As the economy slowly but surely begins to improve, many companies are beginning to take a closer look at their teams. At the height of the recession, hiring was stagnant and employees were forced to fill many roles. While shifting responsibilities may have kept things afloat for the short term, many of those recession-era “hats” aren’t the right fit for the long haul.

Now that budgets are starting to grow again, managers have the time and the money to ensure they are getting the right people into the right roles at the right time. A great way to assess your current team and identify future potential leaders among those team members is through the use of emotional intelligence (EQ) assessments.

What are You Looking For?

There are two key components to emotional intelligence. The first involves understanding yourself and how you react to others; the second involves how you handle your interactions with others. Can you, for example, walk in other people’s shoes and empathize with them as they go through challenges?

While EQ is important in all aspects of the workplace, nowhere is it more important than in a leadership role. As organizations take a look at their organizational structure in the post-recession economy, it will be critical to evaluate the EQ of both current and future potential leaders. People being considered for a leadership position must have a good handle on both themselves and their interactions with others.

The first step in identifying EQ is with an assessment tool. These involve self-assessments that force the candidate to look introspectively at him or herself. They also typically involve gathering input from team members and supervisors in order to get a handle on how others view that person.

Don’t Rely on Assessments Alone

Leadership Flash!

We have more about EQ in Beth’s vlog.

Watch now!

While assessments are valuable tools, they are just one tool in the toolbox. In order to determine whether prospective leaders have the EQ to succeed, they must be given a chance to prove themselves in real-time situations. An assessment can give you an idea of how you think a person will perform, but until you see him or her in action, you’ll never know for sure.
Forward-thinking organizations provide their future leaders with projects and action-learning scenarios that uncover the candidate’s level of EQ. Candidates should be observed closely to see how they handle themselves, and the team members with whom they are working should be observed, as well. It will be important to understand how employees saw and perceived that potential leader throughout the process in order to get a handle on his or her true EQ.

EQ is not the only measure of success for future leaders, but it is extremely important. Now that the economy is on the upswing, organizations should take the time to assess the EQ of their current and future leadership teams, in order to help get the right people into the right positions to help move the company forward in the new economy.