Emotional Intelligence: What is it, and why should we measure it?

Emotional Intelligence: What is it, and why should we measure it?

IQ vs EI

Until recently, many companies relied on IQ as a gold standard measure of success. Employees and leaders with higher IQ were considered to be more successful, intelligent, and a better hire, and to an extent the evidence supported this[1].

However, many are now realizing that IQ is only a part of the full picture. With the turn of the century, interest in Emotional Intelligence (EI) has exploded. Researchers such as Daniel Goleman claim it to be even more important than IQ[2], and some have predicted it to overtake IQ as the driving force of performance measurement in the 21st century[3].

Business has responded accordingly. It is estimated that 80% of all businesses are actively trying to promote EI within their organizations and are seeking to measure it in prospective and existing employees[4]. All indications suggest it will remain one of the biggest management trends over the decade to come.

 

What is it?

Put simply, EI is the ability to reason accurately about emotions, and to use them to enhance behavior and cognitions.

It should be noted that often we see the terms EQ (for Emotional Quotient) & EI used interchangeably to refer to Emotional Intelligence. The key difference here is that EI emphasizes practical application of emotional knowledge to manage behavior. EQ measures your knowledge of emotions and how they work via Psychometric measurement. However, it doesn’t evaluate your ability to apply that knowledge in practical settings[5].

 A popular model proposed by Mayer Salovey identified four traits underlying the construct[6]:

  • Perceiving emotions: accurately recognizing emotions in oneself and others
  • Facilitating thought: accessing and generating emotions to enhance thought patterns, and communicating these emotions to others in an appropriate manner
  • Understanding emotions: knowing where they come from, why they arise, how they co-occur and transition
  • Managing emotions: regulating emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth.

Other models such as Bar-On’s emotional-social intelligence model focus on abilities including stress management, general mood, adaptability and inter/intrapersonal communication[7]. Another model proposed by Daniel Goleman includes five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships[8].

The common factor across these frameworks is the ability to harness emotions to enhance work and interpersonal performance.

 

What are the benefits in the workplace?

Individuals with higher levels of EI have been demonstrated to experience more career success, build stronger personal relationships, exhibit greater leadership capability and to enjoy better overall physical and mental health[9].

These benefits extend to the workplace. Organizations are emotionally charged places[10], and consistent with this, employees and organizations high in EI perform at higher levels.

  • EI leaders facilitate higher productivity, retention, and adaptability within their employees[11]
  • Teams comprised of high EI individuals enjoy better teamwork[12]
  • EI employees display better performance and interpersonal ability and produce an ‘emotional contagion’ effect which lifts the mood and productivity of fellow employees[13].
  • Using EI measures to hire recruiters in the US Air Force improved selection of high performers by three-fold and saved millions of dollars per year[14].

In addition to this, adults are able to develop EI competencies, and accordingly, interventions and developmental plans focused on increasing EI have been demonstrated as effective[15].

 

How can I get in on this?

By now you are probably wondering how you can build a workplace high in EI and reap the benefits. The good news is there are a wealth of psychometric assessments and survey platforms which will enable you to assess and develop candidate and employee EI levels. There is a consistently strong ROI on these tools.

A good way to assess and develop your existing employees and leadership team is with 180- and 360-degree surveys. MultiRater Surveys is one such platform which provides this functionality. In the coming month, it will be releasing an EI survey template to help users gather feedback on employee and leaders EI.

Given the interpersonal nature of EI, it is important you receive these multiple perspectives to provide a balanced and accurate assessment. It will also provide a measurement of how well each nominated leader/employee applies their EI in a practical setting, rather than just a measurement of their emotional knowledge as mentioned previously.

Automatically generated reports also identify strengths and challenge areas, which can then be easily integrated into developmental plans to boost EI.

If you are interested in developing your employees’ EI or would like to know how to select candidates who possess these competencies, please contact us today. The release date for the EI survey is 05/02/2020 - in the meantime, you can access free trials of the MultiRater Survey software by visiting their website on www.multiratersurveys.com


[1] Richardson, K., & Norgate, S.H. (2015). Does IQ Really Predict Job Performance? Applied Developmental

Science, 19(3), 153-169. DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2014.983635

[2] Goleman, D. (2012). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York: Random House.

[3] Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Roberts, R.D. (2004). Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: A Critical Review. Applied Psychology, 53(3), 371-399. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2004.00176.

[4] Drigas, A.S., & Papoutsi, C. (2018). A New Layered Model on Emotional Intelligence. Behavioural Science, 8(5). DOI: 10.3390/bs805004

[5] Bariso, J. (2016, December 14). The EQ Problem: What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/what-everyones-getting-wrong-about-emotional-intelligence.html

[6] Kewalramani, S., Agrawal, M., & Rastogi, M.R. (2015). Models of emotional intelligence: Similarities and discrepancies. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(2), 178-181. Retrieved from Questia.

[7] Fernandez-Berrocal, P., & Extremera, N. (2006). Emotional intelligence: A theoretical and empirical review of its first 15 years of history. Psicothema, 18, 7-12. Retrieved from http://www.psicothema.com/pdf/3270.pd

[8] Kewalramani, S., Agrawal, M., & Rastogi, M.R. (2015). Models of emotional intelligence: Similarities and discrepancies. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(2), 178-181. Retrieved from Questi

[9] Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Roberts, R.D. (2004). Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: A Critical Review. Applied Psychology, 53(3), 371-399. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2004.00176.x

[10] See above

[11] Nwokah, N.G., Ahiauzu, A.I. (2010). Marketing in governance: Emotional intelligence leadership for effective corporate governance. Corporate Governance, 10(2), 150-162. DOI: 10.1108/1472070101103567

[12] Racolta-Paina, N.D., & Plesca, E. (2015). Leading Emotionally Intelligent Workers: Between Strengths and Weaknesses. Managerial Challenges of the Contemporary Society Proceedings, 8(1), 1-17. Retrieved from ProQues

[13] Freedman, J. (2010). The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/36d5/ae12b8964e8582061cfc283ee95f401bf30a.pd

[14] U.S. Air Force. (2009). A New US Air Force Study Explores the Cost-Effectiveness of Applying the Bar-On EQ-i. Retrieved from http://www.eiconsortium.org/pdf/USAFPeliminaryPJStudy--Revised-b.pdf

[15] Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Roberts, R.D. (2004). Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: A Critical Review. Applied Psychology, 53(3), 371-399. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2004.00176.

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