Why Emotional Intelligence Is The Best Indicator Of A Successful Hire
By: Danny Watterson June 6, 2018
As we search the country for the best and brightest leaders of churches and non-profits, we run into a variety of qualified candidates. Many times we find that success isn't clearly spelled out on a resume. Often, the best candidates don’t have the highest level of education or come from the largest organizations.
Rather, they have a high Emotional Intelligence factor. Emotional Intelligence is defined by Travis Bradberry in the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, as "the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results."
Here are four key attributes to look for in both your current team and in those you plan to hire in the future that will redefine your assessment of a quality candidate.
Many times, candidates or employees try to put on a facade and become someone they’re not. They try to hide who they really are in order to impress and gain status from others.
Someone with a high E.I. factor, however, doesn’t feel the need to hide who they are. They aren’t fearful of their shortcomings and generally live life with confidence. This confidence allows them to be vulnerable and honest with their team. As a result, they can work well with other gifted leaders to facilitate the growth and success of the organization. One way to spot a transparent person is to ask about some particular failures and what they’ve learned from them. If they can be open and honest about shortcomings and demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow, they are more prone to be an effective leader.
"This confidence allows them to be vulnerable and honest with their team and in doing so, they are surrounded by gifted leaders who pitch in to facilitate the growth and success of the organization."
Emotionally Intelligent candidates usually always display a focused nature. They have the ability to avoid distractions that might make them veer off course from their goals or divert their attention from the task at hand. This focus translates seamlessly to flexibility, since they understand what is needed to “cross the finish line” on a particular project, bending and shifting with ease through the consistent changes of a growing company. One possible question to investigate someone’s focus is to ask about their ability to finish. When have they seen a project through from start to finish and what role did they play?
"This focus translates seamlessly to flexibility since they understand what is needed to “cross the finish line” on a particular project, bending and shifting with ease through the consistent changes of a growing company."
Self-Awareness is predominantly the knowledge of your individual strengths and weaknesses. It’s about knowing where you thrive and when to let others lead. A person with high self-awareness understands that their personality isn’t exclusive. Because of this, they know how to effectively communicate to those who aren’t like them. Additionally, they have a natural ability to understand different personalities and how each fits into the big picture of what an organization is trying to accomplish. To find out if someone has high self-awareness, they typically talk about themselves just long enough. On the other hand, candidates with low self-awareness will usually talk more than they should, fail to answer the question originally asked, or hardly engage with their own questions.
Empathy is the art of understanding where others are coming from and what they’re feeling. It’s a key trait in those with high E.I. According to Roman Krznaric, author of Empathy: Why it Matters & How to Get It, “Empathy in the modern workplace is not just about being able to see things from another perspective. It's the cornerstone of teamwork, good innovative design, and smart leadership. It's about helping others feel heard and understood.” I’d argue that everyone on your team wants to be heard and understood. Those with high E.I. understand how to engage others and make them feel heard.
Teams composed of high E.I. individuals tend to be stronger and more loyal. As you can imagine, people want to be around leaders with this quality. To find them, simply ask them about their teammates and the value they bring to the overall goal of the company.
Many candidates may have great experience, years of education, and proven track records; these candidate may or may not be the best fit for you. As you consider candidates for your organization, try and identify those with a high Emotional Intelligence Factor, trusting that it will lead you to a leader that has a natural understanding of how to work well on a team, can accomplish objectives, and has the potential to shine.
Beyond experience and education, what traits do you look for when hiring? What are some questions you've asked to identify emotionally intelligent candidates?