Emotional Intelligence Leads to Corporate Success

Photo by Daniel Smyth

What makes a good leader? Business discourse traditionally focuses on the cognitive intelligence of employees while a crucial component, emotional intelligence, often isn’t considered. This can result in misplaced leadership roles and higher turnover rates – dangerous pitfalls for any company. 

The term emotional intelligence, coined in 1990 by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, is a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor feelings and emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, then use that information to guide thinking and action. 

Afidence, a business consulting and technology services company, utilizes a unique approach to create teams that focus on positive growth, balance and agility. “People are our top priority. The more we understand ourselves and others, the more effective we are together impacting the people we serve,” says Trip Bodley, senior director of consulting and general counsel at Afidence. 

First, three assessments are introduced to evaluate the leadership team: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), DISC and StandOut. MBTI® is a well-known test that describes an individual’s personality. The assessment reveals psychological inclinations to explain how people perceive the world and make choices. DISC stands for dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness and is a tool used to facilitate greater self-knowledge, teamwork and communication. StandOut helps uncover an individual’s top two strengths and how they work together for greater workplace performance. 

“The assessments give us practical insight and a common language for understanding each other,” says Bodley. “Handling conflict, change management, teamwork and interpersonal communication is easier when you are able to adapt your style to those around you.” 

Understanding individuals on their emotional level opens up a bounty of benefits in every aspect of an organization. 

The Afidence leadership team makes it a priority to ensure satisfaction in employees’ professional and personal lives. 

“We too often focus on the importance of what needs to be done versus the significance of why we do it in the first place,” says Bryan Hogan, president, CEO and co-owner of Afidence. 

Cognitive abilities such as big-picture thinking are still essential in leadership positions, but it isn’t the exclusive quality to look for in hiring or promoting an employee. In fact, emotional intelligence is more essential the higher a person’s role in an organization, although it is important at all levels of employees. For example, the three main reasons for failure at the executive leadership level are difficulty in handling change, inability to work well in a team and poor interpersonal relations, according to research by the Center for Creative Leadership. 

Afidence performs ongoing leadership meetings focused on the growth and development of key competencies. “We intentionally focus on developing people skills because we recognize they can either be a barrier or an accelerant to establishing trust,” says Bodley. Time is scheduled for both individual and team analysis and feedback. 

Emotional intelligence is a quality found in the majority of leaders who are labeled effective. For example, when star performers were compared with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90 percent of the difference in their profiles was attributable to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities, according to a study by Daniel Goleman for Harvard Business Review.   

Goleman, an internationally known psychologist and author on the subject, lists the following qualities of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill. It’s largely up to leadership to shape the culture of their organization, which is why it’s of utmost importance for leaders to understand their employees’ abilities and strengths. 

Research from the Carnegie Institute of Technology showed that 85 percent of people’s financial success was due to “skills in human engineering, personality, and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead,” wrote Harvey Deutschendorf for Fast Company. “They found that only 15 percent was due to technical ability. In other words, people skills or skills highly related to emotional intelligence were crucial skills.” 

Benefits of conducting these tests include better employee retention rates, because camaraderie is bolstered, and as a result, meaningful relationships are created between both employees and clients. 

The use of assessments has already made an impact in the culture at Afidence, and will continue to shape their future. “We will continue to develop leadership skills so we can inspire, transform and create more leaders at every level of our organization,” says Lana Maric, marketing director at Afidence. “We want to improve our self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness and relationship management because people are our strength.” 

Afidence has introduced business-consulting services to help other organizations understand the business impact of emotional intelligence. “As business consultants, we understand the effects of high-performing leadership teams on organizational success,” says Hogan. “They have the ability to formulate a vision, inspire teams, drive urgency, manage conflict, provide feedback, deliver direction and create new leaders.” 

Consultants at Afidence want to help companies understand that optimal leadership teams will be better equipped to handle change and outperform competitors because their values are aligned to a common purpose.

Afidence headquarters is located at 309 Reading Road, Mason, OH 45040. For more information, call 513.234.5822 or visit their website at www.afidence.com. Join the conversation @Afidence on Twitter. Hashtag #LeadingWithTrust.