Going “Digital” Requires Emotional Intelligence
Who doesn’t want a digitally savvy Corporate Family®, especially as everything from electronic communication to remote and hybrid professional environments are now commonplace for organizations around the world? Yet while technology is a 21st century reality, going digital hasn’t simplified many of our workplace dilemmas. According to one study, about half of remote workers feel that interacting with others is far more challenging while working from home. That lack of connection directly impacts “productivity, employees’ sense of belonging and overall work satisfaction” (https://slack.com/blog/collaboration/report-remote-work-during-coronavirus ). Even employees who have returned to the workplace post-COVID express concern about interpersonal connections, as we detail in a LEADon® blog entitled Reuniting Your Corporate Family®, Part II.
Despite these concerns, there are tangible solutions for leaders who want to bridge the widening gap that physical distance and digital disconnects have created in their organizations. One essential strategy that LEADon® recommends is investing in the development of your team members’ emotional intelligence (EQ). Unlike IQ, EQ skills are malleable—that is, they can be improved upon over time with intentional effort. This is great news for employees and employers alike since focusing on the twenty-five characteristics that comprise EQ can improve personal and professional performance, which in turn positively impact productivity and profitability.
The team at LEADon® has stressed the critical nature of EQ for years. After working with numerous organizations in diverse industries, we discovered that technical skills were not enough to guarantee Corporate Family® success. Instead, a strategic emphasis on personal and social competencies (the two main branches of EQ) which include characteristics like self-awareness, conscientiousness, initiative, commitment, and empathy seem to elevate team member performance.
Arun Ramchandran shares our philosophy, and we like the way he sums up his thoughts about how EQ affects organizational success: “It’s not just about technology. Business needs are important. Understanding stakeholders’ requirements, mindset, and openness to change is the crux of EQ.” In his April 2022 post “Digital Transformation: Emotional Intelligence Required” Ramchandran also explains how “emotional intelligence enhances our ability to function as leaders and guides us to manage ourselves and others well”
(https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2022/4/digital-transformation-emotional-intelligence-required). The bottom line? Developing EQ skills augments everyone’s interpersonal interactions, especially in today’s high-speed, digitally-connected business environment.
By the way, we are well aware that some leaders worry about EQ being a “soft skill” or wonder how it could possibly improve professional performance. From decades of quantitative experience and evidenced-based research, the LEADon® team can assure you that EQ is anything but ethereal. Actually, all twenty-five EQ characteristics are not only measurable, but growth in each specific attribute can also be monitored using LEADon’s® priority metric (watch our Developing Emotional Competency Questionnaire® video for more details).
LEADon® isn’t alone in its belief about the positive impact EQ can have on your Corporate Family’s® achievements. In a July 2015 Harvard University post, Laura Wilcox explains that despite past emphasis on IQ and technological capability, “high emotional intelligence (EI) is a stronger predictor of success. In fact, high EI bolsters the hard skills, helping us think more creatively about how best to leverage our technical chops” (https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/emotional-intelligence-is-no-soft-skill/). In a seminal Harvard Business Review article, author and EQ researcher Daniel Goleman summarized some of his findings this way: “When I compared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90% of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities” (https://hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader).
While improving EQ won’t solve all of the problems this digital age presents, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that developing EQ competencies can address many concerns you have about how your Corporate Family® communicates and connects. The team at LEADon® would be glad to discuss any questions you have about EQ as well as share about LEADon® resources that have positively impacted organizations just like yours. Take some time to review our website at www.LEADonUniversity.com, or call us directly at 858.592.0700.