"What’s Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence), and Why Does It Matter?"The Case for Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Hogan Assessment Systems, a gold-standard performance prediction firm, defines EQ as the ability to perceive, control, and share one’s own and others’ emotions. Although available studies show different models of EQ, all agree that people with a high EQ perform better at work and display greater leadership potential.

John Mayer and Peter Salovey’s developed an EQ model based on a person’s ability to process and use information. The trait model, developed by Petrides, measures EQ through self-perception. Of course, we are all familiar with Daniel Goleman’s groundbreaking book, Emotional Intelligence, the #1 bestseller published in 1996, and his subsequent publication with Boyatzis and McKee, The Primal Leader: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Goleman developed the mixed model, which combines both the ability and trait models.

Recent studies of EQ underscore its importance. For example, in Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry and Greavas reported that based on studies conducted at Talent Smart:

  • EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs,
  • EQ is the single most significant predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.
  • Only 36% of the people tested are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.
  • People with the highest intelligence (IQ) outperform those with average intelligence only 20% of the time.

Vielmetter and Sell in Leadership 2030 wrote about the growing shift from Egocentric leadership (old command-and-control style) to Altrocentric leadership (focus and concern for others and greater value). Their work indicates a call for leaders who are more expressive and collaborative, leaders who embody the key attributes of:

  • Inner strength
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Maturity
  • Integrity
  • Meaning making

Other studies point to the positive ROI of a leader with high EQ. As a result, some boards of directors are evaluating candidates for the position of CEO based not just on technical and business skills, but also the candidate’s EQ.

The evidence is mounting. Our questions to you are: What is your EQ, and why does it matter in your leadership evolution?

Where Do You Stand?

Let’s start with the second question: Why does it matter? The studies mentioned above show that a high EQ leads to positive outcomes in the work environment. The evidence, at this point, is too overwhelming to be ignored.

So back to the first question: What is your EQ? Do you know?

Don’t guess, as most of us think that our EQ is much higher than those around us think. It’s important not to guess, but to know.

EQ Assessments

As consultants, we recommend two instruments to help you answer this question:

  1. The Hogan EQ Assessment
  2. The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal by Talent Smart

The Hogan EQ Assessment

The Hogan EQ Assessment is new to the Hogan toolkit. The Assessment Report “provides a total EQ score, which reflects the respondents’ overall emotional intelligence.” It “provides feedback on a scale-by-scale basis, including discussion points, interpretive information, summaries of likely behaviors, and the pros-and-cons of scores as they concern leadership, teamwork, and employability.”

Hogan reports on six individual scales:

  1. Awareness
  2. Detection
  3. Regulation
  4. Influence
  5. Expression
  6. Empathy

Hogan correlates a person’s score for each scale with how that person can be expected to behave.

Emotional Intelligence Appraisal

When you purchase Emotional Intelligence 2.0, you receive access to the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal. This appraisal report is based on the following model:

  • Personal Competence

o   Self-awareness

o   Self-management

  • Social Competence

o   Social Awareness

o   Relationship management

As with the Hogan, you receive an overall Emotional Intelligence Score. However, you also receive an overall score for personal competence (with subscores for self-awareness and self-management) and social competence (with subscores for social awareness and relationship management).

The appraisal also has descriptors of what a person’s behavior would look like in each of the areas scored, along with a recommended EQ strategy. The strategies are discussed in depth in the book.

How to Interpret the Scales

Each instrument uses a different scale, but does a good job describing what the scales represent. For example, in the Hogan, a scale range of 76–100 represents high EQ; a range of 0-25 a low EQ.

On the Talent Smart assessment, 90–100 represents what “A Strength to Be Capitalized on,” while 59 and below represents “A Concern You Must Address.”

EQ Can Be Improved

Evidence supports the theory that our intelligence quotient (IQ) and our personalities remains pretty the same throughout our lives. However, evidence based on new findings by neuroscientists, reveals that we have the ability to change our EQ: it improves with awareness and practice. This is encouraging, especially as EQ gains in importance as an important and sought after leadership trait.

And this is why it’s important to know your EQ. You can’t change what you don’t know needs to be changed. You especially can’t change if you believe that you are doing just fine. But once you know you can and need to improve, you have to care enough to take action.

Like any other leadership trait, some will embrace EQ, some will ignore it, and some will deny that it matters at all.

Benefits of EQ in a Changing Skills Gap Marketplace

As you build your leadership gravity (remember leaders can only lead if they attract followers), think about your EQ. Honestly, no one likes working for a jerk. Especially as the skills required to perform work are becoming more and more sophisticated, no one likes working for someone who is a self-professed “know it all” or a micromanager or who shows any of the other negative leadership traits that exist in organizations today.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (“Skills Shortage Means Many Jobs Go Begging,” July 10, 2014), reported that “33% of 848 small-business owners and chief executives said they had unfilled jobs openings in June because they couldn’t identify qualified applicants.” For some, this meant they couldn’t support the increasing demand for their products or services. In other words, even though they had the opportunity to grow and demand was there, they couldn’t take advantage of these opportunities.

With demand for skills on the increase, businesses need to use every tool they can to attract and retain skilled talent. Because research indicates that employees leave bosses more than they leave organizations, one of those tools is effective managers, which is also in short supply according to the WSJ article.

This represents an opportunity for you.

As a business owner or chief executive, you need to use every advantage you can find. One of those advantages is having managers and leaders with a high EQ—that includes yourself. People prefer to work for good people and good organizations. So, know your EQ and work to improve it.


The skills gap won’t close anytime soon. Using a combination of organizational gravity (for your organization) and leadership gravity (for you personally and for your managers/leaders) will position you and your organization as a leader in the talent acquisition and retention marketplace. Your reward will be the ability to support growth and meet customer/client rising demand.