Recently I came across this Fast Company article that claims hiring managers and HR professionals are starting to value ‘emotional intelligence’ over IQ.
The article points out possible reasons this might well be the case: staff with emotional intelligence cope better under pressure, take feedback well and have ‘people skills’.
Frankly I think the author might be identifying an oversimplified chain of causation here. It cannot be as clear-cut as leaders wanting workers who, say, cope better under pressure, take feedback well and have ‘people skills’ – and then identifying ‘emotional intelligence’ as the key personality trait to look out for in candidates to secure those other qualities.
After all, ‘emotional intelligence’ is an incredibly complex – and somewhat nebulous – set of characteristics.
But while I don’t quite buy its thesis, I love that this article has been written. Why? Because I think it has bubbled up organically from the current, very healthy climate of heightened awareness around mental matters. We’re now recognising that our workplace toolkit needs an emotional element. The fact that the surveys quoted in the article even happened are also testament to society’s new openness around these things.
For leaders, this new transparency around such matters is going to be a challenge (even if ‘emotional intelligence’ translates to good feedback-takers and pressure-copers!). As society becomes more and more open about our internal worlds, particularly the darker sides of them, things are naturally going to get a little tricky at times. What was once not allowed to exist in the workplace is now being ushered in – there’s bound to be confusion.
Even if there’s a bit of bandwagon-jumping with all this, that’s fine – it points to momentum, and this is one bandwagon I want everyone to jump on.