Emotional intelligence (EQ) has had its value in the modern, dynamic workplace recognized and proven.

95% of Wiley’s survey respondents stated that at work, EQ was at least as, if not more important than IQ. Among executives, directors, and managers, 86% agreed that relative to five years ago, EQ had a larger impact on an organization’s success today. A significant increase in the amount of time spent by managers on interpersonal issues in the workplace was also reported, demonstrating the immediate value and use that EQ has in such positions. 

If it’s not clear by now, EQ not only shapes an organization’s culture and its employees’ experiences, but it also has a direct effect on the bottom line. This is of particular importance in a tight job market. Among survey respondents, 80% reported having worked for an organization with low EQ, which crippled productivity. A similar number stated that toxic workplace culture could be seen stemming directly from low EQ. Working in a low-EQ workplace actually led to more than 40 percent of respondents quitting their jobs. 

So, the recognition is clear: EQ is important. But how do we actualize it in the workplace?

There seems to be a theory-praxis gap here. While nearly 95% of participants in the survey expressed confidence in their own EQ and their ability to adapt to the emotional needs of a situation, a much lower 71% expressed the same confidence in their colleagues. Something doesn’t quite line up there! And essentially all senior respondents agreed that further development of their teams’ EQ levels would be valuable, but only 72% of them felt they knew how to do this. 

EQ’s Growing Value to Organizations

  • Necessity – 95% reported EQ to be at least as, if not even more important in the workplace than IQ
  • Growing Recognition – 86% say that relative to five years ago, emotional intelligence is even more necessary today for organizational success
  • Relevance – 46% of respondents in managerial positions report that they spend more time managing EQ-relevant interpersonal issues than they do managing quality or output of work

EQ Defines Employee Experience and Organizational Culture

  • 79% report working on low-EQ teams where productivity suffered
  • 80% say a toxic workplace culture can often be traced to low EQ
  • 41% have actually quit jobs due to the low EQ of their coworkers

The Theory-Praxis Gap

  • 94% express confidence in their own EQ, but only 71% express the same confidence in their colleagues
  • 98% of senior employees agree that their teams should further develop their EQ levels, but only 72% have a good idea of how to do this

John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2020 Agile Organization Survey Results

So, how do we go about shrinking this theory-praxis gap?

Well, for starters, there is a thriving industry based on teaching and training for emotional intelligence, with measures and appraisals of EQ offering important insight. Of course, that’s just a start. Insight is fine, but the difficulty is translating those insights into tangible workplace impact, and it’s a whole other challenge still to do this at organizational scale to drive up performance. What are the keys to developing this emotional intelligence into the real, beneficial product—an agile organization? In our next article, Agility at Scale, we’ll dig into that answer. 

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Lastly, if you’d like to watch an on-demand webinar on how to develop the EQ necessary to support your thriving agile culture with Everything DiSC Agile EQ, learn more here: https://carverassociates.com/on-demand-webinar-agility-starts-with-developing-eq/

Ty Miller is a Leadership Strategy Consultant at Carver & Associates. He Helps Leaders Cast A Vision, Align Their Teams To It, And Drive Execution Of That Vision.

Connect with Ty on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tymillerco/