Emotional intelligence and work performance

A 2010 study by Virginia Commonwealth University suggests that emotional intelligence is a strong indicator of an employee’s job performance.  What does this mean for human resources?

Emotional intelligence, or the ability to control or perceive one’s or others emotions and use this to guides one’s actions, is a hot topic in the corporate world. Is it a valid means of identifying or hiring the most capable employees? It is obvious that managing one’s emotions is ideal in the workplace. No one wants to work with someone who feelings get hurt easily or flies off the handle in an aggressive manner without warning.

There are several tests available to measure emotional intelligence:

Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS)

  • An ability-based test in which test-takers perform tasks designed to assess their ability to perceive, identify, understand, and utilize emotions.
  • Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ)
    Screening test that measures optimism and pessimism.
  •  Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI)
    Tool where others that know the individual offer ratings of that person’s abilities on a variety of emotional competencies.
  • Reuven Bar-On’s EQ-i
    A self-report test designed to measure awareness, stress tolerance, problem solving, and happiness.

Does your company use assessment testing like emotional intelligence tests in the pre-interview or hiring stages? If these tests are administered by management, make sure guidelines are in place to understand the weight of the testing in regards to the entire hiring or review process.

The value of emotional intelligence is still debated in the academic realms.  Leadership and core competencies are not always determined by a test so emotional intelligence testing should be used as only one part of the process in determining an employee’s potential.