High turnover, low engagement plague businesses with low EQ managers

Managers with higher EQ benefit the bottom line of organizations.

A growing body of research suggests that workplaces are in dire need of managers with high emotional intelligence (EQ). While it's a common practice for companies to choose managers based on their tenure or their technical abilities, with no focus on skills like emotional intelligence, a 2013 study from University College London (UCL) found that manager EQ is an important indicator of employee engagement and performance. The researchers found that managers with lower EQ scores were more likely to have higher levels of staff absenteeism and turnover.

And the same holds true for employee engagement, a critical component to business results according to Gallup Inc.'s 2013 State of the Global Workplace survey. The survey, which included 1.4 million employees, found that employee engagement affected customer ratings, profitability, productivity, turnover, safety incidents, absenteeism and theft — adding up to an estimated $300 billion in lost revenue every year. Furthermore, the survey cited that nationwide, only 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged. In addition, according to the survey businesses pick the wrong candidate for a management position 80 percent of the time. With low EQ managers in charge, employee engagement drops.

Clearly organizations need to prioritize building the EQ skills of their managers and, as UCL psychology professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic pointed out in his article for the magazine Chief Learning Officer, while EQ is an inherent trait, it can also be improved.

"There is no single solution to the problem of bad bosses," Chamorro-Premuzic wrote. "However, by shifting an organization's hiring and promotion practices to focus on identifying candidates and incumbents with higher emotional intelligence, providing coaching for low-EQ managers who are willing to […], leaders can enable organizations to reduce the number of bad managers, increase staff morale, and become more effective, innovative and profitable."

The good news for companies is that EQ is a skill that can be measured and developed.

Essi Systems' EQ Map gives organizations a business-proven assessment that helps leaders pinpoint problem areas, develop EQ competencies and target improvements to increase the engagement and performance of their teams.

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