Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is more important than IQ when hiring managers

Talented achievers don’t necessarily make for great managers. Even though employees are satisfied with their remuneration and benefits it doesn’t guarantee that a company can retain them. Add to that, an employee having a manager who doesn’t possess a high level of EQ and it’s not surprising that one of the primary reasons people leave companies is because of their manager.

“IQ gets you hired, but Emotional Intelligence (EQ) gets you promoted” (TIME, 1995)

So, how can management reduce attrition, increase productivity and foster a great workplace culture? In short: Managers need to be smarter with their emotions. They need to cultivate an internal awareness of how emotions influence others’ level of autonomy, sense of community and can impact relationship building.

But, as an employer, how can it be determined whether a prospective achiever is ready or suitable for a management role? If evidence of this is lacking, request the candidate to complete an emotional intelligence assessment. EQ tests generally measure a person’s ‘score’ of self-management and social awareness; highlighting strengths and weaknesses as it relates to EQ.

Business is all about relationships and candidates who could make great managers are those who are able to communicate their expectations and express their appreciation to their respective teams.

EQ is a primary driver in effective management and leadership, because leadership utilises influence to execute the majority of emotionally-driven tasks. Some put the contributing role EQ plays to business success at 75–80%, while IQ is considered to contribute a mere 20–25%.

Managers who practice EQ are proven to be less reactive and more responsive. They’re self-aware, self-assured, but not arrogant and they are collaborative. They are identifiers and visionaries — honing in on their employees’ weaknesses and strengths and implement strategies to address this to further foster competence. They help their employees visualize their daily tasks as part of the ‘bigger picture’, thereby fuelling strong interpersonal connections and engagement.

The good news is that employers can improve the EQ of its managers in increments over time. However, it needs to be a continued focus and a process of facilitation for those managers or prospects who demonstrate intention.

“Companies with higher empathy are shown to increase in value and generate up to 50% more earnings.” — 2016 Global Empathy Index, compiled by The Empathy Business, was originally published in the Harvard Business Review.

Relationships — it is a core motivator for managers to develop real, personal relationships with employees. This level of connection demands a high level of EQ; particularly empathy.

The workplace is changing. And, it is up to the employer to create conditions for employees to flourish by using the Emotional Intelligence of its managers to drive employee engagement.

Let’s face it, we’ve all had that manager who had a pretty decent IQ but didn’t really have what it takes to ‘deal with people’ — smart managers are good for business, but thoughtful managers are great for business.

In summary
• Achievers don’t necessarily make great managers
• High EQ promotes more responsive less reactive behavior 
• Managers can improve their EQ
• Self-aware managers influence their team’s autonomy
• Actively practicing EQ lends itself to a deeper level of empathy