If you are a team leader, hiring manager, or business owner, you don’t want to spend your time and energy hiring a new teammate only to find they don’t fit in. Hiring someone with a high emotional quotient can improve the chances your next employee will mesh with your company culture. Find out how to measure emotional intelligence, and what hiring someone with a high EQ can do for your team.

Why Your Next Hire Should be Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence, also called the Emotional Quotient or EQ, often doesn’t get the same attention as an applicant’s professional experience or academic credentials, but it should. Emotional intelligence affects employees’ ability to work with others and function within a team. Someone with a high emotional intelligence can avoid interpersonal workplace conflicts. If they are in a leadership position, they can also use their high EQ to defuse conflict and resolve workplace disputes.  

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The 5 Aspects of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence can be summed up as the ability to perceive and manage emotions in yourself and others. Many experts divide emotional intelligence into five categories or aspects:

1.      Internal Motivation

Someone with a strong internal motivation will be self-driven. They won’t need close management or oversight to stay on task. Because their motivation is tied to curiosity, purpose, or personal vision, people with strong internal motivation are often more productive. In contrast, low internal motivation is marked by someone seeking constant rewards or praise for the work they have done.  

2.      Self-Regulation

Self-regulation involves an emotionally intelligent person’s ability to control their own emotions, even in uncontrolled situations. Change may be uncomfortable for them, but it won’t derail their progress. Someone with low self-regulation may seem emotionally volatile, or unable to adapt to a changing work environment. In a fast-paced environment, strong self-regulation is necessary to make clear-headed decisions and not get panicked by the challenges around you.

3.      Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the part of emotional intelligence that allows a person to evaluate their own feelings and behaviors and understand how they are received by others. It also allows for “mindfulness” or self-reflection, so that a person understands their feelings and can put them in perspective given the person’s own strengths and weaknesses. Someone with low self-awareness may make social gaffs without realizing it or be unable to rein in their emotions. Strong self-awareness can help to de-escalate conflicts in the workplace, and allow for more effective delegation of tasks to team members based on their respective strengths.

4.      Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand, and often mirror, the feelings of others. It is intuition into the moods and emotional reactions of those around you. Someone with low empathy may not recognize when feelings are hurt and may be emotionally closed off or isolated.  Empathic team members are often in touch with their coworkers. They can help one another feel heard and respected when things are hard, and genuinely celebrate one another’s success.

5.      Social Awareness

Social awareness involves being able to communicate with others and understand their positions. People with strong social awareness are often good listeners and understand the group dynamics at play within a team or company. Lower social awareness can cause a coworker to struggle to fit in; they may experience frequent miscommunications. Social awareness is an important tool for leadership because it enables employees to understand and motivate those around them.

How to Measure Emotional Intelligence

Even when hiring managers understand the importance of emotional intelligence, they may struggle to measure it among new employees. Many companies use personality tests or self-reporting, but these may be unreliable, or miss key aspects of emotional intelligence. Instead, consider working with an organizational development specialist to provide an emotional intelligence assessment, like the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), before or shortly after you onboard new employees.

Strategies for Training Up Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Not every employee will have strong emotional intelligence when they are hired. However, it is a skill that can be trained. By working with a leadership coach, your team members can come to better understand themselves and others, and that, in turn will improve your bottom line.

David Stanislaw is a leadership and executive coach with over 30 years’ experience helping managers and leaders work efficiently and manage teams effectively. Contact us to meet with David and bring on a thought partner for your business goals today.