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The importance of EQ in employee engagement and leadership

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This article is brought to you by The British Council.

How can we use Emotional Quotient (EQ) to increase employee engagement? How can this increase the bottom line and what is the link between EQ and great teamwork?

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions; to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought; to understand emotions and emotional knowledge; and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth,” according to Salovey & Mayer, 1999.

The importance of employee engagement, and aligning EQ with leadership

Employee engagement refers to the level of staff commitment and responsibility. Essentially, it is the emotional capital created by employees. Is it possible to increase engagement?

Kabushiki Kaisha Komatsu Seisakusho manufactures construction, mining and military equipment, as well as industrial equipment such as press machines, lasers and thermoelectric generators. In 2012, it partnered with Six Seconds to increase the engagement of people in order to build competitive capability and create a case demonstrating its commitment for innovation.

The project blended assessments, training and project-based learning to involve managers in creating a climate for innovation. In a six-month leadership development process at the multinational corporation, using the Six Seconds’ Vital Signs framework, engagement increased from 33% to 70%, while plant performance also increased by 9.4%.

This innovative approach to engaging employees led to three key findings:

  1. To create change, people need to change: Involving the managers in a new way of thinking and working, provided them with insights and tools to experiment with alternatives.
  2. Build teams intelligently: Powerful, innovative teams have a mix of styles, talent, EQ skills and capabilities.
  3. Create choice: When people self-select, they have power. They become more committed to the process, and they feel ownership of the results.
People engagement was measured with “Team Vital Signs”, a statistically reliable research process designed to pinpoint areas assisting and interfering with growth and bottom-line success. There are five key drivers in the Vital Signs model, also known as the drivers of a high performing team climate:
  1. Trust: People have a sense of safety and assurance so they’ll take risks, share, innovate and go beyond their own comfort zones.
  2. Motivation: People need to feel energised and committed to doing more than the minimum.
  3. Change: Employees and the institution are adaptable and innovative.
  4. Teamwork: People collaborate and communicate with one another to take on challenges.
  5. Execution: Individuals are both focused and accountable.
Six Seconds is a global network supporting people to create positive change – everywhere. Its experience and research shows that the skills of emotional intelligence are invaluable for leading change.

Therefore, it conducts research, develops powerful measures and tools for EQ development, and supports a worldwide network of experts to put the learnable, measurable skills of emotional intelligence into action.

“The most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant, they do matter, but mainly as ‘threshold capabilities’; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. But research shows clearly that without emotional intelligence a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.” (Harvard Business Review).

The British Council is a preferred partner of Six Seconds, and delivers workshops and consultancy on EQ in Singapore, Asia and across the world. To find out more about our EQ programmes please contact us:

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