Should HR professionals possess emotional intelligence?

It’s a fair question in today’s working environment especially when potential and current employees allow emotion to be a large part of their decision-making process when it comes to their employer and their daily lives. There are lots of examples where emotional intelligence plays a part whether realised or unrealised. One such example is the candidate experience. There is a push to make sure potential employees have a good experience or maintain a good feeling about the company. Another example would be the expectations that exist between leaders/managers and employees. This is often referred to as the psychological contract.

The concept of EI isn’t a new one. It’s been around for some time. In fact, a book published in 1995 by Daniel Goleman focused on the topic. In the book, called Emotional Intelligence, Goleman said EI plays a part in determining success at several different levels including work, relationships and physical wellbeing. With relation to the world of business, Goleman says EI plays a particular role in the areas of leadership and employee development.

Since the publication of the book and as eluded to earlier, emotional intelligence has become an important strategy in decided whether or not a potential candidate is right for the role for which she or he is interviewing and the company as a whole.

EI Critical to Work

Having said that, it’s easy to discern why EI is now such a critical part of work for human resources professionals, leaders and managers. In his article for Captive.com, Poskey outlines several competencies that determine how relationships are handled.

Social Competencies
Under social competencies, he included two separate subsections:

  • Intuition and empathy
  • Political acumen and social skills

Intuition and empathy are important in the workplace because those lead to a better understanding of other’s feelings, people development and leveraging diversity. When it comes to political acumen and social skills, Poskey says those are important because it helps in communication, leadership, conflict resolution and collaboration and cooperation among other things.

Personal Competencies
Under personal competencies, he included the following subsections:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-expectations and motivations

Poskey says self-awareness is important because it helps promote emotional awareness, accurate self-assessments and self-confidence. Reasons for self-regulation include several areas such as self-control, adaptability and innovation. Finally, self-expectation and motivation are important because it provides drive, commitment and optimism among other things.

In Conclusion
Going back to the beginning of this piece, we asked the question: should HR professionals possess emotional intelligence?

The answer is yes. There are significant reasons HR professionals should be well versed in emotional intelligence. In fact, companies tend to lean toward people who are “people smart” over those who are “book smart.” It’s not to say academic intelligence is unimportant. It just means that workers need to have a better understanding of themselves emotionally and their fellow co-workers and be able to find that balance between their human side and their professional/work side.

Article by, Mason Stevenson