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Why Develop Emotional Intelligence

Leadership Development and Emotional Intelligence Competencies

Leadership is about leaders who achieve extraordinary things within organisations, and who create a culture where their team members follow them with passion and enthusiasm, to improve performance and productivity. This is the challenge of leadership development that needs to be achieved.

Why take on the challenge of Leadership Development?

Hallmark Communities sales staff that developed emotional intelligence were 25% more productive than their low EQ counterparts, and EQ was more important to executive job performance than character, strategic thinking, and focus on results. Talentsmart’s EQ Learning™ program raised individual and team EQ for the low and high EQ groups to improve group cohesion and job performance (Bradberry, 2002)

Multinational Consulting Firm measured the EQ of senior partners on emotional intelligence competencies. Partners high in EQ were responsible for $1.2 million more profit each in their clients than low EQ partners. High EQ partners showed a 139% gain in profit (Boyatzis, 1999).

AT&T participated in a large, cross-industry study that found in all levels of management (from line supervisors to senior executives) increased emotional intelligence, measured through the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal™, accounted for 20% more productivity than low EQ leaders. Ninety-one percent of top performers were high in EQ, while only 26% of low performers were high in EQ. Emotional intelligence explained nearly 60% of job performance across companies in the study. (Bradberry, 2002).

An International Soft Drink Corporation saw division leaders who developed EQ competencies outperform their targets by more than 15%. Division leaders who didn’t develop their EQ missed targets by the same margin (McClelland, 1999).

Top Performers in positions of medium complexity, such as sales clerks and mechanics, are 12 times more productive than weak performers, and 127% more productive than average performers. EQ accounts for more than 60% of the job performance for these positions (Hunter, Schmidt, & Judiesch, 1990; Goleman, 1998).

US Air Force reduced recruiter turnover from 35% annually to 5% annually by selecting candidates high in emotional intelligence. Total cost savings of $3 million per year on a $10,000 investment (Bar-On, 2001).

Across Cultures executives selected for emotional intelligence are more likely to succeed than those chosen for IQ or job experience. In Latin America, Germany and Japan, 74% of top performers were high in EQ while only 24% of low performers were high in EQ (Cherniss, 2003).

L’Oreal realized a $91,370 increase per head for salespeople selected for EQ skills. The group also had 63% less turnover than sales staff not part of the EQ program (Cherniss, 2003).


A study conducted with more than 2 million employees throughout seven hundred companies proved that the length of time an employee stays at a company is determined by his relationship with his immediate superior. (Zipkin, 2000)

43% of employees who leave companies do not do so because of bad salaries, but bad managers. (Goleman, 1998)

Divisional heads with emotional intelligence competencies outperformed their targets by 15-20%, whilst those who lacked these skills under-performed by almost 20%. (McClelland, 1998)

An analysis of top-level executives from 15 global companies showed that 6 emotional intelligence competencies distinguished the stars from the average employees: Development of people; Influence; Adaptability; Self-confidence; Achievement drive; and Leadership ability. One cognitive competency that was as strong in distinguishing the stars from the average employees was Analytical Thinking. (Spencer, 1997)

When supervisors in a manufacturing plant were empowered with emotional intelligence competencies, it was found that lost-time accidents were reduced by 50%, formal grievances were reduced, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250 000 (Pesaric &Byham, 1996).

Effective leaders were identified as those who reported transformational rather than transactional behaviours. Emotional intelligence correlated highly with all components of transformational leadership. (Gardner & Stough, 2002)

In a national insurance company (USA), insurance sales agents who were lacking in emotional intelligence competencies such as self-confidence, initiative, and empathy sold policies worth an average of $54 000. Those who were strong in at least 5 to 8 emotional intelligence competencies sold policies worth $114 000. (Hay/McBer, 1997)

85% of the competencies attributed to successful leaders lie in the emotional intelligence domain. (Goleman, 1998).

As organisations diminish in size, the people who remain behind are more accountable and more visible. These people have to interact more widely with peers, subordinates and customers. They not only have to become more adept at handling relationships, but must be able to deal with feelings and lead in a more efficient manner. In short, emotional intelligence has never been more important for South African workers and their employers.

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