Business Trends: Connecting the Dots Between EQ and Performance

Business Trends: Connecting the Dots Between EQ and Performance

Plato’s philosophy has been undisputed for well over two thousand years. He was right on the mark when he said,”Questions are the creative acts of intelligence.”

Talent acquisition and employee retention, undeniably among the top concerns of Human Resources leaders, hinge on the success of talent management directives. Data-driven workforce decisions reveal ways to expose the reasons behind gaps in employee productivity and discover tactics to improve engagement. 2018 has seen an upswing in self-directed micro-learning, the rise of artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality tools, and multigenerational employees. With this in mind, it is necessary to build relevant and timely processes and procedures for acquisition, onboarding, and mentoring specifically geared to the needs and particular challenges of your industry. Now is the time to take advantage of modern strategy and put some muscle in your hustle. Look for those potential employees with a high EQ rather than a high IQ.

Why evaluate emotional intelligence levels during the hiring process? It is far from a simple task, but one that cannot be overlooked.

In a Forbes leadership article, contributor, and author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry tells us that “Emotional intelligence is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence. EQ is not genetic. It is a collection of soft skills that can be learned and honed.

Emotional Quotient is a skillset that is almost primitive. Call it survival skills or call it street smarts – it is what enables some people to navigate through a daily maze of complicated turns and come out on the other side almost effortlessly. In the game of life, they have the personal, social and survival skills to come out a winner. They are able to sculpt controversial political and social issues into a platform that works for them. People with a high EQ are characteristically excellent leaders. People like to be around them, and people will follow their lead. These folks are a good fit in any business venue.

Hiring a candidate that is not a good fit is a time waster and an expensive mistake. 

The average cost-per-hire for a new employee is about $4,100, and the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days, according to Society For Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Human Capital Benchmarking Report. That is a considerable amount of money to spend on an applicant who is not a good fit. Looking for the perfect team member gives the hiring manager a definite advantage in terms of cost-savings and accomplishing his or her goals.

 Granted, a candidate with an impressive GPA from a prestigious university and MBA after his or her name has the intelligence (IQ) to fill a position. Their credentials indicate that they have an ability to learn and effectively apply their knowledge to enhance their skill set. They understand. However, this alone may not be the best indicator of corporate success. There is an interesting adage in the world of human relations,”A high IQ will get you through school, a high EQ will get you through life.”

People with high a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) feel. They recognize, evaluate, express, and rely on emotions to facilitate long-range planning. They maintain control in their relationships with others and they remain in control of themselves. If technical competencies are equal, when selecting a candidate for your business, delve deep and look below the surface. This is especially true for a leadership position.

In the majority of cases when new hires fail it is not because they do not have the skills necessary for the position. They fail because:

  • They are not able to accept and benefit from feedback.
  • They cannot manage their emotions.
  • They lack motivation
  • They do not have the correct temperament

Maintaining corporate culture is paramount to continued profitability and ensuring future success. Shifting the direction of the interview focus to one that gauges the ability to handle emotions and motivation is key to finding the best candidates for open positions as well as weeding out those that are not a good fit.

So, how can you determine a candidate’s EQ before you make an offer?

Make Emotional intelligence (EQ) interview questions effective.

Ask emotionally charged questions to get in touch with their personal side. Do they like to travel? What kind of books do they enjoy? Are they involved in any civic or community projects? What are they most passionate about? How do they balance work and leisure?  A candidate’s answers reveal:

  • How they handle change
  • If they rely on common sense
  • Communication techniques
  • Sound decision-making ability
  • Emotional control
  • Empathy
  • Honesty
  • Organization skills
  • Resourcefulness
  • social skills
  • Stress tolerance

Employees with high emotional intelligence collaborate effectively with their teammates, value open communication, and respond positively to change. Marya Mannes, the American author, and critic, said,

“The sign of intelligent people is their ability to control emotions by the application of reason.”

Inevitably, perception becomes reality. It is not about the words, it is how they are perceived. Candidates with emotional intelligence sound sincere when they speak. They have the ability to discount generalizations, think abstractly and put ideas and thoughts into proper context. These are leadership qualities that circumvent a high IQ or a stellar GPA. These traits do not show up on a resume, and these are the traits that will take your business to the next level.

Currently, Millennials, all 60 million of them, make up the lion’s share of the workforce. Although considered high maintenance, they are also high-impact, high-achieving employees, and they exude EQ. With almost a singular focus on responsibility, to themselves and to those around them, they are socially aware, highly productive, and they play well with others. Following close behind, we have the leading edge of Generation Z (a.k.a. “millennials on steroids,”.) The Z’s are just beginning to graduate and enter the workforce with a whole new set of talents and requirements.

Like Millennials, these young people are supercharged, but unlike their predecessors, they do not feel entitled. They have lived through hard times and recognize and appreciate the value of hard work. They are far more cynical and much more empathetic. Z’s are masters of multitasking, technology dependent, and instinctively think abstractly. They are the embodiment of emotional intelligence, and they are yours for the taking.

In a Forbes leadership article, contributor, and author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry tells us that “Emotional intelligence is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.” EQ is not genetic. It is a collection of soft skills that can be learned and honed. The higher the EQ quotient in your business, the fewer issues you will have with mismanagement and miscommunication.

What happens when employees with high EQ become leaders in the workplace?

  • A collaborative work ethic emerges
  • Productivity is enhanced
  • Morale and motivation increase
  • Interpersonal relationships are formed
  • Creativity flourishes.
  • Job satisfaction prevails
  • Employee tenure increases.

What are the characteristics of high EQ employees? 

Emotional intelligence helps individuals to be self-aware and able to recognize emotional responses to actions or situations.  As a result, they are able better able to address problems and handle any future potential complications. High EQ people do not make rash or knee-jerk decisions. They self-manage, review the total situation calmly and base decisions on sound theory.

High EQ employees are not closed minded. They crave intellectual stimulation, they embrace diversity.

High EQ candidates can see the bigger picture. They are far from self-focused and they do not criticize or judge the actions of others.

People with high EQ have excellent communication skills. They can clearly express thoughts. This is exactly why they are sought after in business.  They can clearly relate directions and they inspire and motivate others. An important skill for leaders, communication can be a deciding factor in whether the team works well together. They are able to manage conflict, and they know how to listen. These employees handle difficult situations well, have a sense of humor, and fully understand what is within their control. In short, they are acutely aware of their feelings.

Knowledge@Wharton, an online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, published a list of the top 10 skills employees will need to succeed in 2020:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People Management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgment and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

The stakes are high, and the time is now for talent management and human resources professionals to develop methods for recruiting a people-centric workforce. Hiring the right person, at the right time, for the right position leverages leadership competencies to help others become more productive.

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