It seems obvious that people who are socially adept will be more effective at work. Yet the soft skills research to support this intuitive notion is only a few decades old. Emotional intelligence (often abbreviated as “EQ”) is the ability to positively harness one’s emotions and social interactions for greater impact. Employee EQ is vital for a vibrant and productive workplace environment. But can EQ be learned? The research says, and we believe, that people can develop emotional intelligence given the proper context and support to do so. It’s also our experience that emotional intelligence is a linchpin to business success.
Early emotional intelligence research focused narrowly on a person’s ability to understand their own emotions and those of others. More recent research often encompasses the broader concept of “social intelligence.” Two examples of social intelligence are the ability to cultivate positive relationships, and possessing finely honed interpersonal communication skills.
This EQ at Work and Soft Skills Research Index looks at the relevance of emotional intelligence in the workplace in its broadest meaning: the attributes, mindset and skills that people need to effectively navigate their interior selves and external environments to contribute to organizational success.
The index summarizes scholarly research and current media articles from thought-leaders on pro-employee business practices. Our index provides human resources and organizational development practitioners access to case studies, research and opinion pieces that will help them design practices to help their employees develop this important skill set.
Want to learn more about how to build EQ into your enterprise talent development strategies? Start by reading our Emotional Intelligence at Work overview for our take on where to start.
The Business Case for EQ at Work
The studies and articles in this section demonstrate the benefit of investing in the development of employees’ emotional and social intelligence. Business leaders, HR managers and OD consultants can use this information to help others understand the kind of payoff investments in soft skills development for their employees can have on the organization as a whole.
- How Investing In Employee Training Benefits Your Business (Entrepreneur Magazine, digital, 2016)
- The Business Case for a High-Trust Culture (White Paper: Great Place to Work Institute , 2016)
- Emotional Intelligence and Job Performance: A Study among Malaysian Teachers (University Tenaga Nasional, 2015)
- The Benefits of ROI for OD Projects (TD Magazine, 2013)
- Emotional Intelligence: Can Companies Really Feel Their Way to Success? (UNC- Kenan Flagler Business School, 2013)
- Evidence that emotional intelligence is related to job performance and affect and attitudes at work (Yale University, 2006)
Pro-Employee Business Practices
These resources offer research that informs HR and OD practitioners on emerging workplace trends. From programs that address work-life balance for employees, to the entry of Gen Z into the workplace, business leaders, HR managers and OD consultants can use this information to stay informed of the shifting forces that shape the modern workplace.
- The Key to Adaptable Companies Is Relentlessly Developing People (Harvard Business Review, 2016)
- Becoming irresistible: A new model for employee engagement (Deloitte Press, 2016)
- 7 Ways to Help Your Employees and Company Thrive (WorkHuman Institute, 2016)
- How a Flex time Program at MIT Improved Productivity, Resilience and Trust Harvard Business Review, 2016)
- The Importance of Emotional Intelligence at Work (Entrepreneur Magazine, digital, 2015)
- Case Study: Emotional Intelligence for People-First Leadership at FedEx Express (Six Seconds EQ Network, 2014)
- A Case for Conscious Capitalism: Conscious leadership through the lens of brain science (Ivey Business Journal, 2011)
The Science of EQ and Soft Skills
Since the mid-1990’s researchers affiliated with several prestigious academic institutions have worked to identify the science that proves the importance of social skills in the workplace. The soft skills research highlighted in this section will help make your case to executives who remain skeptical that “soft” skills can be isolated and developed.
- Emotional Intelligence – EQ (Forbes Magazine, digital, 2014)
- What Predicts Your Success? It’s not Your IQ (Goleman, LinkedIn, 2014)
- Emotional Intelligence is no Soft Skill (Harvard University blog, 2012)
- Behavioral EQ: The Next Generation of Emotional Intelligence (Training Magazine, 2012)
- Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Personal, Social, Academic, and Workplace Success (Yale University, 2011)
Emotionally Intelligent Leadership
We’ve long understood that effective leaders are “good with people.” Daniel Goleman’s 2004 ground-breaking article What Makes a Leader? in the Harvard Business Review ushered in a new era in research and commentary on the science of effective leadership. The research highlighted in this portion of the index points to the business imperative for developing leaders with high emotional intelligence and social skills. Much of the EQ research conducted to date focuses on leaders, so we’ve chosen the studies we believe will help you discern the relevance for your organization.
- Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership (Deloitte Press, 2016)
- How the Best CEOs differ from Average Ones (Harvard Business Review, 2016)
- How Emotional Intelligence Can Boost Your Career And Save Your Life (Bradberry, LinkedIn, 2015)
- How Emotional Intelligence Became a Key Leadership Skill (Harvard Business Review, 2015)
- This is How Millennials will Change Management (Fast Company, 2015)
- Emotional Leaders Can Affect Job Performance (IO at Work blog, 2015)
- Teach the Key Ingredients for Leadership Success (Goleman, LinkedIn, 2014)
- Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Effectiveness: The Mediating Influence of Collaborative Behaviors (Insead, 2011)
Soft Skills Development in the Workplace
Using the pioneering work of academics Daniel Goleman, Peter Salovey, John Mayer and others, business people have turned their attention from developing executive leadership exclusively to expanding soft skill capabilities throughout their workforce. The thinking goes that if leaders could improve their business relationships through the development of EQ and soft skills (and therefore improve business results) then a workplace filled with emotionally-intelligent employees would be a good thing as well. Here’s a round-up of research that helps you make that case within your own organization.
- How Microsoft Uses a Growth Mindset to Develop Leaders (Harvard Business Review, 2016)
- HR’s Hard Challenge when Employees Lack Soft Skills (SHRM’s HR Today site, 2016)
- How Facebook Tries to Prevent Office Politics (Harvard Business Review, 2016)
- The wisdom of letting go and performance: The moderating role of emotional intelligence and discrete emotions (Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 2014)
- The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Job Performance of Call Centre Agents (Faculty of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 2013)
- Relationship among Emotional Intelligence, Deviant Workplace Behavior and Job Performance: An Empirical Study (Technical University of Lisbon, 2012)
- Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace (Eastern Kentucky University, 2012)
Know of a study we don’t feature, but should? Let us know!
InPower Coaching can help you bring EQ and Soft Skills development to your organization. We specialize in programs that use innovative online platforms to infuse EQ into middle management and establish frameworks to support expanding these concepts into the executive suite. Contact us to learn more.