Social and Emotional Intelligence (SEI)

“75 percent of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.”
— Center for Creative Leadership

Studies repeatedly confirm that one’s cognitive intelligence (most commonly measured by IQ) is NOT significantly correlated with career success.  From a mobility or growth standpoint, perhaps that is a good fact because adults cannot easily or significantly improve IQ.  What is highly correlated with career success are character traits that can be improved: social and emotional intelligence, self-discipline, and grit.  A growing body of research suggests that these learned traits are better predictors of "success" than the more traditional measures of cognitive intelligence (IQ).

Social and emotional intelligences (“SEI”) include various competencies in the following four categories:

  • Self-awareness (including competencies in metacognition, emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence)
  • Social awareness (including competencies in empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation);
  • Self-management (including competencies in self-control, trustworthiness, initiative and conscientiousness, adaptability, and achievement orientation); and
  • Relationship management including competencies in developing, influencing, and inspiring others, managing conflict, and collaborating).
“Everybody has a plan until they get hit.  Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.” 
— Mike Tyson

Interestingly, one study indicates that while men and women score similarly as to SEI in general, the average women scores higher than the average man on measures of empathy and social responsibility, while the average man outperforms the average woman on stress tolerance and self-confidence measures.

Study after study reflects the individual and organizational benefits of high SEI.  Research findings include the following:

  • Leaders and managers with higher SEI are more productive.

  • SEI skills account for about 75%-80% of the effectiveness of leaders and managers.

  • 70% of the reasons for losing clients or customers is SEI-related.

  • In one study, sales professionals in the top 10% for SEI made, on average, more than twice the sales than those of average SEI.  (A similar correlation was found for those who are highly optimistic.)

  • 50% of time wasted in business is due to lack of trust.

  • Key derailers for leaders include lack of impulse control and the inability to work on teams.

  • For partners at one large financial services organization, high self-awareness added 78% to incremental profit, strong self-management added 390% to incremental profit, and strength in relationship management added 110% to incremental profit.

  • The cost to replace a manager or sales position is 250% of their compensation package.

  • At PepsiCo, executives high in SEI outperformed their peers by about 35%.

SEI is not static and can be improved (without changing one’s "personality").  With focus and coaching, one’s SEI growth can be accelerated and enhanced.  Partners in Thought® support provides assessment and coaching for individuals and organizations seeking to improve their day-to-day level of SEI.