Emotional Intelligence: Why It Trumps All Other Traits
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a person’s ability to be aware of and monitor their own behaviors and emotions. Individuals with high EQs better understand their strengths and weaknesses, have more self-control and exhibit more initiative.
In a previous post, “Skills vs. Attitude: What Lands the Job?” I noted that cosmetics giant, L’Oreal found that their sales people with a high emotional intelligence score outsold their peers by $90,000 per year. Further corroborating the benefit of emotional intelligence, at least among sales people, a study of over 40 Fortune 500 companies indicated that sales people with high EQs performed better than those with medium to low EQs by 50%. The same study showed that technical programmers with EQs in the top 10% produced software three times faster than those outside this range.
The benefits of high EQ are not limited to increased productivity. Studies have shown that workplaces with lower average EQs, in addition to experiencing lower productivity, also report higher rates of burnout and turnover.
The vast benefits of high EQs don’t end with high productivity and lower turnover. Studies also show that those with lower EQ scores experience twice the rate of anxiety, depression and substance abuse all of which lead to increased absenteeism from work. Individuals suffering from depression are better than twice as likely to take sick days. Lost productivity and increased medical expenses as a result of depression costs businesses more than $83 billion dollars each year and these expenses occur year after year.
Depression aside, stress and anxiety suppress the immune system making one vulnerable to illness which of course leads to increased absenteeism. Since high EQ individuals are less prone to bouts of stress and anxiety, their ability to better fight off infection and remain at work is superior. Even more impressive is the research that suggests emotional intelligence can speed up the recovery of major illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Studies have shown that men and women recovering from cancer or heart attacks were able to reduce their levels of stress, keep a better diet and build a stronger immune system when developing emotional intelligence skills during recovery.
In short, employees with high emotional intelligence produce more, handle stressful situations better and work more often than their low EQ counterparts. I suggest you hire them!
If you are a high EQ employee, don’t worry, there are benefits for you too. Since individuals with higher EQs are more productive they naturally make more money. Studies show that every extra point of emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an individual’s annual salary. This is true in any part of the world, in any industry and at any level!
The bottom line is that cultivating emotional intelligence is good for your business, good for your health and even good for your wallet!