How Emotional Intelligence Can Impact Your Bottom Line
In addition to being a 15-year member of TEC (CEO Peer Group), I regularly participate in Executive Education Programs. This year I will be studying Strategic Leadership and Innovation, but interestingly while reviewing various courses, I came across Leading With Emotional Intelligence. The description focused on enhancing business performance. At my wife’s urging, I have read the occasional article on EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient). I have always known that I am a left-brain linear thinker and have thought this to be a critical element to business success. There’s no doubt Linear Thinking, which is based on logic, rules, and rationality lends itself to many professions – dentistry included. So where does EQ fit into dental office performance?
Let us first define EQ or Emotional Intelligence Quotient. EQ is a measure of your ability to monitor, identify, understand, and use emotional information, whether it comes from you or from somebody else. This term became widely known with the publication of Daniel Goleman‘s Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ.
Below are some qualities associated with high and low EQs:
If you have a high EQ:
- You can admit and learn from mistakes
- You can take criticism well
- You stay cool under pressure
- You can control your emotions
- You can conduct thoughtful discussions
- You listen at least as much as you talk.
If you have a low EQ:
- You often think others do not get your point
- You feel that being ‘liked’ is over-rated
- You think people over-react to your comments or jokes
- Usually, others are to blame for problems on your team
- You think you should not be expected to know how others are feeling.
In 2003 The Pankey Institute completed a study on EQ for dentists. They knew prior to the study that high-EQ executives add 127% more to their company’s bottom line than average performers, so it stood to reason that a higher EQ would contribute to a dentist’s success. 144 participants (all who had participated in 6 weeks of Pankey training), answered a series of questions. The study found a strong correlation to practice success and EQ scores, especially in four areas of EQ; (1)emotional self-awareness, (2)reality testing, (3)assertiveness, and (4)self-actualization.
The skills taught in dental schools (and any business program), don’t lend themselves to the development of EQ, and this goes beyond just having a good chairside manner and being superficially pleasant to your patients and staff.
The good news is that Emotional Intelligence can be developed and improved. To start with, work on improving your Active Listening, a crucial skill for any business leader. As an active listener, you will need to focus on all five parts of communication - what’s said, what’s not said, words, the tone of voice, and body language. This is not easy to do – as a society we are not taught to listen, and instead are applauded for having all of the answers.
Over the past 24 years, we have worked with over 7000 practices, and though anecdotal, I can honestly say that there is a strong correlation between practice success and communication, emotional intelligence, and refined listening skills. I have decided to take steps in improving my EQ and registered in both the Strategy and Emotional Intelligence programs, and hope you will take action as well, to work on this critical component of your success and profitability.