Why should your business be interested in an esoteric subject such as Emotional Intelligence? Why should your firm invest training dollars in a program designed to increase emotional competencies for your staff? Does it make a difference when employees are aware of their feelings, values and goals?

For any business that would like to see increases in productivity and efficiency, more effective sales people, more creative teams and more nimble management—the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Psychologists knew the traditional IQ test did not measure all of the factors that comprise an effective, successful, happily productive person. Competence at “book learning” is not the only, and perhaps not the most important, measure of intelligence. Many of the other factors that psychologists found to be important in making people successful in business and in life are included in the terms Emotional Intelligence or emotional competence. The more we are aware of our own emotions, the more control we have over them; and the more we empathize with the emotions of others, the more emotionally intelligent we become. Emotionally competent people have self-confidence, which makes them good leaders and active team players. They maintain an optimistic outlook on life, which helps them overcome obstacles. Their ability to delay gratification and to manage stress, anger, envy and other negative emotions helps them build productive relationships and complete difficult tasks.

Emotional Intelligence is not some New Age, touchy-feely concept. In fact, the United States Air Force saved three million dollars by using Emotional Intelligence screening to select recruiters. Those who had the most Emotional Intelligence were three times as effective as the general candidates. The more emotionally competent recruiters also stayed on the job longer, cutting training costs. The General Accounting Office reported an annual savings of $3,000,000 per year on a $10,000 investment in screening.  It certainly seems that Emotional Intelligence is important for most roles in a business. But business people have one overriding question: how does it affect the bottom line? Can putting employees in touch with their emotions actually make them more productive?