Most organizations have traditionally focused their hiring criteria and training programs on hard skills (eg technical expertise, industry knowledge, education), assessment of personality traits, and intelligence. While a person’s intelligence quotient (IQ) is a valid data point, emotional intelligence quotient (EQ),1 a “soft” skill, is a much more valuable measure, particularly for people in customer service and leadership roles.
Mike Poskey, vice president of ZERORISK HR, Inc., says that assessing “competencies like stress management, assertiveness, empathy, and political/social acumen were never measured in the selection process or focused on in training and development programs. In reality, these are critical success factors that should not be dismissed, and have a direct impact on the bottom line.”2
There are two main brain functions that influence human behavior: emotion and intelligence. These functions reside in different parts of the brain. Because the emotional part reacts to external signals before intelligence, an individual’s initial response is often emotional rather than rational. This emotional response often provides an undesirable outcome.
Since your practice is based on regular interaction with patients, to be successful you and your staff need to understand those emotionally-based reactions and how to control them. This means overcoming impulses. The good news is these responses can be tamed. While our natural impulse may be to respond emotionally to an upset patient, employee, or family member, it is important to use your EQ to develop more appropriate responses.
The following list has been adapted from Mike Poskey’s article “In Focus—The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Part 2 of 3.” This list outlines five emotional intelligence competencies that “have proven to contribute more to workplace achievement than technical skills, cognitive ability, and standard personality traits combined:”3
The Five Competencies of EQ
1. Intuition and Empathy
Our ability to understand another’s point of view. It allows us to behave openly and honestly based on our awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns and includes:
· Understanding others: An intuitive sense of others' feelings and perspectives, and showing an active interest in their concerns and interests.
· Customer service orientation: The ability to anticipate, recognize, and meet customers’ needs.
· People development: Ability to sense what others need in order to grow, develop, and master their strengths; it is vital for those in leadership roles.
· Leveraging diversity: Cultivating opportunities through diverse people.
2. Political Acumen and Social Skills
Our adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others. This is important in the workplace for the following reasons:
· Influencing: Using effective tactics and techniques for persuasion and desired results.
· Communication: Sending clear and convincing messages that are understood by others.
· Leadership: Inspiring and guiding groups of people.
· Change catalyst: Initiating and/or managing change in the workplace.
· Conflict resolution: Negotiating and resolving disagreements with people.
· Building bonds: Nurturing instrumental relationships for business success.
· Collaboration and cooperation: Working with coworkers and business partners toward shared goals.
· Team capabilities: Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.
Enables better understanding of the way emotions affect our performance. Knowing one's internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons:
· Emotional awareness: Recognizing one's emotions and their effects and impact on those around us.
· Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one's strengths and limits.
· Self-confidence: Sureness about one's self-worth and capabilities.
Can help us control our temper and reduce stress by allowing us to act in a more positive, action-oriented manner. Enables us to retain our composure and think clearly under pressure. This involves “managing one's internal states, impulses, and resources. This competency is important in the workplace and includes:
· Self-control: Managing disruptive emotions and impulses.
· Trustworthiness: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.
· Conscientiousness: Taking responsibility and being accountable for personal performance.
· Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change.-Innovation: Being comfortable with an openness to novel ideas, approaches, and new information.”
5. Self-Expectations and Motivation
“Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals. Harnessing this aspect of EQ allows us to enjoy challenges and stimulation and strive for achievement. This is important for the following reasons:
· Achievement drive: Striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence we impose on ourselves.
· Commitment: Aligning with the goals of the team or organization.
· Initiative: Readiness to act on opportunities without having to be told.
· Optimism: Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.
In building and maintaining a highly effective, happy team and a successful practice, it is vital to select team members very carefully for EQ as well as other attributes like experience and skills. If they cannot effectively mesh with you, your current staff, and patients, their skill level is a moot point. Having highly emotionally intelligent employees make up your team will give you an advantage in this highly competitive business world when it comes to attracting and retaining patients who actively refer patients to you.
About the Author
Frank Manfre, BS, is Key Account Manager for Ivoclar Vivadent based in Atlanta. He has more than 12 years of experience working with dental laboratories and dentists, and has served in executive roles in both profit and non-profit corporations. He has also worked as a small business coach and consultant focused on leadership development, building highly effective teams, total quality management, strategic planning, and business development. He serves on the board for the Georgia Dental Laboratory Association, and is a regular contributor to the Journal of Dental Technology and Inside Dental Technology magazine on the topic of business management. He may be contacted via email: email@example.com
1. Poskey M. In Focus—The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Part 1 of 3.
Nex-Temps website. www.net-temps.com/adcgi/banner.cgi?ref=ifnews&ch=1364&id=inf_1364#ixzz3mUhX8DZp. Accessed September 22, 2015.
2. Poskey M. The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Why It Matters More than Personality. Hr.com website. www.hr.com/en/communities/training_and_development/the-importance-of-emotional-intelligence-in-the-wo_eak314gc.html. Accessed September 22, 2015.
3. Poskey M. In Focus—The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Part 2 of 3.
Nex-Temps website. www.net-temps.com/recruiters/infocus/print.htm?id=1374. Accessed September 22, 2015.