State of the Heart Report Key Findings 2023

Written by: Avril Kidd
Key findings of the latest State of the Heart report, which was recently published by 6 Seconds.

Value your people. Value their skills, their efforts, and their overall wellbeing. They are assets to your company and not a dispensable liability.


In this article we look at some of the key findings of the latest State of the Heart report, which was recently published by 6 Seconds. It is the world’s largest study of Emotional Intelligence since 2011.


State of the Heart Report – Key Findings 2023

This year’s State of the Heart (SOH) report shows that, globally, Emotional Intelligence scores have declined for the third year in a row. Sadly, this decline has been across all of the Emotional Intelligence Competencies measured by the 6 Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment (the SEI). The most significant findings are:

  • Most people are more volatile and less able to navigate their emotions;
  • People are less likely to be connected to empathy or a greater sense of purpose;
  • People are less likely to be able to identify and understand their emotions, a skill crucial for mental and emotional health.

Of the 8 EQ Competencies, 3 have declined most significantly. These also happen to be 3 core competencies that we look for in leaders namely.

  • Engage Intrinsic Motivation, which has declined by 6.4%. This inner drive enables you to take action, which indicates that people are feeling stuck.
  • Exercise Optimism, which declined by 5.9%, is a skill that enables you to see new options. When this is low, people feel helpless.
  • Pursue Noble Goals (covered in last month’s edition), declined by 5.5%, indicating that people are lacking purpose or an ability to see a better future.

These 3 competencies are not only the core leadership competencies but also the 3 competencies that are needed to create the energy to move forward in times of great challenge.

Recipe for burnout

This is, sadly, a recipe for burnout, which has been further identified in this same report. The report showed that people are tired, burnt out and not thriving. The Gallup Mood of the World report states that 7 out of 10 people are struggling or suffering and are lonely and isolated.

Not surprisingly, the SOH, shows that Wellbeing has declined globally to a new low and is by far the lowest of the success factors whilst Effectiveness remains the highest. These findings are consistent with what I am witnessing in most of my clients, that they are sacrificing balance and health, ie. Wellbeing, to achieve results.

Sounds like an Employers dream right? Hard working employees going the extra mile! Unfortunately, not! The pandemic, global unrest and unstable economies have pushed many businesses and people to breaking point.  People are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. They are overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. This is a ‘perfect storm’ for burnout!

This BURNOUT Trend is supported by Microsoft’s Work Trend Report as well as Deloitte’s survey and shows that this burnout is also higher in younger workers. The correlation is that the gap in Emotional Intelligence levels across the generations is also widening. “In the wake of the pandemic, we have entered an emotional recession characterized by low wellbeing and high burnout” [SOH]. This mental and emotional crisis is particularly prevalent in the Gen Z generation which is characterized by loneliness and social isolation.


Senior leaders need to start addressing this to change this trend, as it poses a huge risk to future productivity and retention. By investing in our younger workers’ Emotional Intelligence and wellbeing, we should see greater engagement, improved performance and loyalty. Pushing harder to achieve better results is not the answer. The return on investment for my clients who are addressing these issues and investing in their people, and particularly their emerging leaders, is evident.

Here are some tools we can use to support our teams, especially the younger generation entering our workforce:

  • Help them to find meaning in their work and lives (Purpose and Noble goals), as the survey also showed that only 23% of employees are engaged. This high disengagement (67%) is largely due to them not finding meaning in their work and becoming emotionally detached. People are dragging themselves to work every day to do a job that they are not passionate about, don’t see meaning in, and don’t enjoy, and they feel undervalued and unappreciated. As Simon Sinek says, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion”.
  • Build on their strengths to ignite their Intrinsic motivation, and
  • Help them to see the opportunities and possibilities by exercising optimism!

Awareness is the start to making positive change! Action is what is needed to effect the change, so start investing in the EQ of your younger employees to develop sustainable teams.