Emotional Intelligence and a Loyal, Motivated Staff

Goleman Engagement Empowerment

Ruth Malloy is global managing director of the Hay Group Leadership and Talent practice, where she works with Fortune 500 companies to help them achieve their strategies. I’ve asked her to guest blog about the positive behaviors exhibited by employees in an emotionally intelligent workplace. Here’s what she had to say.

“If you’re reading this column, you probably know intuitively that Emotional and Social Intelligence are important leadership qualities when it comes to building loyal, motivated teams and retaining good people.

Still, when speaking with skeptical colleagues or business leaders, it’s helpful to be able to illustrate how these essential qualities enhance loyalty, motivation and retention in a business organization.

My company, Hay Group, works with leaders around the world to help them create measurable results in their organizations. And we have seen over and over that employees generally leave a company for one of two reasons:

1. their immediate manager, or

2. the lack of opportunity to develop and grow.

Leaders need both Emotional Intelligence (which includes qualities of self awareness and managing oneself) as well as Social Intelligence (social awareness and managing relationships with others) to engage and motivate employees effectively.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at two actual managers (their identities disguised), as described by their reports.

1. Boss A (Best Boss)

  • Takes an active interest in me, listens to my perspectives and concerns
  • Is self-aware; open to feedback, has a sense of humor about himself – comes across as genuine
  • Inspires me around the goals of our organization; lays out a vision that I find consequential and energizing.
  • Provides feedback and support in a way that is encouraging and helpful; empowers me
  • Has a positive outlook, even tempered – even under stress

2. Boss B (Worst Boss)

  • Has his own agenda, keeps information to himself
  • Volatile, unpredictable
  • Critical – any feedback is negative
  • Goals or vision tend to be around numbers versus a meaningful purpose
  • Doesn’t listen well, is not really interested in my perspective or input
  • Takes all the credit, doesn’t acknowledge team contributions

Both these actual bosses were very smart people, with excellent ideas and energy and a potentially bright future within their organization.

The key differences between their behavior and interactions with others were in the competencies of Emotional and Social Intelligence: self-awareness, emotional self-control, apositive outlook, empathy, inspirational leadership and a willingness and ability to coach and mentor promising employees.

How did they do?

  • Everyone wanted to work for Boss A
  • People tolerated Boss B – but over time, the high potentials working for him typically left.

The results of a Hay Group 2010 study of data on more than 4,000 individuals from some 280 organizations support this anecdotal example, demonstrating that strengths in EI team and SI are strongly correlated to positive team climates (you can get the full report here):

  • Of the leaders that demonstrated more competencies in EI and SI, 92 percent created a positive climate (energizing and high-performance). None of them created a de-motivating climate.
  • By contrast, only 22 percent of the leaders who showed few competencies in EI and SI created a positive climate, while 78 percent created a de-motivating climate.

In short, emotional and social intelligence are at the very heart of a leader’s ability to create the kind of positive climate that inspires loyalty and motivates performance.”

By Daniel Goleman (Author of FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence)


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