Emotional Intelligence ~ Management Competencies

The world is facing (still) the ramifications of the financial crisis that swept around the globe in 2008/2009. Personal lives, professional lives even leisure lives have all been affected. So in these times of austerity and despondency is it so surprising to learn that Managers and managements are even more important that they were pre-crisis. Managers now have a unique opportunity to enliven lives which are depressed and under strain.

Our working lives take up about a third of our time with another third taken up by sleep. Is it any wonder then that the remaining time should be as stress free as possible? From our point of view, life has its effects, one aspect affecting another and we truly need to discover ways to positively affect our lives in one aspect to influence the others. Managers and managements need to face up to their responsibilities and to act in a different way. They need to face up to the fact that we are holistic beings and it’s NOT all about the bottom line, the income but more about creating the right environments to improve every aspect of employees lives thereby uplifting performances and incomes streams.

Never before have the words “turbulence” and “uncertainty” and “financial strains” made so many business headlines.  Virtually all industries are being affected by the turmoil we now face.  With this level of uncertainty affecting your business and your career, what management competencies do you need to develop to best manage ‘the’ business and the working environment of your employees now and during the next three years?

Our research shows that your best chances of successfully managing your current problems are by maximising your ability to effectively utilise your leadership characteristics:

  1. Self-awareness and accurate self-assessment,

  2. initiative,

  3. sound-decision-making,

  4. empathy,

  5. communication,

  6. influence,

  7. adaptability and
  8. self-management

~ all of which are not technical management skills but emotional intelligence management competencies.

Without these emotional intelligence management competencies, the executive or manager is more likely to derail the moving object (your business) rather than creating a smoother ride.

With these emotional intelligence management competencies, managers and executives are more likely to receive performance based bonuses, higher salaries overall, and experience greater job security.

Here’s why these eight emotional intelligence management competencies qualities are so important now:

Self-awareness and accurate self-assessment:

Without self-awareness and accurate self-assessment, executives and managers will be too quick to get irritated with others, will create problems in their work relationships and in their personal relationships, will come across as abrasive, will not be able to admit mistakes or accept useful, realistic criticism, and will not have a realistic awareness of their strengths or limitations.


Executives and managers who are rather low in initiative will be responding to events, rather than being proactive, thereby finding themselves in continual crisis mode.  Plus when leaders aren’t utilising initiative, they may fail to seize strategic opportunities, either because they haven’t started their analysis and planning process early enough or because they may resist taking even well calculated risks.

Sound decision-making:

If a manager or executive is low in their ability to make sound decisions this will only be accentuated in a period of great uncertainty and turbulence.  Executives low in this area may spend more time than they can afford to in analysis, may not demonstrate the courage to make choices, may avoid taking responsibility, and may lack the commitment to execute a decision fully.


When managers and executives don’t demonstrate enough empathy in times of uncertainty or crisis, they will likely be seen as indifferent, uncaring and in-authentic ~ all of which will make employees be less cooperative and less communicative.  The manager may be left feeling misunderstood, and will have difficulty “reading” their employees.


Managers and executives will be hampered to an extraordinary degree if they don’t use adequate communication skills during turbulent times.  By not communicating well enough, managers will tend to avoid getting into dialogue about important issues and will often only communicate good news and will tend to try to hide bad news thereby any hurting trust issues, and will have great difficulty in managing complicated issues.  In addition, they will appear unavailable and uncaring to others, which will hurt teamwork and cooperation.


When executives and managers are low in the management competency of influence, they will fail to leave the right impression, will tend to alienate others rather than getting support, may end up working too independently and even against the group, and will have difficulty motivating the group quickly enough to address any imminent challenge.


Without ramping up the ability to be more adaptable in a time of turbulence and uncertainty, many executives and managers will tend to respond negatively to new and changing situations.  In addition, they may show emotional strain to others when they have to shift priorities; tend to express, or simmer with, frustration with change – even if it is for a positive purpose; will have difficulty adapting their responses and tactics to fit the emerging circumstances; and ultimately will often be hesitant in taking on new challenges.


When managers or executives have low self-management they tend to react impulsively in stressful situations, possibly getting overly stressed, angry or upset when facing rapidly changing situations or with conflict at work; and sometimes respond to problems in a non-constructive manner – which often causes unwanted consequences.

The good news is each of these eight emotional intelligence management competencies can be developed.

A proven way of developing these competences efficiently is utilising a structured assessment and feedback system based on a leadership development program such as the Lambda Mi EQ Improvement programme.

Case Studies

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

The following 14 points, build a case for how emotional intelligence contributes to the bottom line in organisations. This data comes from a variety of sources and makes the business case for the use of emotional intelligence in any organisation.

Learned optimism generates greater sales in Life Insurance

  • Optimism is another emotional competence that leads to increased productivity. New salesmen at Met Life who scored high on a test of “learned optimism” sold 37 percent more life insurance in their first two years than pessimists (Seligman, 1990).

  • A study of 130 executives found that how well people handled their own emotions determined how much people around them preferred to deal with them (Walter V. Clarke Associates, 1997).

Top Performers are more productive … and it’s emotional competence that makes them that way

  • In jobs of medium complexity (sales clerks, mechanics), a top performer is 12 times more productive than those at the bottom and 85 percent more productive than an average performer.

  • In the most complex jobs (insurance salespeople, account managers), a top performer is 127 percent more productive than an average performer (Hunter, Schmidt, & Judiesch, 1990).

  • Competency research in over 200 companies and organisations worldwide suggests that about one-third of this difference is due to technical skill and cognitive ability while two-thirds is due to emotional competence (Goleman, 1998).

  • In top leadership positions, over four-fifths of the difference is due to emotional competence.

Increased sales, reduced turnover at L’Oreal

  • At L’Oreal, sales agents selected on the basis of certain emotional competencies – including learned optimism – significantly out sold salespeople selected using the company’s old selection procedure.

  • In the most complex jobs (insurance salespeople, account managers), a top performer is 127 percent more productive than an average performer (Hunter, Schmidt, & Judiesch, 1990).

  • On an annual basis, salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence sold $91,370 more than other salespeople did, for a net revenue increase of $2,558,360.

  • Salespeople selected on the basis of emotional competence also had 63% less turnover during the first year than those selected in the typical way (Spencer & Spencer, 1993; Spencer, McClelland, & Kelner, 1997).

Increased sales at a Life Insurance Company

  • In a national insurance company, insurance sales agents who were weak in emotional competencies such as self-confidence, learned optimism, initiative, and empathy sold policies with an average premium of $54,000.

  • Those who were very strong in at least 5 of 8 key emotional competencies sold policies worth $114,000 (Hay/McBer Research and Innovation Group, 1997).

Improved Executive performance in a multinational Beverage Firm

  • In a large beverage firm, using standard methods to hire division presidents, 50% left within two years, mostly because of poor performance.

  • When they started selecting based on emotional competencies such as initiative, self-confidence, and leadership, only 6% left in two years.

  • The executives selected based on emotional competence were far more likely to perform in the top third based on salary bonuses for performance of the divisions they led: 87% were in the top third. In addition, division leaders with these competencies outperformed their targets by 15 to 20 percent. Those who lacked them under-performed by almost 20% (McClelland, 1999).

Preventing Executive derailment

  • Research by the Centre for Creative Leadership has found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competence. The three primary ones are difficulty in handling change, not being able to work well in a team, and poor interpersonal relations.

Social Skills training for supervisors leads to productivity gains in manufacturing

After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies such as how to listen better and help employees resolve problems on their own. After training:

  • lost-time accidents were reduced by 50 percent

  • formal grievances were reduced from an average of 15 per year to 3 per year

  • the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000 (Pesuric & Byham, 1996).

In another manufacturing plant where supervisors received similar training:

  • production increased 17 percent.

  • There was no such increase in production for a group of matched supervisors who were not trained (Porras & Anderson, 1981).

Accurate Self-Assessment leads to superior performance in Managers

  • One of the foundations of emotional competence ~ accurate self-assessment ~ was associated with superior performance among several hundred managers from 12 different organisations (Boyatzis, 1982).

Self-Regulation produces success in Store Managers

Emotional competence helps computer Sales Reps to finish training successfully

  • For sales reps at a computer company, those hired based on their emotional competence were 90% more likely to finish their training than those hired on other criteria (Hay/McBer Research and Innovation Group, 1997).

Emotional Competence reduces the drop-out rate in Sales

  • At a national furniture retailer, sales people hired based on emotional competence had half the dropout rate during their first year (Hay/McBer Research and Innovation Group, 1997).

Emotional Intelligence leads to success in top Executives around the world

  • For 515 senior executives analyzed by the search firm Egon Zehnder International, those who were primarily strong in emotional intelligence were more likely to succeed than those who were strongest in either relevant previous experience or IQ.

  • In other words, emotional intelligence was a better predictor of success than either relevant previous experience or high IQ.

  • More specifically, the executive was high in emotional intelligence in 74 percent of the successes and only in 24 percent of the failures.

  • The study included executives in Latin America, Germany, and Japan, and the results were almost identical in all three cultures.


  • Seligman, M. E. P. (1990). Learned optimism. New York: Knopf.

  • Boyatzis, R. (1982). The competent manager: A model for effective performance. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

  • Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam.

  • Hay/McBer Research and Innovation Group (1997). This research was provided to Daniel Goleman and is reported in his book (Goleman, 1998).

  • Hunter, J. E., Schmidt, F. L., & Judiesch, M. K. (1990). Individual Differences in Output Variability as a Function of Job Complexity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75, 28-42.

  • Lusch, R. F., & Serpkeuci, R. (1990). Personal differences, job tension, job outcomes, and store performance: A study of retail managers. Journal of Marketing.

  • McClelland, D. C. (1999). Identifying competencies with behavioral-event interviews. Psychological Science, 9(5), 331-339.

  • Pesuric, A., & Byham, W. (1996, July). The new look in behavior modeling. Training and Development, 25-33.

  • Porras, J. I., & Anderson, B. (1981). Improving managerial effectiveness through modeling-based training. Organizational Dynamics, 9, 60-77.

  • Richman, L. S. (1994, May 16). How to get ahead in America. Fortune, 46-54.

Recommends, Comments and Observations

These are just a few responses to an Emotional Intelligence Network group

Helen L.

Group Learning and Development Manager at Fairfax

New Zealand

Helen Lewis • Hi there,

I am Helen Lewis and I work in the Learning and Development area for a Media Company. We use EQ in our training of sales people and other areas of the business. This has been hugely successful. Would be interested in other trainers that have used it in this way
Look forward to being part of the discussion group.

Lucille F.

Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Health Alliance Hospital

Greater Boston Area, USA

Lucille Force, RN MSN MHA • To Ruth … you bring up some very important and crucial points. I too, am baby boomer. I think to really utilize our Emotional Intelligence to be successful, its a balancing act. I recall nursing instructors attitudes that you had to have it tough because when they went through nusing school many moons ago, they had it tough. Toughness and rigidity without care or concern was their only way. So their expectations were that todays student could only be excused from a clinical day if in fact they got run over and killed by a car or the like. That is pure nonsense and not only lacks EQ but common sense, too.
EQ often comes down to comon sense, care and concern for others. We can all do that and still hold people accountable.

8 minutes ago

Cindy C.

Business Development & Accounts Manager at Workspace Productions


Cindy Corrales • I am a partner at Workspace Products, a video production outfit. I am also a volunteer at an organization that advocates countryside development here in the Philippines, and basically an integrator for clients who require several marketing services. I have always been interested in people’s behavior and am fascinated with its complexities- whether good or bad. Since I heard about EI, I realized what I and so many others have been lacking in both our personal and professional life, which if utilized and even mastered could have made past assertions and actions an intelligent one. Most importantly, acknowledging EI’s “magic” made me appreciate the complexities of the personalities I come to meet. Finally, I realized that it is EI that worked for most of the uneducated and undergraduates that I know. They’re way prosperous and most importantly successful than the high strung, powerful and dignitaries I came across. I’m Cindy Corrales, and I am here to gain more understanding and insight from people around the globe. And, hopefully contribute to discussions and make friends.

Hi To All,

I’m Mike Allison and I am the co-founder and GM of TW Allison Corporate Consulting and Training, based in Guangzhou, China.

Our company provides EI training for some of our clients, large multi-naitonals with offices and factories in the Pearl River Delta. I use EI as a foundation to train people in leadership, communication, negotiations, presentation skills, etc.

The subject of Emotional Intelligence is a hot one in China, and overall, Chinese managers often display relatively high EI in comparison with managers from other countries.

One of the reasons for this is because of the importance of “guanxi” (relationships) in Chinese society. If you want to be successful in China, your “guanxi” is of the utmost importatnt. Therefore, from a young age, the Chinese are taught how to develop and maintain good relationships with others, especially with those that are in a position to help you advance in your career, business, etc.

Hello One and All in this wonderful Emotional Intelligence Network Group

I reside in the City of Moncton, New Brunswick which is very near the Atlantic Coast of CANADA. For me, EQ is very much like the DNA and since it governs and plays a major role in all areas of our day to day lives, the more a person is aware of the importance of EQ and takes active steps to incorporate it into their daily “Practice”, the more fulfilling and enjoyment that person gets to experience life.
I’m am very much looking forward to participating in the flow of ideas/discussion with others in this marvelous group.

If you need any help, advice or support, contact Lambda Mi today.

Thank you

Michael Boase

CEO and EQ Consultant


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