Emotional Intelligence; “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
A recent report, State of the Heart, has found that emotional quotient scores are in decline all over the world. The study which tested 100,000 people over 126 countries, theorizes that this dip in emotional intelligence could be due to an increase in anxiety and stress levels, coupled with overuse of technology, in particular social media sites. Whilst it’s obvious that these changes could be affecting our personal relationships, what isn’t so clear is how much our work lives are suffering.
Up until the 90s, IQ reigned supreme as the defining feature in a desirable candidate, however thanks to two decades of diverse research, emotional intelligence has taken the top spot, with 71% of hiring managers now valuing a person’s EQ over IQ. That number gets even higher when it comes to promotions and so it isn’t surprising that a 2015 study by TalentSmart found that EQ is the strongest predictor of work performance, accounting for 58% of success in all fields.
According to Steven Stein, CEO of Multi-Health Systems, the company that developed one of the very first EQ tests, companies like Google, American Express, and FedEx are particularly interested in those with high emotional intelligence. It’s likely that a large factor into their decision is the idea that emotionally capable candidates are associated with high levels of creativity, a necessary attribute in the tech sector.
Emotional intelligence is also incredibly important within the sales environment, with an insurance company study finding EQ to massively impact sales ability, and that those ranking high on scales like empathy, initiative and self-confidence outperformed low rankers by double the dollar.
All of this isn’t to say that IQ should have no say within the hiring process and in fact the two aren’t separate entities battling each other but rather complimenting, with a high EQ often leading to better grades. What does set emotional intelligence apart however is the fact that whilst IQ is linear, EQ has the ability to change over time.
Parents can ensure their children have the best start in life by ensuring they have a mixture of toys to play with, (toys traditionally marketed at girls help to develop EQ, whilst those for boys are more geared towards IQ) and a variety of adults in their life (studies show that the ideal ratio is four significant adults to one child, however the reality is this has dropped to 1.8 in recent years). The learning doesn’t stop once we hit adulthood however and we can all take responsibility for our own EQ.
This article from Psychology Today shares tips on the little things we can all do to improve https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/communication-success/201410/how-increase-your-emotional-intelligence-6-essentials