Emotional Intelligence: The Other Kind of Smart

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to distinguish your own and others’ emotions so that you can manage yourself and your relationships with others effectively.  It’s that ‘something’ that ‘je ne sais quoi‘, in us that’s intangible – you understand yourself, you have self-control, empathize with people, and understand why someone made a decision that they did.

There are four components of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness: Knowing who you are and what you are good at
  2. Self-management: Your ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors
  3. Social awareness: Understanding people’s emotions
  4. Relationship management

Emotional intelligence benefits an organization tremendously.  90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in pressurized situations in order to remain calm and in control.  They also stay positive and disconnect (whether that be from their computer or their phone) to keep things in check.  EQ is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strong driver of leadership and excellence.  TalentSmart tested EQ vs. 33 other important workplace skills and EQ is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining 58% of success in all types of jobs.

So, why isn’t intelligence quotient (IQ) enough?  Someone who is ‘book smart’, may not necessarily have EQ and, therefore, may have a harder time learning from their mistakes or even understanding the mistakes of others.  According to Google’s Head of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, individuals who possess only IQ characteristics attribute failures to other people or events, instead of having self-awareness and the motivation to better themselves.  Handling tough situations, knowing how to deal with a tough candidate or a tough client, and getting along with coworkers or the people around you, is just as important as coming into work and performing your job duties on a day-to-day basis.  Carnegie Institute of Technology did a study that showed 85% of financial success was due to EQ and only 15% due to IQ.

EQ is defined by soft skills.  Soft skills are the personality traits and interpersonal skills that directly affect your relationships with other people.  They stem from who you are and how you interact with the world around you.  Those people who know everybody by name, how long someone has been with the company, what someone’s daughter’s name is that they’ve only met a few times – those are the people with strong soft skills.  They’re comfortable interacting with others and others feel comfortable interacting with them.

So, how does this relate to what we do every day in our job?  In 2011, over 1 in 3 hiring managers reported placing increased emphasis on EQ in their hiring/promoting decisions.  59% even went as far as saying they wouldn’t hire someone with high IQ and low EQ.  People with a higher EQ create deeper connections with their candidates, their clients, and their colleagues.  EQ helps leaders motivate and inspire, empowers a leader to recognize and act on opportunities, and produces a higher morale in the environment.

In conclusion, it’s not always the smartest person in the workplace who is going to do the best.  More often than not, it’s the person that’s creating connections and building relationships that will excel!

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Julia Povolny

Julia is a Senior Associate Recruiter in the Direct Hire Administrative Services Divison. She is located out of our headquarters in New York City. Are you in the administrative field looking for a new opportunity? Reach out to Julia! 

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