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Why the Oil Patch Needs Emotional Intelligence

by Jo-Ann Pawliw, Heart of Performance Coaching and Training Co.

What if there was a proven way to increase employee productivity, reduce stress and sick leaves, and improve the company bottom line? What company would not take a hard look at such an opportunity?

Emotional intelligence training now makes a compelling case for energy companies to do just that...take seriously the opportunity to obtain measurable data on improved employee well-being and productivity, and the corresponding impact on their profitability.

Energy companies experience rapid change and flux, great uncertainty and critical decision-making. This requirement is particularly problematic for all employees subjected to the rigors of such challenging circumstances. Oil patch leaders and middle managers can benefit from training in emotional intelligence, for their own personal well-being, but also to enhance their performance as productive and successful leaders.

With rising stress levels among employees, there is no better time to take a hard look at the benefits of providing employees with training in emotional intelligence. There is now hard data to indicate that employees with this training experience fewer sick days, and perform at a higher level on the job.

What is "emotional intelligence"? Two of the leading experts in emotional intelligence, Mayer and Salovey, define EI as "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions."

Another way to think of EI is that it is like a GPS system for navigating relationships and the emotions they generate. When a situation becomes stressful, the individual with a high EI is able to remain calm, recognize and control his or her own emotions, astutely read the emotions of those around him, and respond accordingly. Individuals with a low IQ simply react emotionally without understanding their own emotional triggers, or those of people around them.

Experts in the EI field now have a serious body of research to back up their claims that employers will see a pronounced ROI if they provide employees with EI training. Over 80% of competencies that differentiate top performers from others are in the domain of EI, and companies with executives with higher levels of EI are more likely to be highly profitable (Source: Institute for Health and Human Potential). For example, a Motorola manufacturing facility provided training in stress management and Emotional Intelligence, and 93% of its employees had an increase in productivity.

While many employees have been exposed to some kind of "stress management" seminar along the way, most have not heard of "emotional intelligence" or do not have an educated understanding of its profound impact on performance.

EI is not a fad or a hoax. There is very real data now to back up the claim that when employees increase their EI, their ability to navigate and manage their own stressful emotions, and those of their co-workers, their productivity and well-being goes up. The science is clear.

“There is a mismatch between what business does and what science knows.” Daniel Pink

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