• Teresa Carey

EQ: An Important Piece in Your Leadership Assessment Puzzle

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Viktor Frankl


I often hear the statement, “s/he’s got high EQ” or, “that leader suffers from low EQ” like it’s an all or nothing proposition. Fortunately, EQ has had enough of a buzz that it’s worked its way into our mainstream talent assessment conversations – yet unfortunately often with unintended inaccuracy. What we don’t know about EQ can lead to misdirection and misuse. Yet what we might learn can unlock one of the greatest leadership insights available.


Multiple books have been written about EQ, starting with Daniel Goleman’s 1995 best seller, Emotional Intelligence. It takes a deserved deep dive into this widely researched and robust concept. To get a much closer look, I recommend you put it on your read list. My goal in this piece is simple – to share some foundational tenets of EQ so you’ll be armed with enough information to know if you’d like to explore it further for yourself and your team.


What is EQ and what does it measure?


The model we use at PerformancePointe, Inc. is based on the research of Multi-Health Systems, the leading developer of innovative scientific-based assessments. Their EQ-i tool measures five core composites of emotional intelligence starting with Self-Perception, with each of the additional four composites building upon with the next.


  • Self Perception: It starts here because the more we understand ourselves, the more effective we are at expressing ourselves.

  • Self Expression: When we express ourselves in an emotionally healthy way, the better our interpersonal interactions and relationships are.

  • Interpersonal: When our interactions are healthier, we can make less emotionally charged decisions.

  • Decision-Making: Solid decisions and their outcomes allow us to manage stress better.

  • Stress Management: Managing stress in a positive way leads to a deeper understanding of our emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

Within these five composites are 15 skill sets. Most of us are strong in some skill sets, and not as strong in others. The use of these of these collectively can provide a snapshot of our overall emotional intelligence.


Why is it important now, more than ever, to know and understand our EQ?


EQ is a more imperative component of leading and overall healthy functioning than we may have previously estimated. According to Multi-Health Systems, the developer of the EQ-i tool, EQ translates into 80-90 percent of what distinguishes star performers. EQ is a key determinant in how we are likely to show up in any given situation. Additionally, it can take a star role in impacting our ability to respond to change or growth, impacting the short and long-term fate of the business. If we can know how we’re likely to handle situations emotionally, we can put guardrails and guides in place to respond in a healthier and more emotionally intelligent way.


The fact that our EQ skills can be honed is only part of the good news. What’s the rest of the good news? The more experienced we become, the higher EQ we typically have. For those of us in the 50 plus club, we generally show a higher EQ composite due to our advantage from the “scaffolding effect.” In our myriad of experiences, we’ve learned what worked, as well as what didn’t, allowing the resulting lessons and wisdom to serve us well.

How can EQ be leveraged in the increasing complex talent equation?


Increasingly, EQ is being used for more than understanding our development opportunities within the context of coaching It’s also leveraged for talent selection and management – as a decision criteria for ensuring the right leaders are hired based on the organization’s demands. It can also enable a keener focus on benchmarking and developing the right skills in leaders specifically for succession purposes.


As one example, hiring a key talent individual contributor such as a top software engineer in a tech-based company may call for strong skills in problem-solving and reality testing. Less consideration might be given to a lower empathy score since this individual likely wouldn’t be hiring and leading a team.


Like any assessment tool, emotional quotient is one data point. However, when we consider today’s environment, the shrinking margin for major errors and the accelerated need for leaders who are emotionally resilient, the need for unlocking the EQ vault is unquestionable.


When holding up EQ against other assessments with a credentialed and experienced coach, it’s possible to reach a new “pointe of performance” as leaders and organizations. When you’re ready to take the next step with EQ, call us.