Guidant Financial’s State of Small Business report found that more small business owners are struggling with hiring and retaining the best talent. The CEO of MyCorp, Deborah Sweeney, points out that hiring the best talent might not be about traditional intelligence — great talent might be found when looking at emotional intelligence instead.
Are you ready to hire for EQ over IQ?
If you’re not familiar with the term emotional intelligence, allow me to briefly expand on its definition. Emotional intelligence (often abbreviated as “EI” or “EQ”) is the belief that individuals possessing four core skills — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management — are actually better equipped to thrive and succeed over individuals that with traditional smarts (high IQs).
How do these skills contribute to emotional intelligence? The four core skills mentioned fall into two types of competencies. Self-awareness and self-management ties in with personal competence. An individual that is personally competent is likely to be in touch with their emotions and understand the impact their emotions have on others. Social awareness and relationship management tie in with social competence. This allows individuals to express empathy and better manage relationships thanks to the awareness found in their emotions as well as those around them.
For all of the strengths it brings to the table, emotional intelligence is not quite as readily visible as a high IQ. Small business owners may want to hire candidates possessing EQ, but aren’t sure how to discover it in applicants. Hiring for emotional intelligence is a different undertaking than hiring for traditional intelligence, but it’s worth the commitment in the long run for the following reasons.
Emotional intelligence is a key ingredient in the workplace
Have you ever rushed to hire someone, anyone, to fill in an open position simply because you needed an extra set of hands to help out? How long did the new hire work out?
Finding a potential employee that possesses the four EQ skills is not going to happen overnight. Small business owners may consider rewriting job listings and asking different questions during interviews. This helps them to better find individuals that possess soft skills, which are a key ingredient in the workplace.
Possessing emotional intelligence is great for an individual and even better for their team. It creates a domino effect in the workplace that touches the following areas.
- Teamwork. Emotionally intelligent individuals want to collaborate and work together with other team members. Their emphasis is not on how one person can succeed and receive acclaim on their own. Rather, they want everyone to get a slice of the pie. Goals, however difficult or far-flung they may be, can be reached if everyone maintains a can-do attitude and works together.
- Empathy. It’s safe to say most businesses have their fair share of workplace drama. Whether it’s clashing with coworkers or a negative online review, emotions can run high from time to time. Emotional intelligence increases empathy towards, well, everything and everyone. Those with it have learned to step outside of themselves and abandon their ego. They’re more understanding towards the feelings of others and adjust accordingly.
- Self-awareness. Emotional intelligence is also connected to character. Individuals with EQ are willing to admit when they have made a mistake, take responsibility and ownership, and be held accountable for their actions.
- “It’s not all about me.” Emotional intelligence allows individuals to do more than walk in someone else’s shoes. They can run, leap, and hike in them. EQ gives individuals the power to look beyond where they stand in the world. They can go stand in someone else’s place and see the world through their unique perspective.
Employees with emotional intelligence may be groomed for leadership
Employees with EQ are empathetic, open to feedback, think before they act, and take care of others. Emotional intelligence brings with it a great deal of balance, which offers short and long-term opportunities for the business. In the short-term, it allows the company to retain these exceptional workers. In the long-term, these core skills groom them for greater success. Individuals with EQ may go on to become managers of their departments, take on a senior or VP role, and perhaps even move on to entrepreneurship where they can be their own boss.
You can train yourself to become emotionally intelligent
Don’t despair if you don’t think you have emotional intelligence. Experts have stated that EQ isn’t exactly considered to be an innate trait. You may have some of the core skills or you may not, but you can train yourself to develop EQ, too.
Your brain uses plasticity to stretch and change over time, which helps you to learn and embrace new skills. Training for emotional intelligence often means getting to the root of existing emotions, behaviors, and moods. You may find yourself reflecting on how you communicate or how you would better like to communicate with others. Other techniques, like thinking before speaking, pausing, reconsidering your tone of voice, and saying no may all factor into your training to attain emotional intelligence.