Why Emotional Intelligence in a Manager Is So Important

What is your Senior and Mid-Management recruitment strategy?

strategy
  • Does it involve poaching managers from your competition?
  • Do you recruit from within?
  • Perhaps you screen resumes for overall professional success?
  • Do you recruit college graduates with impressive intellects and cutting edge technical skills?
  • Do you go after candidates with the highest IQs or highest Wonderlic scores?
  • Maybe you simply hire by instinct the person you like the most and believe will perform best in the leadership role.
  • Does an individual’s emotional quotient ever influence your hiring decisions?

Emotional Intelligence Defined

In this article, we will explore the important role in which a person's emotional intelligence can and should play in the workplace.

Emotional intelligence basically pertains to one’s personal and social competence – how successfully a person manages themselves and others through self and social awareness. According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, author and science journalist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, the five key elements to it are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

Robert K. Cooper defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence.”
emotional intelligence - image of light bulb & brain in 2 heads

For just a moment, consider your top employees. Who is the best? The most trusted and respected? The one with the most overall success? It will more than likely be the one who has a high emotional quotient, and it may be a woman rather than a man. Ladies tend to be extremely aware of their shortcomings and often try to control and correct them. Many women also convey empathy quite well, and these are just a few reasons why management teams need not only men but also women as leaders inside their companies.

Do you measure your candidates’ emotional intelligence? If you are not currently in the habit of doing this, you may be out of the loop regarding what experts have to say about the potential regarding individuals with a high emotional quotient.

What are the potential advantages of hiring managers with a high emotional quotient?

happy and engaged employees
  • Leaders will have greater control over their emotions.
  • Employer/Employee relations will improve as managerial skills such as effective communication and empathy work their magic.
  • Leadership will see positive changes in both engagement and production among staff.
  • Employees will experience an emotionally healthier and more satisfying work experience.
  • The work culture will become more inspirational as employees work together successfully towards common goals.

According to Laura Wilcox, the director of management programs at Harvard, emotional intelligence is much more than a “soft” skill. Having a high emotional quotient is kind of like a booster shot for an individual who already possesses the strong intellectual and impressive technical skills for which hiring managers are competing. 

High EI enables men and women to become better managers. Daniel Goleman believes that 90% of the differences which exist between star and average candidates are related to the emotional quotient of the person.

respect between employees - a handshake

Emotionally intelligent leaders practice self-awareness and self-management. Furthermore, they practice social awareness and excel in relationship management. While emotional intelligence may be somewhat of a natural skill, it is also a skill which can be learned, honed and perfected.

Managers such as these can help build the important foundation of trust, respect and positive attitudes among their staff. Employees want to be valued and respected, yet research conducted by TalentSmart revealed that 85% of business people do not “feel” that they are valued and respected by management. And according to an article from Harvard Business Review, this could be because most senior executives lack empathy.

However, because of their social awareness, emotionally intelligent managers can pave the way for smoother, more comfortable and friendlier conversation with their team members. They will be successful in helping those employees “feel” that they are valued and respected. When an employee feels valued, they automatically become more engaged with the company’s goals and objectives.

When true concern and respect are involved, the work employees do for the company and its managers becomes more personal. Both the relationships and the work matter – a lot – because the way in which the manager engaged with the worker was genuine.

authenticity
“Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.”              – Janet Louise Stephenson

According to Aubrey Daniels International, discretionary effort is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, but above and beyond the minimum required. Do your current executives and managers inspire “discretionary effort”? If they do not, your business may possess as-yet untapped potential increases in engagement, production and company morale.

As stated above, emotional intelligence is not a mere soft skill, it’s a game-changing skill for which you should be screening both your employees and best job candidates.

Consider these quotes and statistics from Inc.com regarding emotional intelligence:

emotional and irritated coworkers
  • 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. - Center for Creative Leadership
  • If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. - Daniel Goleman
  • In my 35 years in business, I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most devoted customers. - Kevin Roberts
  • Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the "success" in our lives. - J. Freedman

What steps should a hiring manager take next?

ladder of success - learning, training, instruction, practice
  • Find a way to assess your employees’ and your job candidates’ emotional quotient. We use TTI Success Insights for all our behavioral assessments. Brannon Professionals also has its own Value-Added Associate on staff who is available to consult with hiring managers on the EQ assessments and follow-up reports.
  • Once you have a solid understanding of emotional intelligence and its effects in the workplace, begin training with your managers. Our consultant, Mark Brannon, may be available to provide this training.
  • Employees would also benefit from different aspects of EI training.
  • Incorporate EI practices into the company’s routines and strategies.
  • Measure increases and changes in engagement, productivity and morale.
  • Enjoy the success that EI will begin to usher into your business.

If you have additional questions about emotional intelligence or TTI Success Insights’ EQ assessment, please contact Brannon Professionals at your convenience.