emotional intelligence in the workplaceHow do you predict if an employee will succeed or fail in their role?  If you hire the candidate with the most experience and highest GPA, they should become a star player in your organization, right?


For years people assumed that Intelligence Quotient, IQ, was the source of a person’s success.  However, studies indicated that people with the highest IQs outperform those with average IQs just 20% of the time, while people with average IQs outperform those with high IQs 70% of the time.  Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves provides an in-depth look at this topic.


That brings us to reevaluate what we mean by “the best of the best.” We’ve heard people described as having a super-high IQ, but “no common sense.” Is average the new best? It certainly can be the best fit for your role, especially when we consider emotional intelligence. Bradberry and Greaves explain that the physical source of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is communication between your rational and emotional areas of the brain.


EQ is a person’s ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.  It generally includes:


1)      Emotional Awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others


2)      The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving


3)      The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person


Psychology Today- https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/emotional-intelligence


TalentSmart found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance in the workplace.  So how do you determine your candidates’ or employees’ EQ?


Start in the recruitment process by asking interview questions that require emotional and behavioral answers, for example:


  • You are in a meeting and a co-worker brings up an idea that you disagree with; how do you manage your reaction?
  • Describe an issue you’ve experienced in the workplace and what you did about it. How did you feel about the resolution?  How did other team members feel about the solution?
  • What are your weaknesses, and how are you working to overcome them?
  • Have you ever worked with a person that you clashed with? Have you been able to overcome differences and establish a good working relationship?
  • What skills do you possess that any employer would find to be valuable, no matter what the position or business type? How do you demonstrate these skills?
  • When you need a break or a mental recharge at work, what do you do?


You can also have candidates or employees complete an emotional intelligence assessment, like the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal.


No matter what the answers are to interview questions or test results, the terrific news is the EQ can be developed!   Emotional intelligence encompasses a set of skills that can be learned and improved.


For additional information on EQ and other educational resources for recruitment and career development, check out the AgCareers.com Leaders are Readers Pinterest board.

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