Managers negligent on emotional intelligence

MANAGERS run the risk of being labelled emotionally negligent if they fail to deal with emotional intelligence issues in the workplace, a recent study has found

MANAGERS RUN the risk of being labelled emotionally negligent if they fail to deal with emotional intelligence issues in the workplace, a recent study has found.

While a majority of managers often know how to behave, there is a clear and significant disconnect between their understanding of emotional intelligence and how they actually react in situations which would necessitate such skills, the DDI study found.

“Essentially, those using tests which measure understanding are in effect of little value in determining what someone will actually do and how they will act on the job,” said Julian Tatton, consultant psychologist for DDI.

Unlike cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence – or an ability, capacity or skill to perceive, assess and manage the emotions of one’s self, others and groups – is difficult to quantify.

According to Tatton, employees who may look to be a good bet on the strength of an Emotional Quotient (EQ) test may in fact be emotionally manipulative.

They can use their understanding of what to do as a means to manipulate or belittle others.

Tatton also argued that many organisations might have wasted valuable training dollars in developing emotional intelligence understanding.

This is because many participants simply do not do what they know they should do. So a behavioural element to selection and/or development is still needed to provide a combination of worthwhile information to drive appropriate development activity, he said.

The study comes at a time when HR practitioners across the globe are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of the emotional intelligence of their employees and managers on their organisation’s bottom line.

In terms of what HR can do about managers who are low on emotional intelligence or who are so entrenched in companies that they are resistant to change, “it is critical to understand whether this is due to a lack of knowledge, ability or inclination”, he said.

A useful starting point would be to approach the senior management team for support by building a business case that is linked not only through supporting studies, but also to the business drivers of the organisation, he suggested.

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