Emotional Intelligence and Corporate Social Responsibility – is there a fit?

June 3, 2010

Is there a link between Emotional Intelligence and Corporate Social Responsibility? Let’s look at what emotional intelligence (EQ) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are first.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development definition: “Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as the local community and society at large.”

And emotional intelligence? I like the Six Seconds definition: “Emotional Intelligence is being smart with feelings so you can develop optimal relationships with yourself and others.”

Mark from Life Options (http://www.markthecoach.com) connects the two: “CSR revolves around an organisation having a sense of belonging, ownership & responsibility towards the community it operates in, and manifesting it through projects it undertakes that benefit the community at large. This obviously involves having an…EQ… corporate culture of collaboration, accountability, selfless giving and achieving goals responsibly.”

Whether the organisation wants to reach out to clients and customers, or engage employees in the mission of reaching out, emotional intelligence is involved.

Joshua Freedman from 6seconds.org adds: “…if a company wants truly motivated employees, they need to consider the deep motivators of purpose, belonging, and significance.  Effective CSR isn’t just about “responsibility” to the community, and should definitely not be just about marketing… But can be part of the overall people-strategy and building a place where top talent is committed to being and doing their best.”

So what does all this mean? It’s not about the money!  It’s not about carbon credits or offsets. It’s not just about donations to community projects. It’s about loyal and productive employees enjoying their roles and enhancing the organisation because they feel engaged and valued.

Notice that in CSR, Corporate comes first, then Social. It will not work well to endeavour to put on a public face of CSR, only to have the employees unhappy and undermining the company in front of clients and customers.

There is a company that a family member used to belong to that engages in CSR. Yet he is not the only one that I have heard complain about the way that company manages its people. While the company is trying to build a public face of CSR, the employees are busy complaining about them. The two are at odds with each other.

Emotional Intelligence encourages employees to work together, to “develop optimal relationships”. Once optimal relationships exist between employees, then the company benefits through optimal relationships with clients and customers.

There are ways to find out the “emotional climate” of your organisation and to enhance emotional intelligence. If you would like more information, contact Jenni Wright by email: goingyourway [at] fastmail.fm