State of the Heart Report 2018

Declining EQ correlates to diminished wellbeing – in the first-ever study of global emotional intelligence trends linked to World Health Organization data. The insights show the value of EQ, a rising threat, and will help us navigate a changing world.

How’s how EQ data can support us to work better across generations, genders, and geography.

EQ Challenge

EQ has declined since 2011, with the biggest decline in “Navigate Emotions.” Last year, several scores stopped declining, and some increased. Problem is, these declines make it harder for people to cope with the complexities of life today.

Bad news. Since 2011, emotional intelligence has declined by almost 5%.

The EQ competency for harnessing and using emotions productively, called “Navigate Emotions,” has dropped over 9%. This decline makes sense in a context of rising levels of stress, increased emotional volatility, and decreased resiliency.

Good news. Last year, after five years of steady decline, overall EQ scores did not go down. In fact, scores on four of the eight EQ competencies increased.

EQ Value

EQ scores are correlated with personal wellbeing, effectiveness, relationships and quality of life. Internationally, they’re correlated with important national outcomes related to the Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 3 – Health & Wellbeing.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 is ”Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

Using publicly available national metrics, we defined a Wellbeing Metric consisting of access to health and mental health resources and happiness (see data sources on page 13). In countries where we have a significant sample for a national average EQ score, and there is data available for the Wellbeing Metric, we found that EQ scores predict 27.8% of the variation in National Wellbeing.

EQ Solution

Understand ourselves & one another. Meet people where they are. We can start by changing the narrative about “differences” and looking at the unique aspects of people by exploring the data on EQ and gender, across generations, and based on geography.

Gender: While overall EQ is quite similar among females & males, there are major differences in terms of EQ competencies and the outcomes, suggesting different pathways to leverage EQ; for example, females have higher scores related to self-awareness, but lower scores related to decision-making.

Generations: Much of the research on generational differences is based on data from the US or another specific country. Examining the global insights from State of the Heart challenges some oft-repeated “truths” about generations. For example, while Millennials may be seeking meaning, it’s Boomers who have the highest scores on “Pursue Noble Goals.” 

Geography: There are major differences in EQ strengths and Brain Styles among the world regions. These insights can help us understand one another and work in a globalizing world. For example, the Middle East is the most “balanced” in terms of EQ competencies. Europe has the highest in “Engage Intrinsic Motivation.” Despite economic challenges, Latin America has the highest scores on “Exercise Optimism.”

Tracking EQ Trends Since 2011

State of the Heart has tracked the changing trends in emotional intelligence (EQ) since 2011.

This analysis mines the world’s most complete EQ dataset from the SEI, or Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment. The SEI toolset includes 4 different assessments and over 20 report options, providing a comprehensive system for leveraging emotional intelligence – in 22+ languages.

The State of the Heart uses a balanced random sampling from over 200,000 people in 160 countries & territories. The randomized sample is balanced by age (equal numbers under and over 40 years old), by reported gender (report on only male & female because there are insufficient non-binary responses in the database), and by world region (with equal numbers across three broad global regions).

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Joshua Freedman

Joshua is one of the world’s preeminent experts on developing emotional intelligence to create positive change. With warmth and authenticity, he translates leading-edge science into practical, applicable terms that improve the quality of relationships to unlock enduring success. Joshua leads the world’s largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers.
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