How do you feel about E.Q.?

It is my job to talk with folks who plan, develop, build, and design for a living.  The other day I was talking to a candidate who shared more about his personality then about his success in completing projects on time and under budget.  He led in with his “emotional intelligence” scores and how he measured his success from understanding his strengths – emotionally.  As a recruiter, I find these conversations most intriguing.

Personality tests in the work place are not new.  In my experience, I have been measured by Meyers Brigg, Strengthfinders, Enneagram, and DISC to name a few.  I may or may not be a willing participant in skewing the outcome of such tests. After all, if I know this is a pre-employment evaluation for a sales role, my answers may be more aggressive in my desire to make a buck so as to appeal to the hiring powers.

One question I like to ask candidates is what you can say about yourself that a LinkedIn Profile or resume does not show?  I rarely get answers that relate to a high-end project that is not on the list, or how much money was made at Company X .  They don’t share what they did, they share who they are and how they want to be perceived.  I notice a positive inflection in their voice when they can share a personal attribute instead of a work-related accomplishment.

e·mo·tion·al in·tel·li·gence (EQ)

noun

  1. the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

“Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.”

So, is this EQ a solid and trustworthy benchmark when determining a good fit with your organization?  I am not sure I am completely convinced it is a good thing, but I do value the intent of being sensitive to this dynamic After all, we have a whole new generation who are in position to take over senior leadership in many organizations.  My future boss may want to know how I feel about that.

So, is EQ a measure all on its own, or should it be used in conjunction with other personality type tests?

I researched a bit about the topic and noted a dark side of EQ measurement. I found that being vulnerable and sharing one’s emotional vulnerability can lead to social manipulation.  At work, we often measure success by achievement.  Many times, competition and manipulation become a means at which we gain a place at the top.  Are we measuring ourselves strong against the nice guy or the shy girl?  Are people to be used as tools to push around or perhaps certain people will use their soft side as an excuse not to succeed? Hmmm.

It may be a bit too soon and presumptuous of me assume how much EQ will be implemented in the workplace, however, I can say that knowing our own emotional intelligence and that of those we associate with is a key component in relationships.  And after all, isn’t everything about our relationships?