Corporate leaders can be skeptical with good reason. It appears every year, or so, another idea comes out of business schools, and academia promotes the latest fad. It translates into workshops and seminars that may go nowhere. Leaders are concerned about goals and objectives. They also want to be sure that they are not the only ones who are involved in the novel notion.
Emotional intelligence on the surface sounds like another Harvard case study concept. However, there is more to emotional intelligence than the research. Several very important companies are promoting emotional intelligence and winning because of it.
Amazon is a company whose CEO, Jeff Bezos, has bought into the importance of emotional intelligence. He is deeply concerned with customers and how Amazon reacts to their needs. Someone who uses emotional intelligence in the internal market is Howard Schultz of Starbucks. He is noted for his empathy and commitment to doing the best for his employees. Results of his efforts show in the positive figures on the bottom line of the financial reports. Starbucks works to put emotional intelligence into the customer service provided to those who purchased the coffee. The company has what it refers to as the LATTE method:
- Listen to the customer’s problem.
- Acknowledge the complaint.
- Take action to solve problem.
- Thank the customer for showing patience.
- Explain why the problem occurred in the first place.
Deloitte Consulting is a major force in financial advice. This global giant also recognizes the importance of emotional intelligence and has incorporated it into its leadership training. The Container Store is a big box company which strives to create a superior customer experience. This corporate strategy is centered on emotional intelligence, and those traits are evident in the entire customer encounter. The list of companies committed to emotional intelligence goes on, including such major market players as Southwest Airlines, PepsiCo, Cisco Finance, and Whole Foods Market.
The reasons for the commitment to emotional intelligence are more than just trying to live by the Golden Rule. Social media and the Internet marketplace has made it tough for companies to compete successfully. Consumers are very choosy and do not have the brand loyalty once assumed. The ability to access many companies offering goods and services makes customer service critical. Mobile devices permit a person to jump to another website without finishing a transaction. The empathy and concern for others which are hallmarks of emotional intelligence can help keep a very fickle customer base from moving on somewhere else.
Employee Relationships are Affected
The same goes for employees. In the 1950s there was a very authoritative management style, almost Prussian in nature. An employee followed orders and stayed the same company for an entire career. This kind of stability is gone. Businesses can expect their staff to move on if those workers are not appreciated. Enterprises that are involved in software development or any high-tech operation must keep good employees as long as possible. The golden handcuffs of benefits and pension will not suffice. Time and again it surfaces that it is the way employees are treated which make them want to stay.
Emotional Intelligence is Sensible
The companies mentioned above primarily deal face-to-face with customers. Customer service happens to be one of the best means of publicity. A person who is well treated is going to be coming back is repeat business. That individual may also bring a few friends. Consistently, emotional intelligence has proven itself to be a primary reason for corporate success in the 21st century. There is no indication that management style is going to devolve back into the old way of doing things. It simply is not going to happen, and forward-looking companies are going to adopt emotional intelligence tactics.
The research suggests that developing emotional intelligence helps the company. Nevertheless, executives are still concerned about the cost in time and money to instill a healthy emotional intelligence program. One possible way of determining the value is a simple pretest/posttest. The company looks at productivity levels before installing emotional intelligence program, and then looks at productivity results after a period of time. We believe that the executives will be pleasantly surprised with the positive changes that occur. Leaders who develop emotional intelligence have been proven to be extremely efficient, effective, and productive.