More optimistic employees earn higher performance management scores even in a highly technical IT firm.  Using the SEI emotional intelligence assessment, researchers found optimism predicts almost 18% of job success.  The finding reinforces the importance of hiring and training for this learnable skill.  It also provides an edge to employees who want to be recognized as high performers.

San Francisco, CA: A recent study finds that supervisors are more likely to evaluate optimists as high performers.  In research conducted by Six Seconds, optimism scores are significantly correlated with scores from the company’s performance management system.  The study confirms that even in a technical position, emotional intelligence skills are key to job success.

The study tracks a highly technical information solutions team at NextiraOne in Italy.  Fourty-four IT team members were assessed using the “Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment,” otherwise known as the SEI.  Scores on the test were compared to scores on the company’s performance management system.  Just over 17.9% of the variation in performance scores were explained by the Optimism scale on the SEI.

NextiraOne is a leading provider of integrated enterprise network, IP telephony, data, voice and converged solutions and services that enable effective business communications (

Institute Director Joshua Freedman explains the significance of the finding: “Optimism has been widely linked to performance in people-oriented jobs such as sales.  This study shows that even in a highly technical role, emotional competence is key to success.”  Freedman is one of the world’s top authorities on developing emotional intelligence to improve performance.  His global team of consultants, trainers and researchers helps companies from Schlumberger to FedEx with leadership, sales, and organizational effectiveness.

The study, described in a white paper (, offers an important edge to employees and another to businesses:

  • For employees who want to be recognized as top performers, increasing optimism provides a valuable edge.
  • For companies who want every competitive edge, hiring and training for this kind of emotional intelligence skill is a cost-effective way to increase performance.

Using a statistical process called “multiple regression,” researcher Lorenzo Fariselli of Six Seconds Italia ( performed the analysis.  Fariselli says, “In this study we see more evidence that the emotional intelligence assessment measures factors important to real life performance.”  This data helps confirm the SEI as one of the most effective measures of emotional intelligence available. The SEI is a statistically reliable, web-enabled emotional intelligence test.

Compared to other similar tests, SEI report offers the most extensive report with over 40 pages of practical interpretation with effective development suggestions. With two self-correcting indices, a consistency scale, 104 items, and 14 different norms applied in each report, it also uses the most advanced statistical analysis in the scoring algorithm.  The SEI assessment and reports are available in English, Italian, Chinese, Indonesian,  Spanish and French (now in research validation).  Strengths, Development, Group, and Leadership reports are available.  Details and the Technical Manual are available online (

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