In recent years we’ve seen a lot of discussion about Emotional Quotient (EQ) or Emotional Intelligence (EI). Just last month, The Harvard Business Review (HBR) published an article providing a real world example of Emotional Intelligence to help people wrap their head around the topic. The example discusses why Esther, a seemly ideal manager of a small team, is struggling with overall management performance. The example encourages us to review all aspects of EI which are often missed.
There are a number of different Emotional Intelligence models available. For instance, the HBR’s example of EI focuses on four domains/constructs which group behaviors into four categories, while Goleman’s model identifies fives constructs. Regardless of the model, Emotional Intelligence can aid in understanding this facet of employee behavior. The key is having a well-constructed psychometric tool to measure the behaviors properly and more importantly, knowing what to do with the information once you’ve received it.
What to do with the information received is where most organizations struggle. While all of this is interesting, how does it become important? How do we use this new information to predict future performance or evaluate if someone will be a strong leader?
The challenge is Emotional Intelligence by itself is not a holistic measure of a
person. A successful leader in a business must also execute on strategic thinking, critical/cognitive thinking and many other competencies dependent upon the specific position. Therefore, while EI is important and can be used to hone in on specifics during individual development, it’s recommended that employers use an assessment tool that measures a full behavioral profile which includes EI behaviors during hiring. This broader view of a whole person approach matches the recommendations from O*net, the US Department of Labor’s online resource for occupational information. In O*net’s guide, Testing and Assessment: An Employer’s Guide to Good Practices, they discuss using a comprehensive psychometric tool and cognitive testing (for appropriate positions) coupled with many other evaluation processes, such as structured interviewing, background screening, drug testing, etc., during the talent acquisition cycle.
Emotional Intelligence is challenging because most don’t understand how to measure it and certainly aren’t sure how to use the information. In recent years, new competency based assessment tools have been developed with output reports any business leader can use for hiring, development and succession planning. These robust tools provide a view into employee behavior that was not possible in past years and are being rapidly implemented by many companies to truly use talent management as a competitive advantage.