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    How to Hire For Emotional Intelligence


    In recent discussions with a number of clients, we touched on the topic of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and the increasing importance this plays in roles of leadership. We agreed that the technical

    skills that often secure first promotions might not be enough to take you to the next level. It has been shown that EQ accounts for nearly ninety percent of what sets high performers apart from their peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.  Conversely, eighty percent of low performers have a low EQ.

    The following short article considers the definition of EQ, what components are a predictor of performance, how to develop EQ and how to interview for these important traits.


    What is EQ?


    EQ is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as the ability to recognise and influence the emotions of those around you. The term was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey and was later popularised by psychologist Daniel Goleman.

    EQ has evolved into a must-have skill and is the strongest predictor of performance in managers. The four components include:

    1. Self-awareness: this is your ability to understand your strengths and weaknesses but also your emotions and the effect they have on your team’s performance.
    2. Self-management: to manage your emotions, particularly in stressful situations, and maintain a positive outlook.
    3. Social awareness: this is your ability to recognise others’ emotions and the dynamics in play within your team and the organisation.
    4. Relationship management: your ability to influence, coach, and mentor others, and resolve conflict effectively.

    How to Develop EQ 

    How to Interview for EQ 

    As senior leaders are promoted, their ability to productively relate to others and influence their organisations will be tested. Self-awareness, listening skills, empathy, influence and concern are all important EQ traits. So, how do you screen for these important characteristics?




    EQ can evolve over time as long as you have the desire and motivation to develop it.

    Stepping into a leadership role brings many challenges in both upward management but also in managing your team. Putting time aside to work on the softer issues of management may seem unimportant but it does go a long way to improving your connection with the stakeholders important to your position but also the company you represent.  Having a high level of EQ emotional intelligence will serve you well in the workplace and in all areas of your life.


    Laundry, L. Harvard Business Review, 3 April 2019, Why Emotional Intelligence is important in leadership.

    Cavallo, K. Corporate Consulting Group and Brienza, Johnson & Johnson, Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, 2001.

    Stahl, A. 5 Ways To Develop Your Emotional Intelligence, May 29 2018.

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