Beyond Academic Performance, Employers Look For Emotional Intelligence

By Teboho Polanka. Social Worker, Writer & Inspirational Speaker. Passionate about Christocentric missions.

Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash
Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

Those times are way in the past when your university or college influenced the decision of hiring companies in their recruitment efforts. Something more than academic performance is required hence the conception of emotional intelligence (EI or EQ).

Emotional intelligence is a complex personal package of interpersonal and self-awareness gifts. It is important to consider what emotional intelligence is about and how to cultivate such a virtuous attribute, if we’re to succeed in the job market.

Maureen Moriarty insists that abilities critical to EQ include:

  • Self‐awareness: clarity about what you are feeling, thinking, and needing including awareness of how your behaviors or emotions impact those around you.
  • Self‐regulation: self-soothing under stress controlling disruptive impulses.
  • Interpersonal adaptability and social skills: managing relationships effectively with a wide range of personality styles and differences under stress or in conflict.
  • Empathy: understanding the emotions of others and skill in treating others according to their emotional reactions.

Emotional intelligence has become significantly relevant to important work-related outcomes. These include individual performance, organizational productivity, and development of people. This principles provide a new way to understand and assess behaviors, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills and potential of people.

It is an increasingly important consideration in human resource planning, job profiling, recruitment interview and selection, learning and development, as well as in client relations and customer services among others.

The word is already out about emotional intelligence. Corporations which once found only where their new hires went to college have learned that IQ alone isn’t going to make them successful. The way they conduct themselves, the way they interact with others are all as important if not more important than the person’s score on an intelligence test.

You see the workplace isn’t magical, it is comprised of individuals with significant differences. Colleagues are not always in agreement, sometimes relationships are threatened. It is in cases like this when EQ will severely be tested.

One of the two things will happen: either you’ll react or respond

For example, suppose your supervisor at work keeps giving you lots of unrelated assignments and does not give you support in finishing off. To worsen the scene, your supervisor spends time out of office in a resort somewhere, therefore unreachable. Your approach in dealing with these instances is critical in your staying employed.

Those with low EQ will react – which is negative- and may end up causing strife. People in this category see negative experiences as roadblocks to their success, and can be annoyingly personal about petty things. They resort to being incredibly hostile and unforgiving.

When called for disciplinary hearing or conflict resolution they often feel like they’re attacked versus being empowered. Their behavior springs from increased bitterness if they feel unhappy with resolutions to the conflicts and this renders them significantly unproductive.

On the other hand, those with higher emotional intelligence tend to be objective in similar experiences. This individuals will always try to objectively understand their feelings and those of others and can readily empathize with others. They’re resolve-oriented, and view negative experiences as learning opportunities.

To really master emotional intelligence one needs to answer the following ‘recipe questions’ with honesty

How do things in your work environment make you feel, especially those you consider unpleasant? Better yet, do you often understand that your emotions in those situations affect your colleagues? How quick do you put such experiences behind your back and get going again? Can you readily understand emotions of those around you?

These I prefer to term a ‘litmus test’ of how well vested you are in handling emotions in a productive way.

Those with negative feedback on these questions usually feel that relationships with others are burdensome. However, those with positive feedback see work relationships as rewarding and are known for their value-based decisions versus subjectivity of those with low EQ.

It has been said that you can’t lead effectively without emotional intelligence. I give you that technical experience, workplace skills and brilliance are essential, but it’s emotional intelligence that enables you to be trusted, connected and persuasive in a leadership role.


Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.