Boost Productivity with a Shot of Emotional Intelligence

You’ve been mandated to increase productivity in your division. Your choices for training, schedules, team selection, and project management need to show results. Suddenly, the process speeds up! You’re inundated with mandates and overwhelmed with deadlines. You feel like Lucille Ball in the candy factory with chocolates speeding by on a conveyer belt. What’s the best strategy? Which employee in which role? Will your strategy make any difference? Like Lucy, you stuff the mistakes under your hat and go home feeling sick.

No need to grab your lunch pail and run from the factory. Instead, use your Emotional Quotient to increase workforce productivity.

“Leaders must be more emotionally intelligent to be more effective and efficient at maximizing outcomes and desired results.”

Glen Llopis, Forbes Leadership – September 2012


First, as discussed in Engage Your Crew to Keep Your Ship Afloat,  create a work environment that motivates engagement. Already checked that box and productivity is still sagging? Expand extrinsic and intrinsic provocation to have your team working at its best.


Raise performance with external rewards by providing enticing perks. According to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, perks need not be payroll increases either, as, “there is little evidence to show that money motivates us, and a great deal of evidence to suggest that it actually demotivates us.”  Instead, swap the cents for incentivesOffer long-term bonus goals in the form of travel opportunities or additional paid time-off. Good short-term bonus goals are (company approved) discounted health club memberships, gift certificates for restaurants, spas, or sports games. Be creative: reduce tension and stress by sponsoring an in-house chair massage center on Fridays during the dreariest winter month.


Ford’s assembly line was efficient for cars but not workers and their needs: don’t treat your team members like they’re just boxing chocolates. Today’s workforce is savvy, smart, and need to know how their contributions make a difference. To build intrinsic momentum, point out where individual contributions on a current project– like pieces of a puzzle — are integral to the ‘big picture.’  Share successful outcomes along the journey to validate how -regardless of the role – each individual’s performance makes an impact. Satisfy the human desire to do greater good by linking a percentage of specific project profits to a community organization, educational grant or charitable cause.


Lucy’s only job was to wrap chocolates. Follow her lead and improve productivity by wrapping up multi-tasking. Though we believe  our ability to multitask increases our efficiency,  research shows that attempting several tasks at once results in lost time and productivity. Roll out an initiative that requires others be fully present and do one thing at a time. Start with group agreement to keep laptops and personal phones away during meetings and conference calls. Promise to shave time off the meeting as a group incentive! Mono-task around them to model commitment and support their attempts.


Just as the right tool for the job is crucial, according to an article in Bloomsburg Business by Amy Barrett, “getting the right people into the right jobs is key to your company’s growth.” Your team members are individuals, with specific preferences, work, and management styles. Use your emotional quotient to pay attention to others’ interpersonal work and communication styles. See where they fall among these well-known styles: Analytical, Forthright, Systematic, Personal. Talk it out with them to confirm your hypothesis. By asking a few simple questions, you can gain powerful insights.

  • What do you excel – or not – at?
  • What do you love –and dislike – about your job?
  • What would you like to do more of  – or less of – in your role?

Simply tapping into an employee’s personal aptitude will result in a greater sense of ownership that will move production into full speed ahead.


Don’t just speed up the conveyor belt to increase productivity.  Develop a flexible, personal and diverse approach that serves your growing business and the individuals. Allow passion and purpose to drive productivity and when it succeeds treat yourself to a box of chocolates.


This blog is part of an article that first appeared in Ariel Group May 17, 2016. View it at: