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Leaders With High Emotional Intelligence Make Better Decisions

Research out of Yale shows those with higher levels of emotional savvy make dramatically better decisions.
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Recently, we offered five questions to help you evaluate whether you have high EQ with an eye towards helping those in need of improvement increase their emotional skills. But why should you bother?

That may seem like a simple question -- surely, high EQ makes you better at managing and motivating a team and resolving disputes, right? Yes. But turns out that’s not all. EQ has other less expected benefits for business leaders, including better decision making.

How can emotional savvy improve the choices you make for your company? New research out of Yale suggests that by putting us in better touch with our emotions, high EQ helps us filter the noise and avoid knee-jerk mistakes or decisions fueled by hurt, anger or fear. PsyBlog explains one of the studies:

Participants were made to feel anxious by being asked to prepare an impromptu speech. Then they were asked whether they wanted to sign up to a flu clinic.

The results showed that people with higher emotional intelligence were more aware that the experimentally-induced anxiety they felt was not related to the decision about the flu clinic.

While only 7 percent of those of low emotional intelligence signed up for the flu clinic, fully 66 percent of those with higher emotional intelligence did so.

This was in comparison to around a 50 percent take-up rate for the flu clinic in both groups who hadn’t been made anxious.

Think about just how common this emotional interference can be in your working life. Maybe you have a fight with your significant other in the morning and then grouchily dismiss the job candidate you interview that morning, even though they’d be a star at your business. Maybe a potential partner rejects your proposal on Monday and then on Tuesday, feeling fearful about the prospects for your company, you turn down a new opportunity that would have made you boatloads of money.

Those with the best emotional skills can flag up their own inner states and pinpoint the cause, eliminating emotional noise that might interfere with clear business thinking. And that, it turns out, is incredibly valuable. Maybe it’s time to take a long hard look at your own EQ and shore up any weaknesses.

Have you experienced this sort of emotional interference in decision making?

 

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Dec 20, 2013

JESSICA STILLMAN

Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.




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