4 Clues to Help You Identify Someone With Real Emotional Intelligence


Over the years, leadership experts and organizational psychologists have assessed the top job skills required for success on the job. The conclusion? Emotional intelligence matters.

Experts agree that emotional intelligence surpassed technical ability as an important predictor of job success, with many human resources professionals valuing emotional intelligence in an employee over a high IQ.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is still a broad term to understand so that begs the question: what are the key behaviors within EQ that leaders should narrow down in focus for hiring and retention purposes? 

1. Authenticity

Often, people hide behind a mask to avoid tough situations or conflict. And that mask hides who we truly are as human beings. In teams of employees that thrive, you’ll find people showing up with raw authenticity; they exhibit emotional honesty and self-awareness of not only their own feelings, but of those of others in their team. This leads to better collaboration and communication that cuts through unnecessary drama and solves problems faster.  

2. Flexibility

Because priorities shift in almost every job, people with high EQ are flexible during change and will also help others during a transition. They have the flexibility to deal with uncertain and unpredictable situations–a hallmark of true EQ. They also have resilient minds and recover from bad situations quickly. They don’t allow themselves to feel guilty about things that have nothing to do with them. They know they are not responsible for the actions and drama of others, and they never beat themselves up for something someone else did.

3. Self-control

Ever met someone who is able to manage their emotions and behavior to a positive outcome, even when circumstances are going south? “Reasonable people–the ones who maintain control over their emotions–are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high,” says noted psychologist and EQ expert, Daniel Goleman.

4. Empathy

People are drawn to empathy. It’s an attractive quality to have in building successful relationships at work. A high-performing team that displays empathy does so by having fostered strong personal relationships and collaboration. They’ll think about their colleagues’ circumstances, understand their challenges and frustrations, and know that those emotions are every bit as real as their own. This helps develop perspective and opens team members to helping one another. A true recipe for success.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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