While many leaders possess the technical skills to succeed, exceptional leaders have a secret ingredient that inspires businesses to world-class performance: Emotional Quotient (EQ).

EQ is the ability to integrate thinking and feeling to make optimal decisions and is the foundation of high performing relationships. Businesses lose customers when they fail to form strong relationships with them. According to research, 70 per cent of all lost sales are EQ related and only 30 per cent are lost because of product, service quality, features or business benefits.

In today’s highly competitive world, it is important for organisations to use all available resources to the best of their ability, which includes EQ. Organisations and businesses from Microsoft and Lockheed Martin to the US Navy and Marine Corps are realising the benefits of EQ and are including EQ training in their work culture to help their staff become masterful at the “people side” of leadership.

Joshua Freedman is a master-trainer and author of books on EQ and the COO of Six Seconds, a company that develops leadership strategies. Freedman spoke to Emirates Business about the importance of EQ on the eve of his visit to the UAE for a seminar.

What role does EQ play in the success or failure of a business?

EQ is the capacity to be smart with feelings, to integrate emotion and analysis to make optimal decisions. The abbreviation ‘EQ’ comes from ‘Emotional Quotient’ – the measure of emotional intelligence. EQ is a learnable, measurable capacity that has profound affects on individual, team and organisational performance. Emotions make or break trust, change and innovation. We’ve all experienced how emotions can hamper our ability to solve problems and to build loyalty. However the opposite is also true and emotions can be used in a positive way to solve problems and build loyalty. Organisations rich in EQ have the assets to create a context where people excel. Can you imagine an organisation where trust is abundant and people are thrilled to come to work? Think how effectively people there would solve problems and innovate… And just imagine what customers would feel walking in that place. Once businesses succeeded because they had some unique product or process. Today’s businesses are more complex and are operating in a global market with constant, rapid change. In this context businesses succeed or fail because of people – and the way people connect internally and to customers. Emotions are the language and glue of relationships and emotional intelligence skills are the key to using emotions well.

How can businesses and organisations benefit from the strategy?

Our clients use EQ in developing three main areas of their business: leaders worth following, change that succeeds, and loyal customers. Real leaders envision a future and enroll people to co-create it. They inspire trust, courage, commitment and hope. While brilliance is essential, it’s not enough. Great leaders need to connect with people at a gut level. They have unique insight into people and they have a unique capacity to manage their own energy so that it resonates with others. This all grows from emotional intelligence – and we can teach these skills and make them part of the leadership culture. In terms of change, most efforts fail. Perhaps only 10 per cent of change efforts really hit the mark. Why? It is because most approaches to change focus on developing a technical and strategic plan, and they forget that humans need to execute the plan. How good is a strategy if people are not on board, or even actively resisting? So you need to take into account the human dynamics and the emotions that drive people. We can measure these intangibles, tweak strategies so they work with, rather than against, people, and teach competencies to make it work. Finally, in terms of customers, it’s a truism that relationship is everything. But how do you actually build that? EQ helps create a workforce that actually cares about customers and knows how to show it.

Link to Emirates 24/7

By Reena Amos Dyes  on Thursday, May 15, 2008

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