These are good questions. When addressed in leadership selection and advancement criteria, the impact of training and advancing Emotionally Intelligent leaders with the capacity for empathy is measurable in an organization’s bottom line. This impact will register in either cost savings or productivity improvements. Possibly, both. Are there gender differences?
According to new research by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry, women score higher than men on nearly all emotional intelligence competencies, except emotional self-control, where no gender differences are observed.
“Research shows, however, that the reality is often the opposite. If more men acted like women in employing their emotional and social competencies, they would be substantially and distinctly more effective in their work.”
Data from 55,000 professionals across 90 countries and all levels of management, collected between 2011-2015, using the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory, developed and co-owned by Richard E. Boyatzis and Daniel Goleman, found that women more effectively employ the emotional and social competencies correlated with effective leadership and management than men.
“Historically in the workplace, there has been a tendency for women to self-evaluate themselves as less competent, while men tend to overrate themselves in their competencies,” said Boyatzis. “Research shows, however, that the reality is often the opposite. If more men acted like women in employing their emotional and social competencies, they would be substantially and distinctly more effective in their work.”
In fact, when assessing the competency levels of both men and women across the 12 key areas of emotional and social intelligence, the researchers found:
- The greatest difference between men and women can be seen in emotional self-awareness, where women are 86% more likely than men to be seen as using the competency consistently (18.4% of women demonstrate the competency consistently compared to just 9.9% of men).
- Women are 45% more likely than men to be seen as demonstrating empathy consistently.
- The smallest margin of difference is seen in positive outlook. When it comes to this emotional intelligence competency, women are only 9% more likely to exhibit the competency consistently than men.
- Other competencies in which women outperform men are coaching & mentoring, influence, inspirational leadership, conflict management, organizational awareness, adaptability, teamwork and achievement orientation.
- Emotional self-control is the only competency in which men and women showed equal performance.
“The data suggests a strong need for more women in the workforce to take on leadership roles,” said Goleman. “When you factor in the correlation between high emotional intelligence and those leaders who deliver better business results, there is a strong case for gender equity. Organizations must find ways to identify women who score highly on these competencies and empower them.”
As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of providing resources to further nurture and develop female leaders, women who score highly in these emotional and social intelligence competencies will rise to the top. Further, as these competencies underpin highly effective performance, men have a great opportunity to learn from women in the workplace how to best leverage these emotional and social competencies to become more effective leaders. Through greater emotional intelligence, both men and women are able to boost performance within their organizations, accomplishing their goals through both internal and external stakeholders.
In addition, levels of emotional intelligence displayed by a leader are strongly related with how long their team members plan to stay with the organization. Leaders with strong emotional intelligence create conditions that inspire team members to stay and contribute to the organization long-term. Conversely, leaders with low emotional intelligence have greater potential to drive team members away from the organization.
- Emotional Self-Awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects
- Emotional Self-Control: Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check
- Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change
- Achievement Orientation: Striving to improve or meeting a standard of excellence
- Positive Outlook: Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks
- Empathy: Sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns
- Organizational Awareness: Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships
- Coach and Mentor: Sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities
- Inspirational Leadership: Inspiring and guiding individuals and groups
- Influence: Wielding effective tactics for persuasion
- Conflict Management: Negotiating and resolving disagreements
- Teamwork: Working with others toward shared goals. Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.
What the research failed to report is whether women are men are socialized into expressing different qualities of emotional intelligence. So we decided to interview a clinical psychologist on the subject. The answer is yes. You can listen to the podcast with Dr. Christine Allen here.
- Typically, team members planning to stay for more than 5 years or until retirement report that their manager displays an average of eight EI competencies consistently.
- Conversely, team members planning to stay for less than 12 months report that their manager displays an average of just three competencies consistently.
- Leaders who are perceived as not demonstrating any EI competency consistently have twice as many employees planning to leave within 12 months versus those who have one or more strengths (13.7% versus 6.0%).
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