Once upon a time, technical skills were the most important thing when looking for your next employee.
Now, however, it’s their ability to play the game. As they get promoted further up the chain, technical skills factor into their daily role less and less.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) has made a serious impact on the hiring and promoting scene, and it’s here to stay. In a 2011 survey of over 2,600 HR professionals, 71% claimed that they valued emotional intelligence more than IQ.
Furthermore, 75% of hiring managers reported they’re more likely to promote employees with a high EI:IQ ration rather than employees with the reverse.
So, from an employer’s perspective, why are employees with high levels of emotional intelligence so valuable? Why are they consistently promoted ahead of their peers? Well, there are a few central reasons.
They can manage their emotions under pressure.
Emotionally intelligent people can adapt more readily to increasing responsibilities and the pressures and demands that come with them.
They’re more able to remain calm in a crisis and keep their feelings controlled, rather than expressing them to the people they work with. They’re also less likely to react impulsively, and instead take a steady, measured response to new situations.
They make others feel heard.
Listening is one of the most critical skills any manager can bring to the table. Even when an employee brings something to their supervisor that isn’t particularly helpful or valuable, it’s important to make them feel like their contribution is appreciated.
The old adage “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers” is particularly relevant here. When employees don’t feel like their supervisor listens to them, they’ll feel far less valued in their role.
They display high levels of empathy.
Employees aren’t robots. They are all the lead character in their own life, and sometimes things won’t go perfectly well for them. They or their family might fall ill, experience a failed relationship, or have some catastrophic event turn their life upside down.
When these things happen, the best bosses respond sympathetically. This is one of the key reasons that highly emotionally intelligent people are promoted so quickly – they can view life through the eyes of others.
Empathy is a trait that cannot be overvalued. The ability to understand different perspectives and have a genuine grasp on the way others feel can go a long way towards getting distracted and wayward employees back on track, or not, depending on the situation.
They own up to their mistakes.
There aren’t many things worse than an employee who simply won’t acknowledge a mistake, or worse still, accept blame for it. Acknowledging a mistake allows for a chance to learn, improve and avoid the same issue in future.
Most emotionally intelligent people readily acknowledge their mistakes. They have a mindset that lends itself towards self-improvement and responsibility. They don’t fear rebuke, they fear poor performance.
They accept feedback.
Emotionally intelligent employees don’t have enormous egos. They understand where they fit into the larger scheme of things, and as a result are often open to constructive feedback.
Rather than assuming the worst in those who criticise them, emotionally intelligent people assume good intentions. This ensures a faster learning loop and more open communication, qualities you want in those that you’re promoting.
They resolve conflict more easily.
A powerful asset in any manager’s arsenal is effective conflict resolution. The best managers can arrive at a solution that resolves tensions to a great degree and achieves a fair, equitable outcome that works for both the parties to a dispute and the organisation as a whole.
Through empathy, understanding and a willingness to listen, emotionally intelligent employees can more readily solve the the basic disputes that plague many workplaces.
They earn respect.
More importantly than anything else, emotionally intelligent employees earn respect. They aren’t condescending towards their subordinates. They take action when it’s necessary. They listen, and take on feedback when it’s warranted.
Being approachable is an important skill for anyone in a leadership position, and the emotionally intelligent have mastered it.
When you’re searching for someone to promote, take notice of emotional intelligence. It will pay dividends in the future.