Emotional competence refers to the personal and social skills that lead to superior performance in the world of work. The emotional competencies are linked to and based on emotional intelligence.
A certain level of emotional intelligence is necessary to learn the emotional competencies. For instance, the ability to recognize accurately what another person is feeling enables one to develop a specific competency such as Influence.
Similarly, people who are better able to regulate their emotions will find it easier to develop a competency such as Initiative or Achievement drive.
The US Air Force used the EQ-I to select recruiters (the Air Force’s front-line HR personnel) and found that the most successful recruiters scored significantly higher in the emotional intelligence competencies of Assertiveness, Empathy, Happiness, and Emotional Self Awareness.
An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from fifteen global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: Influence, Team Leadership, Organizational Awareness, self-confidence, Achievement Drive, and Leadership (Spencer, L. M., Jr., 1997).
One of the foundations of emotional competence — accurate self-assessment — was associated with superior performance among several hundred managers from 12 different organizations (Boyatzis, 1982).
The following description of a “star” performer reveals how several emotional competencies (noted in italics) were critical in his success: Michael Iem worked at Tandem Computers. Shortly after joining the company as a junior staff analyst, he became aware of the market trend away from mainframe computers to networks that linked workstations and personal computers (Service Orientation). Iem realized that unless Tandem responded to the trend (Initiative and Innovation), its products would become obsolete . He had to convince Tandem’s managers that their old emphasis on mainframes was no longer appropriate (Influence) and then develop a system using new technology (Leadership, Change Catalyst). He spent four years showing off his new system to customers and company sales personnel before the new network applications were fully accepted (Self-confidence, Self-Control, Achievement Drive) (from Richman, L. S., “How to get ahead in America,” Fortune, May 16, 1994, pp. 46-54).
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