EQ vs IQ in the workplace

What’s the impact of emotional intelligence testing on organisational effectiveness and employee performance?

Imagine you want to fill a management position. The person you’re looking for will handle international negotiations, manage heterogeneous teams and successfully complete large-scale projects. What qualities would you like them to possess?

Experienced HR staff are well aware that a highly intelligent technical expert with an impressive IQ wouldn’t be suitable here. After all, in addition to the logical, mathematical and spatial-mechanical intelligence often asked about in job interviews, most managerial roles require one thing above all else: emotional intelligence.

In this blog post, you’ll learn what is behind the term “emotional intelligence” (EQ), how EQ can be measured and how it affects the performance and efficiency of your employees.

What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?

Until well into the 20th century, the concept of intelligence was rather limited. Anyone who could think logically, master mathematical problems or solve a Rubik’s Cube was considered intelligent. Today, however, we know that having a high IQ is not the only form of intelligence. There are many others, including emotional intelligence – also known as EQ.

People with high emotional intelligence are well-versed in dealing with emotions. They find it easy to discern emotions in both themselves and in other people. For example, they correctly interpret the body language of others and empathise with them emotionally. This enables people with a strong EQ to act confidently not only on a factual level but also on an emotional level.

Two aspects play a pivotal role here:

  1. Managing yourself: Being able to deal with your own feelings allows you to conduct yourself in an intelligent manner. This way, you don’t become a play-thing of your own emotions.
  2. Dealing with others: Empathy allows us to understand and comprehend the problems of others. This makes for more effective leaders, better team players and gives such people a real edge.

Emotional intelligence can also be learned to a certain extent in adulthood. But a lot of it is already inherent in people’s character or is acquired in the social structures of childhood.

What is the impact of emotional intelligence in the workplace?

Emotional intelligence becomes important whenever people come together, which is pretty much the case everywhere in the business world. There is hardly any job anymore that requires nothing but quiet focused work without any contact with customers or colleagues.

For this reason, emotionally intelligent people have a significant edge over others in the workplace. They can usually:

  • Keep calm in stressful situations
  • Find it easier to cope with unavoidable grievances in day-to-day working life
  • Motivate and inspire themselves and others to achieve a goal
  • Develop great powers of persuasion in group discussions
  • Win over customers and team members
  • Communicate better and more effectively in meetings
  • Easily adapt into different teams
  • Build resilient relationships with business partners.

These valuable skills make people with a strong EQ universally popular team players and outstanding leaders whom their employees follow with great loyalty.

It’s no wonder then that HR leaders value the importance of emotional intelligence more highly than IQ. But how do you know in the application phase whether an applicant has this kind of intelligence?

How does EQ testing work?

How likeable a person seems, whether they have their emotions under control or whether they deal wisely with others is something good HR staff can often tell based on their gut feeling – because they often have a high EQ themselves. However, for a long time these soft skills could not be measured objectively. In order to be able to measure EQ as part of the standard assessment centre, researchers have developed various EQ tests.

The best known is the MSCEIT, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test. It tests the following categories:

  • Perceiving emotion
  • Facilitating thought
  • Understanding emotion
  • Managing emotion.

Among other things, the candidate should be able to recognise emotional states in images and develop ideas on how these emotions can be changed.

How useful is EQ testing?

It goes without saying that EQ tests also attract critics: both those who doubt that understanding people and emotions can be measured at all, and those who generally consider EQ to be a lower priority.

We recommend using an EQ test as another tool in the toolbox. Tests such as the MSCEIT provide an overview of existing emotional competences in the context of an application. They can reinforce personal impressions or prompt a reassessment.

For leaders in particular, it makes sense to use emotional intelligence as a criterion in addition to logical cognitive abilities. After all, people in roles of responsibility more than anyone else need the ability to switch between emotional and rational perspectives quickly and seamlessly.

Bottom line: How relevant is emotional intelligence testing for the performance of a company?

Never underestimate the impact of emotional intelligence! People with a high EQ are not only more pleasant people to be around; they can also make significant contributions to the success of a team, project and ultimately the entire company.

But how do they achieve this? By creating a pleasant working atmosphere, resolving conflicts and guiding people through the emotional challenges of everyday working life. All this makes teams function more smoothly, work with greater purpose and ultimately perform better.

To speak to Experis about how to transform your recruitment strategy.