The importance of emotional intelligence—also known as emotional quotient (EQ)—at work has never been more relevant. Organizations today are experiencing record-level employee burnout, increased emotional stress, and economic pressures that continue to challenge their growth strategies. Understanding a candidate’s emotional intelligence can separate high performers from their peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.    

What is emotional intelligence?

Psychology Today states that“emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” Individuals with high emotional intelligence levels possess the ability to understand and manage their emotions in positive ways. Emotional intelligence helps form strong relationships, be successful at school and work, and attain your goals. It also allows you to make informed decisions and positively connect with your feelings.   

The four pillars of emotional intelligence

Psychologist Daniel Goleman believes that it is not a person’s IQ that defines his/her destiny in life. Rather it’s an individual’s emotional intelligence that plays a major role in thought, decision-making, and individual success. Goleman has identified four pillars or attributes to emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to know your strengths and weakness—as well as your emotions— and recognize how they impact your performance and relationships requires self-awareness. Leaders that possess this ability have a strong grasp on who they are as a person and know how to connect and show up in the world.
  • Self-management: Individuals that can self-manage have the ability to be flexible and adaptive to situations and control both their positive and negative emotions. Leaders that can self-manage control their reactions and impulses in the workplace.
  • Social awareness: The ability to network proactively, navigate politically, and have empathy for others requires social awareness. Socially aware leaders are considerate of others’ needs, concerns, perspectives, and emotions.
  • Relationship management: People that have relationship management skills possess the ability to inspire others through motivation, bonding, persuasive communication, and conflict resolution.Through relationship management, leaders can inspire team members to support each other, put differences aside, and commit to a course of action.

The correlation between emotional intelligence and workplace success

Each day, employees are required to make decisions that are influenced by their emotions. Workers with a high EQ can understand their co-workers’ emotions, manage and convey their own, form healthy relationships, and solve problems efficiently. All these abilities add up to greater workplace success! Below are a few EQ-related statistics:

Assessing for emotional intelligence during the hiring process

Organizations that are searching for their next high-level candidate to fill an open position or looking to promote an employee into a leadership position should assess for emotional intelligence throughout the hiring process.

  • Adopt an emotional intelligence organizational mindset: Once your company decides that emotional intelligence is a quality you are going to look for in job candidates, you must commit to it throughout the hiring process. This can be difficult for organizations that have been primarily focused on resumes and technical skills for years.

  • Ask relevant questions: Leadership ability is a soft skill that is more difficult to assess than hard skills because they relate to a candidate’s personality traits that develop over time. To assess soft skills during the interview, ask behavioral or situational questions that demonstrate how the candidate uses skills in work-related scenarios. Workable has compiled emotional intelligence interview questions and answers to help hiring managers and recruiters assess EQ during an interview.
  • Assessments: Emotional intelligence assessments—such as the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory and Genos Emotional Intelligence Assessments— can assist your organization to evaluate EQ in the workplace.The PI Behavioral Assessment™—while not a specific test for emotional intelligence—can help predict a candidate’s success in a role by measuring key behavioral and emotional drives.

Related: Assessing Leadership Skills in an Interview

Related: 7 Interview Questions to Ask Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Candidates

The digital transformation is bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning to the forefront and jobs are evolving. The positions that remain will require skills that machines don’t have—complex problem-solving and thinking, the ability to envision, and collaboration skills. By hiring and promoting leaders that possess high emotional intelligence, you can ensure your organization has the talent and workplace culture in place to help carry your brand and vision into the future.

This blog was written by TalentRise Leadership Coach Kristen Lampert.