My new post at The Leader Lab is entitled “Emotional Intelligence at Work: Choose and Apply Your Measure Carefully.” It is based on a fascinating and well done study recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (JAP). I have to confess this JAP research article was NOT easy to read. Researchers could do a lot to advance evidence-based management if they would explain their findings in more practical and accessible ways. Ugh.
The take-away for me that I did NOT expect to find was to be very careful using emotional intelligence (EI) measures in your work place. While certain types of measures can predict job performance, there are too many measures of EI on the market and they produce different results. The authors of the study issued those cautions about EI even after showing that the ability to recognize, understand, and then regulate emotions affected employee performance.
But this study also showed, much to my surprise, that measures of cognitive ability and conscientiousness not only affected the emotion-performance process, they also had direct links to performance. Hire bright, conscientious folks and then partner with them to continuously improve your existing systems and create innovative new systems at work. There is more leverage to that approach than focusing on emotions.