ and his organizations success, but there still remain very few corporations that have invested in EQ based solutions for their businesses or themselves.

Why is this?

Here’s a collection of potential reasons with some counter arguments. I hereby throw them out there into the blogosphere in the interests of healthy discussion and constructive challenge knowing full well that they stink of generalization.

1)  The term Emotional Intelligence is an issue. If you score low in something graded intelligence then convention would have you believe you are NOT intelligent. A less self-assured leader might be discouraged from investing in an initiative that could potentially rate him as emotionally stupid, particularly if there is the potential comparison of results with peers or reports.

 Then there’s the negative connotation with the adjective emotional. The etymology of the word emotion appears to come from the Old French “emouvoir” – to stir up. I love that! “Stir-up”, that’s exactly how it feels.  I was certainly raised and educated to believe there was no place for emotion in school or in the workplace. After all, they, especially the less positive ones are bad, right? WRONG! Emotions are merely messages. We all have them.  However, we might not be smart with what we do with them.
egg message

2)   Emotional Intelligence, incorrectly in my opinion, often gets labeled as soft skills. We all know that soft is a not a very helpful word in this context. Management attitude towards soft skills means that it gets delegated to HR to deal with. “Yes that’s necessary but it’s not “hard” (important) enough for us to deal with at a leadership level.” .

3)   HR has largely become a process orientated function within most businesses and people development has become a series of procedural implementations.  Resource (People) + Process (Training) = OUTPUT (BEHAVIOUR). It’s an unfortunate thing that a large number of Human Resources professionals have come to accept this as being their lot in life. They started out with good intentions believing that this would be a people orientated career. It should be! It can be! So come on my HR friends take responsibility for your workplace climate. There are already case studies strongly correlating EQ to the level of engagement in businesses and YOU should be the leading advocates for engaged cultures that encourage employees sense of self.

4)   The fact that emotions, or the feelings associated with them are a subjective experience, in other words PERSONAL, makes it somehow difficult for people and companies to put that into a workplace context. However, if we consider that emotions and feelings are a constant and considerable part of all of us, then both individually and collectively they must impact our performance.  We know that emotions occur in conjunction with thoughts, which in turn drive actions through decision-making. So the understanding of where your emotions come from, giving those emotions meaningful labels, and recognizing patterns or habits arising from them is a pretty critical and foundational piece of self-awareness to acquire if you want to be a successful leader, manager or entrepreneur. In short it is never the hard skill that makes the decision it’s the subjective interpretation that does.

5)  There’s a misperception that results related to investments in raising EQ in organizations are not measurable to the bottom line. In fact a carefully constructed EQ program can be just as measurable as any other investment a business may make even one that might be as tangible as ROI on traditional Assets or New product initiatives.

6)   The economic crisis seems to be a reason spouted for all sorts of curtailment of expenditure. The reality is that cost-cutting and sitting out this one is not really a strategy that’s going to succeed long-term. It seems to me it would be a far better solution to ensure the costs that you are left with are “engaged” in your business.

The latest eggcount reductions received mixed emotions.

The latest cuts in eggcount were met with mixed emotions.

7)   In my opinion one of the biggest hurdles to further adoption in corporations is the question of how to move from EQ as a single person psychometric based self-graded test to the institutionalization of EQ within an organizations climate and ultimately its culture. The range of available products is limited and the majority struggle to bridge that chasm created by the modern workplaces suppression of individuality and the complex personal nature of emotions embroiled as they are within their own unique belief systems and habitual behaviours. 

Good tools are translated from simple effective models but grounded in scientific research. They address the situational needs of an organization while supporting the creation of a workplace climate built on trust and emotional intelligence. The Six Seconds Vital Signs tools are a good starting point for such an initiative.

When a climate provides motivation, innovation, collaboration, open communication and accountability all within a trusting environment then magic happens!