So is Emotional Intelligence a ‘new age trend’, a fad, another wishy-washy psychological term that HR practitioners parade out to explain the differences in leaders? I don’t think so.
Over the years I have seen highly intelligent, capable and successful technical experts be promoted into leadership roles and do a somewhat ordinary job. Generally it is a combination of being unable to motivate their teams, not able to understand why staff “won’t do what I say”, becoming very uncomfortable with performance feedback (positive or negative), making inappropriate comments out of frustration, struggling to make decisions, becoming overly controlling, or sometimes deciding it is all too hard, going into their shell and becoming invisible to their teams. I’ve also come across fantastic leaders who empower their teams, delegate effectively, communicate and build valuable interpersonal relationships and achieve results through others. And of course, many leaders that fit somewhere in between these two examples.
These differences can’t be put down to IQ, but instead may be more around their emotional and social skills, otherwise known as what Peter Salovey and Jack Mayer termed “emotional intelligence”.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
On definition is that emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we:
- perceive and express ourselves;
- develop and maintain social relationships;
- cope with challenges, and;
- use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way¹.
Emotional intelligence can change over time and be developed, and has been proven to be a key indicator of performance and development potential.
How can we measure Emotional Intelligence?
Most of the research in this field has been based on either the EQ-i, or the MSCEIT¹.
The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is an abilities based test designed to measure Emotional Intelligence. Once you have completed the questionnaire you receive a report and a debrief and, as it is abilities based, development suggestions for improving your ability to recognise, use, understand and manage emotions.
The EQ-i 2.0® is a self-report measure and can generate:
- an individual report; or
- an individual leadership report; or
- as a 360 by inviting others to also rate you (this is the EQ360® report).
If individuals within a team are undergoing the EQ-i 2.0®, a Group report of consolidated team data can also be generated and used within a team to raise understanding and performance.
Dr Rueven Bar-On created the EQ-i instrument and it was first published and distributed in 1997, and has since become one of the world’s most widely used Emotional Intelligence instruments. Many things have changed since the 1990s, (like that wonderful baggy colourful fashion in the picture above!), and the EQ-i instrument has continued to be developed, researched and used through this time.
We use EQ-i 2.0® and EQ360® because of the flexibility of being able to use the results individually, within a team and/or as a 360. The reports are comprehensive and full of practical development ideas.
Why is Measuring Emotional Intelligence Important?
Measuring emotional intelligence can be useful for a variety of workplace practices including:
Recruitment – as a screening tool as part of your overall recruitment process to reduce costs associated with poor hiring decisions such as low productivity, high turnover and low engagement.
Development – To increase individual performance, interaction with others, and leadership potential.
Team Building – Using the group report to provide the team with an understanding of the team’s overall EI strengths and development areas.
Leadership Development and Coaching – Using the EQ360® report to provide a comprehensive view of the individual’s emotional intelligence as viewed by themselves and those around them.
The EQ-i 2.0® and EQ-360® instruments measure emotional intelligence and how it can impact people and the workplace by giving one overarching EI score, and then breaking it down into five composite scores which, in turn, are broken down into a total of 15 subscales.
The EQ-i 2.0® assessment is done online by the individual and up to 45 minutes should be set aside to complete the questionnaire.
Following the completion of this, a report is generated and we need around an hour (for the EQ360® an hour and a half) together to go through the results.
If doing it as part of a team exercise, then a separate workshop is conducted with the team using the Group report (which does not provide individual results – all individual reports are confidential)
Would you like to know more?
P.S. Did you know that take advantage of our flexible packages as a cost effective way to conduct the debriefs, workshops and/or follow-up coaching sessions? Too easy!
Karen Kirton, Director of Amplify HR, and author of this post, is a certified practitioner of EQ-i 2.0® and EQ-360®
¹ SJ Stein & HE Book, 2011, The EQ Edge, Multi-Health Systems Inc.
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