I don’t like the expression Emotional Intelligence (EI). It makes be feel a bit inadequate. It seems a rather vague reason for rejecting some one for a senior post. I have never been comfortable with IQ tests deciding people’s future on minor differences on a scale that measures what? The ability to do IQ tests? So maybe it’s the fact that EI is so often presented as the other side of the IQ coin that makes me sceptical.
It doesn’t help that references to EI are so overused in the recruitment process and have become a short hand for modern leadership qualities. If what an organisation seeks is to recruit someone who has insight into their own behaviour and how it effects others, someone who excels in building relationships, some one who is mature enough to recognise that dissent and criticism are not evidence of personal disloyalty, then they should say so.
Sometimes Emotional Intelligence is referred to as the softer skills. Which I understand to be a reference to “people skills “ , that is the ability to motivate, to challenge appropriately, to encourage and develop, to be a good listener, to be able to empathise, to be in tune with those you are responsible for and to be able to speak their language.Which in turn would make someone an effective networker and a skilled negotiator, some one who can gain people’s trust and cooperation. I would consider these skills more relevant than technical skills and harder to gain. I just don’t like referring to them as Emotional Intelligence.