Emotional Competence 1: The Critical Importance of Emotional Management for Business Success

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to learn the skills of managing our emotions. Emotional competence is the ability to manage your own emotions and recognise and manage/trouble shoot the same in others.

It may sound odd to a lot of people but to be highly effective in your career, the domain-specific skills (like knowing about engines if you’re a mechanic, or knowing about computer programmes and how to type if you work with computers, or knowing about anatomy if you’re a doctor, etc.) are actually less important for success in those fields than the skills of building relationships, understanding other people’s emotions and understanding and managing your own emotions. Let’s explore this.

In Daniel Goleman’s book ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence’, he gives in-depth research and countless examples of what he calls ‘star performers’ across many industries. Those who win-out and increase the bottom line of companies – sometimes by millions of dollars – are expert in emotional skills but not necessarily the best performers in domain-specific skills. I guess it must be pointed out, that a person obviously does need a degree of competency with the job skills too – just because I’m a nice person doesn’t make me a good brain surgeon! The point is, emotional management skills win out over ‘hard’ skills every time for success.

Why is this so important? Well, there’s the financial payoff for a start. But there’s also the longevity of the organisation to consider, too. Goleman also quotes data that shows the higher up one goes in an organisation (from front line to team leader, to manager, to director) the more important these skills become. On top of this, there are a lot of jobs these days where front line staff who deal directly with customers and suppliers also need these skills in spades. The good news is that these are competencies – so these emotional/people skills can be learned. This is why training and development is so crucial. For example, I can ‘model’ the emotional competencies of star performers in an organisation and develop training to up-skill all team members to a similar level as your star performers. Imagine the profit! If you have a team of 20 staff and 19 of them are ‘average’ performers earning your company 2% profit each month. But you have a star performer that earns 10%. Imagine the overall profit when you upskill your 19 other staff, so they start earning the same. Even a small percentage increase per team member will make a huge impact on your bottom line. Training will also benefit the star performers, lifting their game even higher, too.

And it’s not just in business; any relationship is dependent on these skills, whether a social group, sports team, or a marriage.

Over my next few articles, I’ll write more about the different aspects of emotional competence and give you some tips to growing your own, so you become more at ease and successful. But for now, we must address a certain hard reality; that not everyone will be up to the challenge of improvement. In any context, (business, sport, social group, personal relationship), you have to know when you’re banging your head against a wall.

Knowing when to cut others loose. It’s a tough decision, but there are times when you have to make some hard choices. I heard someone say that ‘it’s the sign of failure if you can’t resolve an issue by talking it through’. But it takes all parties involved to have enough emotional intelligence/competence to begin with. If not, the best thing to do is to let that person go before they cause irreparable damage to your business. When one or more parties’ resorts to remarks and behaviour such as “Ah well, deal with it” … “I get what you mean, but I’m going to do (X) anyway” … “Ha-ha, suck it up” … or even, (with fingers in ears) “LALALALALA, not listening!  LALALALALA, not listening!” (believe it or not, I’ve heard all of these at various times!); it’s time to end that contract. It takes two. In these cases, no matter how skilled one person is, there is no alternative but to cut the emotionally incompetent person loose or walk away yourself.

My own area of passion is in helping people and organisations develop the highly effective emotional skills necessary for success. Self-Actualisation psychology gives us the techniques for tangible positive results. For more info on developing your own success or that of your organisation or group, contact me; alan@optimum-mind.com.

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