Working with Emotional Intelligence

by Debra Page, STC Secretary

Stephen J. Blakesley, founder of GMS Talent, LP here in Houston, was our featured presenter for the November chapter meeting. Stephen’s organization helps other companies find, develop and retain high-quality employees.

“What do you think of when you hear the word, emotional?” he asked. Audience responses included such words as love and hate, happy and sad, anger, fear, guilt, shame, pride, compassion, despair, and hope.

Emotions play an important part in all relationships, he explained, whether among family members or among team members in the workplace. Emotions are powerful, and they can get in the way of achieving goals. Sometimes, because of the emotional environment on the job, getting any real work done can be incidental to just getting through the work day.

“People don’t leave companies; they leave their managers.” Most employees who leave a job within the first 12 months leave because of a poor “fit” between their emotional needs and abilities and the actual demands of the job. The actual requirements of a job may not be as advertised, which is unfortunate for both company and employee. At 1.77 times salary plus benefits, the average cost of employee turnover is significant. Thus, to be profitable, companies need to minimize employee turnover.

Stephen said the single most accurate predictor of job success is emotional intelligence (EI) rather than IQ or experience. The many benefits of having what Stephen calls emotional understanding in the workplace include mutual respect, stress reduction, increased personal effectiveness, and better team performance. You can increase your own career success by taking control of your emotional intelligence.

Stephen explained that your personal values drive your behavior, and your moods (prevailing optimism or prevailing pessimism) determine your level of emotional intelligence. The four quadrants of emotional intelligence are (1) self-awareness, (2) self-management, (3) social awareness, and (4) social management—each of which, in turn, comprise emotional competencies such as self-assessment, personal accountability, realistic expectations, and leadership.

Fortunately, for the benefit of company and employee alike, established assessment tools can now be used during the human resources processes of selection and performance improvement. Job benchmarks can be used in interviews to achieve a better fit between the candidate and the job from the very beginning.

Can you also improve your EI? Yes. Stephen’s formula for success is P = E x M x EI, in which P = performance, E = environment (which can be one’s emotional environment), M = mood, and EI = Emotional Intelligence level. For example, if E = 5, M = 5, and EI = 6, then P = 150. If E = 5, M = 10, and EI = 8, then P = 400. If you influence the environment or your own moods and emotional intelligence (or all), you can increase your job performance significantly.

You can learn more through Stephen’s book, Strategic Hiring—Tomorrow’s Benefits Today, named one of the Top 50 Business Books of 2006 by Business Book Review. The book is available through the GMS Talent website (,, and Barnes and Noble.

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