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THE BUSINESS CASE FOR EMOTIONAL COMPETENCE*

Check out the Emotional Intelligence course offered at the Western Management Development Center.

Each of the following statements explains one facet of what makes for sound leadership and organizational high performance. Each statement is also backed by research amassed by the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. For a brief summary of some of the research backing up each statement, see the attached sheet.

  1. Understanding yourself, your strengths and your weakness is essential to superior performance.
  2. Self-confidence is important to success.
  3. It is important to control your emotions to be an effective leader.
  4. People who cannot be trusted will most likely see their career derailed.
  5. Job effectiveness depends on being conscientious.
  6. Superior managers are adaptable - open to new information, willing to let go of existing assumptions, and comfortable with uncertainty.
  7. Executives who excel usually are driven by a desire for high achievement.
  8. The best managers are usually able to "read" other people and organizations well.
  9. Superior managers are often good at developing others.
  10. Executives need to be able to influence others to be effective.
  11. People usually prefer to deal with managers who listen well.
  12. The more positive the mood of the leader, the more positive, helpful and cooperative the group.
  13. Good relationships build good leadership.
  14. Leaders who also demonstrate most of the above competencies will have organizations that perform better than leaders who do not.

* This compilation of research supporting the impact of emotional competencies on business outcomes was assembled by FEI staff.


Supporting Research Summary

Statement Research

  1. Accurate self-assessment was associated with superior performance among several hundred managers from 12 different organizations. (Boyatzis, R., The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1982)

    Accurate self-assessment was the competence found in virtually every "star performer" in a study of several hundred knowledge workers, computer scientists, and auditors at companies such as 3M and AT&T. (Kelley, R., How to Be A Star at Work, New York: Times Books, 1998.)

    On 360-degree competence assessments, average performers typically overestimate their strengths whereas star performers rarely do. (Goleman, D., "What Makes a Leader?," Harvard Business Review, November-December, 1998.)

  2. An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from 15 global companies found that six emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self- confidence, achievement drive, and leadership. (Spencer, L.M. J., McClelland, D.C. & Keiner, S, Competency Assessment Methods: History and State of the Art, Boston: Hay/McBer, 1977.)

    Among supervisors, managers, and executives, a high degree of self- confidence distinguishes the best from the average performers. (Boyatzis, R., The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1982)

  3. A study of 130 executives fund that how well people handled their own them. (Walter V. Clarke Associates, "Activity Vector Analysis: Some Applications to the Concept of Emotional Intelligence," Pittsburgh, PA: Walter V. Clarke Associates, 1996.)

    Among managers and executives, top performers are able to balance their drive, ambition, and emotional self-control. (Boyatzis, R., The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1982)

  4. Those who cannot be trusted are derailed in their careers. (Goleman, D. "What makes a leader?", Harvard Business Review, November- December, 1998.)

  5. Outstanding effectiveness in virtually all job types depends on conscientiousness. (Barrick, M.R., Mount, M.K., and Strauss, J.P. "Conscientiousness and performance of sales representatives: A meta-analysis", Personnel Psychology, Vol. 44, 1991.)

  6. Studies of creativity and innovation demonstrate that both increase when people have less formal and more ambiguous roles. (Amabile, T., "The Intrinsic Motivation Principle of Creativity" in Staw, B. and Cummings, LL. (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 10, Greenwich, CT": JAI Press, 1988.)

    Superior performers in management ranks have higher scores on adaptability measures. (Spencer, L. and Spencer, S., Competence at Work, New York: John Wiley, 1993.)

  7. An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from 15 global companies found that six emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self- confidence, achievement drive, and leadership. (Spencer, L.M. J., McClelland, D.C. & Keiner, S, Competency Assessment Methods: History and State of the Art, Boston: Hay/McBer, 1977.)

    Studies of superior vs. average performing executives found that the need to achieve is the characteristic that most sets these two groups apart. (Spencer, L. and Spencer, S., Competence at Work, New York: John Wiley, 1993.) (McClelland, D.C., The Achieving Society, Princeton: Van Nostrand, Reinholdt, 1961.)

  8. Harvard researchers found that people who were best at identifying others' emotions were more successful in their work as well as in their social lives. (R. Rosenthal, "The PONS Test: Measuring Sensitivity to Nonverbal Cues," in P. Reynolds (Ed.), Advances in Psychological Assessment, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1977.)

  9. Competence in developing others is a hallmark of superior managers. (Spencer, L. and Spencer, S., Competence at Work, New York: John Wiley, 1993.)

    This is especially true at the highest levels of leadership. (Goleman, D., "Leadership That Gest Results," Harvard Business Review, March-April, 2000.)

  10. An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from 15 global companies found that six emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self- confidence, achievement drive, and leadership. (Spencer, L.M. J., McClelland, D.C. & Keiner, S, Competency Assessment Methods: History and State of the Art, Boston: Hay/McBer, 1977.)

  11. Supervisors who received training in how to listen better and resolve employee problems found that lost-time accidents were cut by 50 percent, formal grievances were reduced from 15 to 3 per year, and productivity goals were exceeded. (Porras, J.I. & Anderson, B., "Improving Managerial Effectiveness Through Modeling-Based Training," Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 9, pp. 60-77, 1981.)

    The better that managers and executives can communicate, including listening, the more others prefer to deal with them. (J. Walter Clark Associates, cited in Goleman, D., "What Makes a Leader?," Harvard Business Review, November-December 1998.)

  12. The more positive the style of the leader, the better the performance of the group. (George, J.M. and Bettenhausen, K., "Understanding Prosocial Behavior, Sales Performance and Turnover: A Group Level Analysis in a Service Context," Journal of Applied Psychology, Vo. 75, pages 698-709, 1990.)

    The emotional tone of a leader has a strong ripple effect. (Bachman, W., "Nice Guys Finish First: A SYMLOG Analysis of U.S. Naval Commands," in Polley, R.B. et al (Eds.), The SYMLOG Practitioner: Applications of Small Group Research, NY: Praeger, 1988.)

  13. Research by the Center for Creative Leadership has found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional intelligence. The three primary ones are difficulty in handling change, not being able to work well in a team, and poor interpersonal relations. (Benchmarks Training Manual, Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2000)

    A deficit in the ability to work cooperatively with peers was, in one survey, the most common reason managers were fired. (Sweeney, P., "Teaching New Hires to Feel at Home," New York Times, February 14, 1999.)

  14. For 515 senior executives analyzed by the search firm Egon Zehnder International, those who were strongest in emotional intelligence were more likely to succeed than those who were strongest in either relevant previous experience or IQ. (Cherniss, Cary, "The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence," Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, 2002.)

    The divisions of leaders with a critical mass of strengths in emotional intelligence competencies outperformed revenue targets by a margin of 15-20percent. (McClelland, D., "Identifying Competencies with Behavior- Event Interviews," Psychological Science, Vol. 9, No. 5, pages 331-340, 1998.)

    Given companies of comparable size, those whose CEOs exhibited more emotional intelligence competencies showed better financial results as measured by both profit and growth. (Williams, D., "Leadership for the 21st Century," Life Insurance Leadership Study, Boston: HayGroup, 1994.)