The Importance of Having an Emotionally Intelligent Workforce

Emotional Intelligence. This term keeps popping up everywhere at the moment, it was even mentioned on the Ryan Tubridy breakfast show this morning in relation to Big Brother! What is so important about Emotional Intelligence or E.I., and what relevance has it to you as a person, in your life, work and in your training and development?

What determines Success?
Alfred Binet carried out the first cognitive intelligence test in France in 1905. This later became known as the Stanford-Binet test, after it was standardised at Stanford University for the American population. Since that time, many have argued that this test only measured one of our intelligences (others include emotional, spatial, musical, and artistic). However, it has taken over 50 years for Emotional Intelligence to be taken seriously. Emotional Intelligence is how we relate to ourselves, others and our environment in general. It is defined by Dr. Reuven Bar-on, as ‘an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures; and it is a factor in determining one’s ability to succeed in life.’

We all want to be successful in our lives and, until now, success equalled straight As. The average student often looked at the high achievers at school as being more successful than they were. Yet, evidence does not prove this to be the case. Studies have been carried out following children from primary school, through second and on into third level education. They then returned at various stages to these same individuals to check how they were faring in the race called life, taking in all aspects including work, home and family. What they found was that academic success does not always equal ‘being a success’. The average student was often the most successful, when all aspects of their life were taken into consideration, often having the better job and happier home life. Clearly, Cognitive Intelligence or IQ is not the only factor in determining success, there is another intelligence at play, and that is Emotional Intelligence.

Unpredictable behaviour
Have you ever worked in an environment in which the atmosphere was tense, due to the unpredictable behaviour of one member? Do you remember (or are you experiencing) the stress that such an atmosphere causes? Have you ever noticed the domino effect this has on everyone in the workplace? How can you function properly in an environment like this if you are waiting for a sudden outburst of uncontrolled anger, verbal abuse, blame or criticism, sudden highs or lows in mood? This is not a healthy way to work, and it is also not a productive way to work. It is particularly stressful if that person is a supervisor or manager.

People function better, and are much more effective and productive if they are in a happy and relaxed environment. They will want to go to work and will work more effectively; they will also be willing to put in that extra effort. So how do you improve behaviour, work atmosphere, and all the connected areas? The answer is the use of Emotional Intelligence.

The Use of Emotional Intelligence
Daniel Goleman in his bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ (1995), defines E.I. as ‘the capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.’ The unpredictable member of the workforce described above did not have this capacity, hence his colleagues suffered as a result. The ability to manage emotions was not present, and the skills needed to cope with the pressures of everyday life and work (as defined by Dr. Bar-on) were not developed. His colleagues suffered due to the lack of emotional intelligence present in this individual. Emotional intelligence can also be lacking in teams and companies in general. The good news is, that when areas of weakness are identified, in the individual, team or company, they can be worked upon and improved.

There are many people associated with the growing awareness of E.I., among them Peter Salovey and John Meyer, who in 1990 defined E.I. as ‘the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.’ This definition is very relevant to behaviour within the work environment and, if a workforce could behave in this manner, this would create an emotionally intelligent environment in which the unpredictable behaviour mentioned above would not occur, or could be dealt with effectively if it did occur.

The fact is that no amount of training and development, education or team building will have true impact, if the E.I. of the individual or group is under-developed. The introduction and application of E.I. to corporate environments can reinforce the success of the workforce in general, whatever the activity or size of a company. E.I. is necessary at all levels and, if senior levels embrace and apply E.I. in their daily dealings with all peers and employees, this will filter down through a company.

The BarOn EQ-I®
In the 1980′s, psychologist Reuven Bar-on, was researching ways to measure emotional intelligence and developed the term Emotional Quotient or EQ., which in turn lead to the EQ-I® or emotional-quotient inventory®. The BarOn EQ-I® psychometric assessment is the most validated measure of E.I. available. It measures E.I. based on five scales that are then further divided into fifteen subscales. The results of the inventory are a good indicator of how effectively we will perform, as individuals and as teams. The EQ-I® scales are:
o Intrapersonal – measures our ability to know and manage our own emotions.
o Interpersonal – measures our ability to relate to and get along with others.
o Adaptability – measures how flexible we are & our ability to solve problems.
o Stress Management – measures how well we tolerate stress and control our impulses.
o General Mood – measures our happiness and optimism

The areas that are measured in the BarOn EQ-I® are as applicable to a team as they are to an individual. For a team to work effectively, and maximise its’ performance, it needs to be aware of its’ E.I.; ‘the result will be greater collaboration, creativity, and productivity’ (Vanessa Urch Druskat & Steven B. Wolff). A team’s E.I. is not measured by the EI of individual members but is the measure of the E.I. of the whole group as it is a synergistic relationship.

Emotional Intelligence can be introduced into a company in various ways. It begins from the moment a new employee enters a company. It deals with how workers relate to each other, how managers manage, how responsive the organisation is to the needs of its people, and many other areas.

E.I. based Training and Development can concentrate on the skills that are relevant, including Interpersonal Relationships, Stress Tolerance, Problem Solving and Leadership Skills. If the areas of weakness are assessed through the use of the BarOn EQ-I® test beforehand – test options include a Leadership Report, a Group/Team Report and an Individual Report – the results of EI-based training will be reinforced

As Steven J. Stein says in Make your Workplace Great, ‘The benefits of working in an Emotionally Intelligent environment are enormous, and the impact on all involved is beyond measure.’

Eileen Woodford outlines how it pays to ride the wave of the recent resurgence of Emotional Intelligence

The Top 5 Business and Consumer Telecom Scams

Telecom scams and fraud continues to be a multi-billion dollar problem for the U.S. consumer and for business organizations. As the telecom industry changes, so do the methods of scam artists. The best line of defense is to be aware of the current scams and types of telecom fraud that are popular and often easily carried out by scam artists.

Below is a list of the top 10 telecom scams and fraud alerts that you should know about. Aimed at both businesses and consumers, these tactics have cost victims 10′s of millions in losses in the last year alone.

#1 – “Do Not Call List” Scam

The national “do-not-call” list was put in place to protect consumers and businesses from being bombarded with telemarketing pitches. Some clever scam artists are now using the list as a tool for stealing personal identities. How does it work? Victims receive a call from someone claiming to represent the federal or state “do-not-call” list. The caller then asks for personal information (to verify identity of course) such as social security numbers or bank account information as a requirement for being enrolled in the registry.

#2 – 72# Forward Calling Scam,

This scam often originates from inside a prison or correctional facility. The victim will receive a collect call with the news that they have won a sweepstakes or prize. To claim the prize they are only asked to input a series of numbers on their touch-tone phone. This activates the call forwarding feature (#72) essentially allowing the caller free access to the victim’s phone line. All calls – including long distance calls and collect calls – are then billed to the unsuspecting “sweepstakes winner”.

#3 – 809 or 832 Area Code Scam

This is a common telecom scam and has caught many unsuspecting consumers and businesses off guard. Phone calls, voice mail messages and numeric pagers and even emails are the means for reaching victims. Recipients of these calls, voice messages, emails and especially numeric pages are asked to call a telephone number that begins with the 809 (or 823) area code.

With the proliferation of new area codes over the last 10-15 years, (and now free long distance calling plans) most individuals do not give it a second thought when returning the call.

These area codes are indeed legitimate but originate from the Caribbean islands. The problem is that they function as “pay-per-call” numbers, similar to 900 numbers in the U.S. The 809 number can be set up to be billed at $10, $100, or $1000 or more per minute. Victims may not even realize they have been conned until they get their next phone bill. Then they are in for quite a shock!

#4 – PBX Hijack Scam

Aimed at businesses, this scam is very similar to the #72 scam detailed above. A business will receive a call from someone with a line like “hello, I’ve been working with Joe Smith in the telecom department and we need you to dial 9-0 to test a new feature on our phone system.” This gives them access to phone lines mainly for international calling. Thousands of dollars can be racked up in a matter of days – all courtesy of the corporation being scammed.

#5 – “Cramming” and “Slamming” Scams

“Cramming” and “slamming” make up the most lucrative and widespread telecom scams in existence today. In fact, representatives from established companies such as MCI and ATT have been known to be users of these tactics.

Slamming occurs when telephone service (usually long distance service) has been switched without the consent of the customer. It is usually the result of deceptive sales practices on the part of telemarketers. Slamming can also occur as the result of a sweepstakes or prize drawing signature, or even as a check sent to the customer through the mail. Upon cashing the check the customer is then switched to the new service.

“Cramming” occurs when additional phone service (or Internet) items or features are included on the customer bill without being requested. Third parties and the carriers themselves are notorious for including these “additional” charges.

Cramming charges usually fall into one of three categories: one-time entertainment services, monthly recurring membership fees, or telecom features such as voice mail, paging, Internet charges, inside wire maintenance, etc.

Local Exchange Carriers are legally required to bill for third party vendors so cramming charges can be applied by simply forwarding charges to the local telephone company on your behalf. A thorough telecom audit of your corporate bills can uncover many cramming and slamming occurrences. Since these charges routinely return back on the bills once they are removed, it is advisable to conduct a complete telecom audit at least twice per year and monthly if possible.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, also known as EI, is the innate ability of a person to perceive, assess, and influence one’s own emotion and the emotions of other people around them. The term emotional intelligence itself originated with Dr. Wayne Payne 1985, but the term became popular with the book Emotional Intelligence, written by Daniel Goldman in 1995.

Studies in the early 1990′s by John Mayer and Peter Salovey came up with a working model of emotional intelligence that defined it as the capacity to understand and to reason with emotions. In their analysis, Mayer and Salovey, broke emotional intelligence down into four parts:

1. Self Awareness: the ability and need to understand your own emotions, knowing what those emotions are, and acknowledging those feelings.

2. Need Management: that is the ability to handle emotions in a mature way that is relevant to the present situation.

3. Self Motivation: the ability to remain focused on a goal despite your level of self-doubt and impulsiveness.

4. Empathy: the ability to tune into the feelings of others and effectively understanding them pretty much the same way as they understand themselves.

5. Managing relationships: the ability to handle conflict negotiations and third party mediations.

Why is emotional intelligence important?

Despite the fact that emotional intelligence lacks the volume of quantitative empirical cognitive research that IQ has, the research in the field of cognitive learning has suggested that emotional intelligence is a key fundamental aspect of learning. According to a report published by the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs, the level of success that a student has learning new material boils down to their individual levels of confidence, self-control, curiosity, their ability to communicate, their cooperativeness, their elatedness and their intentionality. All these traits are aspects of emotional intelligence.

More recently social scientists are beginning to uncover the relationship of emotional intelligence to other organizational psychologies, such as leadership, group performance, individual performance, interpersonal exchange, performance evaluations, and change management. Humans are social beings and as such our level of success when dealing with people is intimately linked with our level of emotional intelligence.

Improving your level of emotional intelligence

Researches and scientists see the intelligence quotient, also known as I.Q., as fixed, meaning that it does not change throughout ones lifetime. E.I. differs greatly from I.Q. in that E.I. can be improved through a combination of life experience, maturity, conscious thought, and perseverance. You can improve your level of emotional intelligence by doing the following:

1. Think back to the most recent time you can think of when you had hurt somebody’s feelings and analyze what your reactions were at the time and analyze what you said that inflicted emotional pain on the other person. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and empathize with them and their feelings as you said these words. In this drill, you will effectively increase your understanding of empathy thereby increasing your level of emotional intelligence as a result.

2. Instead of finding fault with others, develop a mindset of positive thoughts and try to seek positive solutions on a given problem. Remember that everyone you deal with is human and as humans we make mistakes. Also by being human we have the ability to learn from our mistakes and by creating a positive attitude we can effectively coach other people and ourselves to move forward instead of blaming other people or events for mistakes.

3. Realize that in order to succeed in the game called life, it becomes necessary to have a high level of interpersonal communication with those around you. You are, for the most part, helpless without other people to help you along the way. By better understanding their emotional needs you will be able to communicate with them more effectively and more accurately thus paving the way to your own personal success.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence is one’s ability to understand their own emotions and also the emotions of the people that are around them. The emotionally intelligent person makes each day of their life a lesson in emotional intelligence and it is their goal to increase their level if emotional intelligence each day as they communicate with other people around them and themselves.