“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” ― H. James Harrington
In order to stay alive and keep growing, any organization knows that they must be able to measure their production. It only makes sense that you have to know where you are in business to continue to be prosperous. If you start by looking at the dawn of the industrial revolution, when American companies were focused on manufacturing something, those measurements seemed very straightforward; obvious things like “how many of it do you make in a day”, “how many of it do you sell a day”, “how long does it take to make one of it”, and of course “how much does it cost”. These things were fairly easy to measure, and those measurements lead to goal setting, and then process refinement. It was very straightforward and “businesslike”. Organizations that used this process became more successful. Those that ignored them typically failed.
Through that lens, organizations saw the need to make decisions based on hard facts. Emotional markers like employee moral, employee engagement and employee satisfaction were really irrelevant. Productivity was measured to an individual level, in a facts only way. Specific behaviors that were detrimental to the output of the organization were outlined and sent out in a memo, and behavior violating the memo was addressed per the policy outlined. Leaders consistently sent the message that emotions had no place in business decision-making; creating workplace environments that were cold and impersonal from a leadership level.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and we realized that the measurements needed to define success are really more complicated. Successful organizations had some common traits that could not be stacked and counted. These traits were not factual, but emotional ones like customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. We realized that people made their purchasing decisions based on fact AND emotion. We developed ways to measure how customers FELT about an organization. Suddenly emotions became important, but only on one side of the equation.
It wasn’t until 1995, when author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman published the book Emotional Intelligence that we started understanding the value of emotions in the workplace. After years of training on what successful leadership should be, the concept of Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) then started to make everything click. E.I. is generally defined as a person’s ability to recognize and control their own emotions, as well as the ability to recognize and manage the emotions of others. E.I. really defined what used to be that thing good leaders just naturally had.
Now that we have started to understand more about E.I., the more we understand the competencies someone with a high E.I. exhibits. We also understand that these different competencies are important not just for leaders, but for every member of an organization. These competencies are about how to relate to others and better communicate; skills that are important for success at ALL organizational levels. Dr. Stevie Dawn who specializes in Emotional Intelligence strategies for the workplace explains the importance of E.I. this way:
“Emotional Intelligence is really about communicating. It is about being aware of your emotions and the emotions of those around you. It is about thinking about the group as a whole when making decisions. It is about looking at the bigger picture. It is about helping others to feel empowered to achieve their goals. It is about doing all these things in a way that makes you likable and trustworthy.”
It is clear that the competencies shown are important to making successful decisions, in business and in life.
So how do you know if your organization exhibits these core competencies? Here are five questions to ask about your organization.
Does your organization communicate important information proactively and transparently?
No organization is perfect. An emotionally intelligent organization makes sure that their people know whats coming and why. From a new sales strategy to a negative story in the media, to have good E.I. means that your people aren’t surprised and unprepared for change.
Is your everyone in your organization given a way to express how they feel about their company and leaders?
An organization with high E.I. knows that how their employees FEEL about their jobs is an important way to measure success. Consistent processes that allow employee to express how they feel about their jobs helps to ensure that their workforce is engaged and passionate about what they do.
Does your organization train all levels of employees about Emotional Intelligence?
Being aware of how each of your employees understand and apply emotional intelligence means that you can start to identify any deficits and address them. Unless all employees receive some basic training on E.I., having leaders with great E.I. doesn’t automatically mean the people on their team do.
Do your leaders really have an “open door policy?”
When it comes to creating an environment with high E.I., being “available” to listen to your employees and peers is imperative. Many leaders will say they have an open door policy, but are too busy to speak with their employees, or speak with them while finishing other tasks. Leaders with good E.I. understand the importance of acting on this policy and make sure they are available to talk to employees one on one, with no distractions.
Does your organization empower your entire workforce?
Organizations that focus on E.I. understand that at all levels, employees want to feel that they are empowered with choices, instead of being tied by policy. This could be as simple as allowing customer facing employees leeway on how they handle a customer complaint, or a robust “suggestion box” where feedback is communicated back out to the employees who make suggestions. No one wants to feel powerless to improve their work environment.
Although there is still debate regarding how E.I. can really be measured, one thing is clear; companies that focus on Emotional Intelligence and invest employee development time around E.I. have realized a whole new level of performance. Gone are the days where there is no emotion in business; thriving organizations accept that how their employees handle their emotions directly ties to success.
These five questions were Eric’s concern while developing Writing for the Soul Workshop™, especially since our program evokes powerful emotions when its participants engage. Our core goal is using writing as therapy to help participants safely get what is on the inside… out. And while recognizing your emotions is an important piece of E.I., it”s certainly not all of it. The role of Emotional Intelligence in personal success is one of the key reasons why we include E.I. Leadership Training from Dr. Stevie Dawn as part of certification to organizations who offer our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ programs.
Would you like to add our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a viable component to the programs your organization already has in place? If you would like more information, please complete the contact form below. Financing is available.